Eng (uh-THEE-nah; uh-THEE-nee); Mod Grek (ah-THAY-nah; ah-THEE-nah).
The name is of debated origin, but is speculated to be composed of the elements ather meaning “sharp” and aine meaning “praise.” Others suggest that it is composed of pre-Greek elements, possibly constructed from the Lydian word ati meaning “mother” and combined with the name of a Hurrian goddess: Hannahanna or Ana. Plato himself claimed the name was derived from Atheonoa, a compound of the Greek theos meaning “the gods” and nous meaning “mind.”
In Greek mythology, the name is borne by the goddess of wisdom, reason, warfare and peace. She was also the patron goddess of the region of Attica and the city of Athens, which was named for her. I don’t believe I can do justice to the role Athena played for the ancient Greeks. But to be to the point, the Greeks so admired Athena that she appears as a recurrent figure in many Greek tragedies and epics. Athena was also the goddess of weaving and handicrafts. It is interesting to note, that unlike the other Greek goddesses, Athena remained a virgin, and was celebrated for her chastity. Though Greece no longer worships the ancient pantheon of Mt. Olympus, the names Athena and Athina still prevail in the small mediterranean country.
The name is borne by the grand-daughter of Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, Athina Onassis Rousel (b. 1985).
In Greece, its designated name day is September 1st. Other interesting forms include: the Ancient Attic Athenaia and the Doric Athana.
Other modern forms include:
- Atenea (Asturian/Spanish)
- Afina (Azeri/Russian)
- Atena (Catalan/Italian/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Serbo-Croatian/Slovene)
- Athéna (Czech)
- Athene (Danish/French/German)
- Athéna/Athéné (French)
- AÞena (Icelandic)
- Atēna (Latvian)
- Atėnė (Lithuanian)
- Atene/Athene (Norwegian)
- Aténa (Slovakian)