People know me as one of the greatest and most glorious cities in antiquity. According to a myth, I had several names throughout my existence. In my early years, I was initially named Cecropia, believe it or not. It did not really suit me. Don’t you agree?
When king of the city was Cecrops, a creature half man and half snake, the twelve Gods of Olympus decided that they should have a city named after them; to be honoured and offered sacrifices from the citizens in exchange for their protection.
Both Athena and Poseidon laid claim to me. What an honour!
☞ Related: 5 Olympian ‘Gods’ and Their Greek Island
Even Gods Were Voting!
Greece is the birthplace of democracy, so of course, it would be up to the vote of the people when it came to deciding who would be the patron god of their city and I was right in the middle of it. First Poseidon, the God of the seas came up, he struck the ground with his trident and a splash of salted water immediately welled up.
He said: – “With my gifts, you are going to become an important naval power. No one will be able to beat you.”
The men were thrilled with his gift and they were ready to vote for him.
However, the competition was not yet over, the Goddess Athena came up.
She hit her spear on a rock and there the first-ever olive tree came to be.
The citizens were puzzled with this gift.
“What kind of gift is this?”
“Why is it so important?”, they said.
Athena, being the goddess of wisdom explained to them – my gift to you is this evergreen tree. It will not only provide you with oil that can nourish, clean, and heal but you can also use it to lighten up the darkness.
Products from this tree will eventually make you rich, healthy and wise. With its strong and sturdy trunk, you will be able to use its wood to build houses and boats to travel around the world and spread your culture.
It’s the symbol of peace, glory and prosperity.
You will pass this message to your children and their generations to follow.
In my honour, the people of Athens build a majestic monument at the top of the Acropolis Hill. How different it looks now, thousands of years later!
Obviously, Athena won and that is how Athens came to have its name. I am still trying to maintain the reputation my mother bestowed upon me. You might not find any remains of Poseidon’s gifts in my neighbourhoods nowadays but I assure you that I have lots of other hidden treasures for you, traveller. Enjoy walking my streets and discovering my wonders.
What beautiful details and carvings of exquisite craftsmanship decorate this eternal rock..
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