Lekythos, Amasis Painter
Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens after a competition with Poseidon. The two strongest contenders were Poseidon and Athena, and so Zeus decided that they should compete against one another by offering gifts to the city. Whichever one that Cecrops and the people of the city saw the most value in, would determine the winner.
Poseidon was the first to present his gift. Raising his mighty trident high into the air, he brought it down hard on the ground, which cracked beneath it! Immediately, a spring of water emerged from the ground, which made the excited crowd cheer loudly.
A good water source was very important for the ancient Greeks, and so they were eager to try it. However, the citizens of the city were not so impressed after they tried tasting the water. It was very salty, because Poseidon was the God of the Sea, and was not good to drink.
Then, it was Athena’s turn. She quietly knelt down and planted something into the ground. Immediately, an olive tree sprang up in its place, which made the crowd cheer loudly.
They recognised that the olive tree could provide olives for food and olive oil, that the leaves might provide shade, and that less productive trees could provide wood to either burn or turn into tools. Athena had certainly proved that she was the Goddess of Wisdom, and the joyful citizens immediately named the city after her – Athena!
Height 27 cm (Each piece is unique so the patina and size may have small differences from item to item.)