Athens, is a location featured in Greek Mythology. It first appears in 700 B.C. in Homer's Greek myth story.
Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece. It was originally ruled by Athena, but now is official property of the Greek Government. In Ancient Greek, Athens' name was Ἀθῆναι (Athēnai, pronounced [a.tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯] in Classical Attic) a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name was in the singular form, and was then rendered in the plural, like those of Θῆβαι (Thēbai) and Μυκῆναι (Μukēnai). The root of the word is probably not of Greek or Indo-European origin, and is a possible remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica, as with the name of the goddess Athena, who was always related to the city of Athens. During the medieval period the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, because of the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι [aˈθine] remained the official name of the city until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα became the official name.
Previously, there had been other etymologies by scholars of the 19th century. Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος (athos) or ἄνθος (anthos) meaning flower, to denote Athens as the flowering city. On the other hand, Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- (thaō, stem thē-, "to suck") to denote Athens as having fertile soil.
An etiological myth explaining how Athens has acquired this name was well known among ancient Athenians and even became the theme of the sculpture on the West pediment of the Parthenon. The goddess of wisdom, Athena and the god of the seas, Poseidon had many disagreements and battles between them, and one of these was a race to be the Patron God of the city. In an attempt to compel the people, Poseidon created a salt water spring by striking the ground with his trident, symbolizing naval power. However, when Athena created the olive tree, symbolizing peace and prosperity, the Athenians, under their ruler Cecrops, accepted the olive tree and named the city after Athena.
The city is sometimes referred in Greek as "τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ", which means in English the glorious city, or simply as "η πρωτεύουσα" (protevousa), 'the capital'.
- † denotes the deceased.
- Athens had many kings, but the official ruler of Athens, was Athena.