Athena, the ancient Greek Goddess of War and Wisdom, was the wisest, most courageous, and certainly the most resourceful of the Olympian gods. Because her role was one of protector, she was chosen as the patron of both Athens and Sparta.
Athena was the embodiment of everything the ancient Greeks held most dear – courage, wisdom, knowledge, loyalty and skill, and it was only logical that she should take a feminine form. Her male counterpart, Ares, represented the violent and physically untamed aspect of war, which was in contrast to Athena, who represented military strategy and generalship as the goddess of intelligence.
The concept of Athena shaped the way the ancient Greeks saw women. They were treated, for one of the few times in history, as intellectual equals to men. This was especially true in Sparta, where they played an integral role in military and political strategy and were given a formal education. Athena was a depiction of the Greek warrior way, which was very similar in philosophy to the Japanese Bushido principles. Intellect, strategy and clear-minded wisdom were as important as skill and strength in the Greek art of war, and that is why they were so successful in their military endeavors.