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Pallas (daughter of Triton)

In Greek mythology, Pallas (/ˈpæləs/; Ancient Greek: Παλλάς) was the daughter of Triton, son of Poseidon and messenger of the seas.

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MythologyEdit

After Athena was born fully armed from Zeus' forehead, Triton acting as a foster parent to the goddess raised her alongside his own daughter, Pallas. The sea god taught both girls the arts of war.

During an athletics festival, Pallas and Athena fought with spears in a friendly mock battle, where the victor would be whoever managed to disarm her opponent. At the beginning of the fight, Athena got the upper hand, until Pallas took over. Before she could win, Zeus, who was in attendance, fearing to see his own daughter lose, distracted Pallas with the Aegis, which she had once shown interest in. Pallas, stunned in awe, stood still as Athena, expecting her to dodge, impaled Pallas, accidentally.

Out of sadness and regret, she created the palladium, a statue in the likeness of Pallas and wrapped the aegis, which she had feared, about the breast of it, and set it up beside Zeus and honored it.[1] Later, Athena took on the title Pallas as tribute to her late friend.[citation needed]

This story about Athena and Pallas inspired a yearly festival in Libya dedicated to the goddess. A passage by Herodotus recounts this custom:[2]

"Next to these Machlyes are the Auseans; these and the Machlyes, separated by the Triton, live on the shores of the Tritonian lake. The Machlyes wear their hair long behind, the Auseans in front.

They celebrate a yearly festival of Athena, where their maidens are separated into two bands and fight each other with stones and sticks, thus (they say) honoring in the way of their ancestors that native goddess whom we call Athena. Maidens who die of their wounds are called false virgins.

Before the girls are set fighting, the whole people choose the fairest maid, and arm her with a Corinthian helmet and Greek panoply, to be then mounted on a chariot and drawn all along the lake shore.

With what armor they equipped their maidens before Greeks came to live near them, I cannot say; but I suppose the armor was Egyptian; for I maintain that the Greeks took their shield and helmet from Egypt."

In modern literatureEdit

Pallas is mentioned in the poem "The Raven" by American writer Edgar Allan Poe as well as by Pierre de Ronsard in the Second Book of his 'Sonnets For Helen': Sonnet 12, Line 13: "Ou bien tu es Pallas, ou bien l'une des Graces." (Translation: "Or perhaps you are Pallas, or one of the Graces.")

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 3.12.3.
  2. ^ Herodotus. The Histories, 4.180.1-4. Translated by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920.

External linksEdit