To begin today’s article there will be 2 scenarios I will need you to visualize firsthand. Okay, so first, imagine having to fight over something to the point of an official duel with crowds of judges with a rather senior family member say…. your uncle! Hang on, it gets better from here. Now second, imagine that ‘something’, in size, could be considered somewhat humongous like… a freaking city. Got it? Nope? Well, I hope this is when you realize you’re about to delve into one hell of a rollercoaster I’d like to call Greek mythology.
Cecropia was that one city in Greece to be engulfed with the perfect ratio of sea-to-land. A safe haven you might say. Its name is derived from the mythical creature Cecrops, a half-man half-serpent, who founded the place and began his reign there. Having an endless supply of resources due to its strategic geographic location, this city was the Los Angeles of America. Everyone wanted to live, start a business, work, and grow their kids there and here’s the cherry on top of the ice cream —everyone wanted to rule and possess it.
Now this Cecrops homie, though he may be the king of probably the best city Greece could ever acquire, he was never about all those prestigious triumphs us beings would typically die for. Despite all the glamorous and convincing offers he received, my guy knew better than just letting this city go for money. His daily routine as a king was basically proof-reading a growing mountain of CV’s coming from thirsty men, kings, queens, housewives, doctors, yogis, highly trained foot masseuses, you name it. It’s as if everyone suddenly reached a whole other level of confidence. But it didn’t take long for Cecrops to decide on the top 2 worthiest candidates. They are the Goddess of Wisdom and the God of Sea.
Despite the fact that they were already Gods, both Athena and Poseidon felt as if there’s some sort of unparalleled value to this city. And to be honest, they’re not wrong about it. With fulfilled satisfaction to his final choice, the half-man half-serpent king announced an official battle between the 2 of them and guys, this is where the fun begins.
As the crowds and citizens of Cecropia gathered in an open field, Athena and Poseidon descended down from Mount Olympus and everyone cheered in awe as they gazed at the exceptional beauty the Gods in which no mortal beings could ever dream of having. They waved and smiled at the people they wished to rule. “As one of the mightiest God and Goddess from Olympus” —Cecrops began, breaking the cheers— “I am sure you are both aware of how Cecropia’s worth is exquisite compared to all the other cities across Greece”. The Gods nodded in agreement. “Therefore, grant us a gift which shall equal or perhaps, surpass our worth yet still beneficial to the wellbeing of the people and the land”.
With pride and confidence, the God of Sea stepped up to present his gift first. He raised his mighty trident up into the air and struck the earth powerfully, cracking the ground as an explosion of water came leaping up to the sky. The people were amazed at the amount of water constantly flowing up, making a fountain. They cheered and the kids ran around it while playing with ‘the rain’. Seeing all this happiness around him, Poseidon felt even more confident in becoming king. “With me as your king, I promise you, there will not be a day where crops lay dry and brown. The people of Cecropia will grow healthy and live lavishly with an abundant amount of water flowing through every pipe, canal, soil, and area of the city. Green is what they shall speak of our lands — health and wellbeing are what they shall see in the eyes of our people — an oasis of serenity is what we will be known for.” The people of Cecropia gave him an around of applause, however, the brother of Zeus was blinded by his ego and didn’t realize how salty the water was since he brought it directly from the sea. This caused a huge setback for the people of Cecropia.
With a painted smile over her lips, Athena stepped forward as it was her turn to gain the spotlight. Without saying a word, she knelt down quietly and planted her hands on the ground. The crowds were silent as they wondered what offer does this Goddess bring. Athena then suddenly stood back up and grew a tall, staggering, tree right from where she placed her hand on the ground. The tree stood more than the height of 2 average men stacked, its chunk was thick and strong, its branch grew tall and wide and full of leaves. Everyone applauded and cheered, stunned by the majestic being that wasn’t there just a few seconds ago.
“To the beloved folks of Cecropia, I present to you a tree that shall fruit fortune and welfare through diverse aspects of your daily lives” She announced with great confidence in her gleaming eyes. “Its thick branches of leaves will provide you shade on any scorching day, tall and wide enough for the family —even the neighbors could gather around. The little green fruits are certainly not little in value for it can be processed to oil and nutritious food that nourishes the body, skin, and hair. The trees that are old or weak can be an outsource for firewood, to provide heat when the nights are long and cold”. Hearing this, no doubt, the people of Cecropia instantly went head-over-heels for the Goddess of Wisdom and War. They clearly saw more value and benefit from Athena’s gift compared to Poseidon’s. Even Cecrops decided to step forward and gave the throne to Athena right away.
“I hereby pronounce your new leader, queen, and protector of Cecropia… Athena the Goddess of Wisdom and War!” He said and the people started to sing, dance, play music, (I bet some tried to get Athena’s autograph!) and a huge party were held throughout the night in celebration of their new, beloved queen. However, despite this joyous event and significant milestone, someone was clearly not up for losing such battle with his very own niece.
Cecropia is now known as Athens. Yes, the Athens that’s now all very touristy and stuff *sighs*. The people of Athens built a temple in the Acropolis dedicated to their queen, which later became the place for ceremonies and a shrine for Athena’s syndicate of priestesses. They also built her a gigantic, realistic statue. Athens became a powerful, fertile, and prosperous city even more than it already was. The people lived a happy, healthy, and abundant life with all their resources fulfilled and managed well by their wise queen.
Nevertheless, despite all this, Athena’s people were aware of the fact that their home is a coastal city, which basically means they are just an inch away from Poseidon’s territory. Hence to avoid any counter-attack whatsoever over the battle he lost to, they built him a statue as well. This was also in honor of how the sea provided them fish, water, and a strategic port for merchants.
Alas, that is how Athens got its name.
Words by: Amanda Celine
(image sources: Google)