Why does Athena not hold Poseidon responsible for desecrating her temple with Medusa?

  • In Greek mythology, Medusa was raped by the sea god Poseidon in the Temple of Athena. Athena found no fault in Poseidon, but was furious with Medusa. My question is why would Athena not find any fault with Poseidon?

    I think the common explanation is that Athena had no power to punish Poseidon, her uncle. Note also that in Apodollorus' version, Medusa boasted of being more beautiful than Athena.

    So it wasn't thqt she found no fault with it was that she couldn't do anything to him makes more sense

    @Semaphore You should post as an actual answer! I can't think of a single instance of the younger generation of Olympians having power over the elder generation except for Hephaestus catching Aphrodite in the net with Ares.

    Just like that you can compare that with the rape of Cassandra. What obviously completely awe the Greeks was not the rape, per se, but the fact Cassandra was holding the Statue of Athena. This was an extremely popular Greek painting with Cassandra holding firmly Athena's statue and Ajax pulling her generally roughly.

    Wasn't there something about Athena being jealous of Medusa's beauty? And also that Athena was an unredeemable B*tch. We can see that in Illiad and in the story about Arachne.

  • There's a discussion of this question on Quora that covers all the points I wanted to raise. Personally, I've always preferred the explanation that Medusa was a priestess in Athena's temple. Defiling it by having sex there would be bad enough, but with Athena's enemy? Athena was already a short-tempered goddess, so Medusa must have known she was in for trouble. Also, as the Quora discussion notes, the gods were notoriously lenient towards each other, while smiting mortals hard and often.

    It sounds like you wanted t raise additional points beyond your personally preferred explanation provided here. If so, you should summarise those points here rather than rely on a link.

    I raised the points I wanted to raise - anyone who wants to read the rest can follow the link. The points that gods are pissy and that Medusa was (in one version) a priestess of Athena's seemed like relevant points. It's interesting that a lot of pop myth websites prefer the priestess explanation, by the way, it makes sense of why Medusa had to suffer punishment.

    What @Semaphore is saying is that you consider the information in the link valuable. Therefore, you should add in that information. Link rot can severely hurt answers.

    I take your point, but just for the record the points in Quora that I didn't mention were ones I felt were not important enough to rehash, just things I though people might find interesting. I will be careful to be clearer about that in the future.

  • Poseidon was a god, and Athena was a goddess. She was not powerful enough to punish Poseidon. He is a elder god, which makes him second only to Zeus.

    This is an interesting answer. Poseidon's senior status may have made him untouchable for Athena. I would suggest that you add sources in your answers, to make them more helpful to others.

  • Because all religions ever were invented by some misogynist guy who wanted to set a nice delusional foundation for a patriarchal society and hence when they wrote the story they naturally put the blame on the woman?

  • Theres a unspoken hierarchy in place with greek mythology based on power and respect. Also views of society were different when the storys we're first told. Thanks to creative minds that questioned everything. Things changed in the direction they thought best.

    Could you elaborate? This is kinda confusing, and doesn't really answer the question

  • I also thought about the question as to why didn't Athena help Medusa? Supposedly Athena was jealous of Medusa which possibly could of clouded her judgement as to whether she should save her or not. I mean it is her temple she could of at least did something.

    Then again as the goddess of war, she possibly could have believed that women could defend themselves, that they were just as strong as men and wanted Medusa to fight off Poseidon. But that wouldn't make sense since Medusa is a human and Poseidon is a god so there's no fighting him off.

    Furthermore, with Athena afterwards putting a curse on Medusa it kinda seems like she and Poseidon planned for this to happen, which would mean Athena was so envious that she'd go to extreme lengths to get back at Medusa. Athena could of went to her father and told him that Poseidon degraded her temple but instead decided to punish Medusa.

    It all just makes it seem like the gods just like playing with the humans and Athena could care less about her followers, she only cares about her reputation. Sure Athena was powerless compared to Poseidon but she could seek out her father to help her make him pay and if Zeus refused she could have talked to other gods for assistance, basically, all of them fight against Poseidon. I'm pretty sure since she's the goddess of wisdom she would have been able to persuade a few gods to help her.

    It says that Medusa's parents were gods if they were Athena could of went to them for aid. This all makes it seem like Athena just wanted an easy way out, and that would be by punishing medusa. Though trying to punish Poseidon would cause total chaos, you could say that's why she didn't try to ask her father or other gods.

    But last time I checked she wasn't the goddess of peace but war so that would pretty much mean it's ok to have a war but not between gods. In all honesty, this just makes Athena seem to be falsely symbolizing wisdom and war. She's supposedly very smart yet couldn't find any ways around this. Maybe Athena didn't want to save Medusa because she disliked her. It was one thing to cast Medusa out of the temple but when setting a curse on Medusa just sent it overboard.

    Medusa would have already been ashamed and depressed since she was raped and cast from being a priestess but with the curse, Medusa couldn't even have a normal life. This just makes Athena look like either a coward or completely selfish.

    I thought about all this after watching this video: The Story Of Medusa - Greek Mythology Explained

    Hello and welcome to Mythology. When it comes to questions about ancient myths, we tend to favour answers that are supported by textual evidence. Your answer is interesting, however, a lot of your assumptions seem a bit off. Why, for example, do you think Athena is completely powerless compared to Poseidon? After all, Poseidon rarely had much luck when facing another Olympian.

  • No, she was mad at him and she was a goddess and he was a god, but she dint consider a human, even one that worshipped her, worthy. Poseidon was a god and that's just what gods do, what got her mad was that it was in her temple and she blamed Medusa. Just like rape victims get blamed today. so she said if you're so beautiful that he couldn't help himself, I will make you so ugly no man will ever be able to look upon you again.and she banned her from her temple.

    Gods were kind of assholes really, they raped, had tons of bastard children, cheated on their wives, etc. So no, it wasn't that she couldn't or wouldn't punish him if she wanted. Her daddy was Zeus the god of gods, if she wanted him punished he would've been, again, she blamed Medusa and she was the goddess of war so probably had a hot temper.

    Janet, you've posted a string of answers recently that either don't answer the question you've posted them to or are low quality. I recommend that you take the site [tour] and visit the [help] to learn more about what is expected of answers on Mythology Stack Exchange.

    I tried to fix up the grammar, but the assertions herein ranges from arguably reasonable to rather suspect.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution

Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

Tags used