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Olympian Gods » Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom » Myths about Athena

Athena and the Price of Impiety

A Punishment Story

The owl, the symbol of Athena, as depicted in an ancient Greek coin


Meropis was a young maid who lived with her two siblings Vyssa and Agron and her father Eumelus in the Greek island of Kos. She and her family had a bad name in Kos because of the disregard ("hybris") of the gods they used to show and the meanness with which they treated human beings.

There was only one goddess Meropis’ family liked to praise and that was goddess Hestia, for she was giving the family rich harvest. They refused all other gods and isolated themselves from all other people.

Many times they were invited to take part in offerings to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, but Agron’s answer was always the same; he did not sympathize with a goddess who had eyes as fair as an owl’s, since his own daughters had very dark eyes.

Many were also the invitations for the family to take part in the festivals of Artemis, the wild goddess of the hunt,but again Agron would disagree, claiming that he loathed the goddess who would stroll in forests in the middle of the night.

Even the invitation to honor god Hermes, the god of the trade, was of no avail; the family would never sympathize with, let alone praise, a god who was a thief.

The gods felt insulted to their honour and so they decided to take revenge. For this reason, Athena and Artemis transformed into beautiful maids, Hermes transformed into a shepherd and one night they appeared in front of the family’s house.

Once there, disguised Hermes invited Eumelus and Agron to follow him to the banquet the shepherd had prepared for Hermes and asked from Meropis to guide the maids to the sacred forest of Athena and Artemis.

When Meropis heard this, she got frustrated and started hurling insults at Athena; immediately, the goddess transformed her into an owl and her sister Vyssa was transformed by Artemis into a seagull. Agron tried to attack Hermes with a roasting jack, but the god quickly transformed the unfaithful man into another bird with the name charadrius.

Eumelus complained about this punishment and Hermes transformed him into a raven and cursed him to only announce bad news ever since.




Myths and Fables about Athena

The Creation of the Lycabettus Hill in Athens
The Creation of the Lycabettus Hill in Athens
Athena's Birth out of the Head of Zeus
Athena's Birth out of the Head of Zeus
Athena, Poseidon and the Patronage of Athens
Athena, Poseidon and the Patronage of Athens
Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest
Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest
Athena and the Price of Impiety
Athena and the Price of Impiety

Punishment Stories in Greek Mythology

The Revenge of Hephaestus on Hera
The Revenge of Hephaestus on Hera
The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas
The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas
Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest
Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest
Artemis, Apollo and the Tears of Niobe
Artemis, Apollo and the Tears of Niobe
Artemis and Actaeon
Artemis and Actaeon
Hephaestus and the Price of Infidelity
Hephaestus and the Price of Infidelity
Poseidon, Agaeus and the Fatal Curse
Poseidon, Agaeus and the Fatal Curse
Dionysus' Punishment on Blasphemy
Dionysus' Punishment on Blasphemy
Midas and the Touch of Gold
Midas and the Touch of Gold
Goddess Demeter and the Wrath of Nature
Goddess Demeter and the Wrath of Nature
Athena and the Price of Impiety
Athena and the Price of Impiety