Naming the city

Naming the city

The myth behind naming the city

Come with me and I will mentally travel you at this very moment that Athens was named after a goddess. After the Olympian goddess of wisdom Athena.

Once upon a time…Greek goddess Athena and her uncle god of the sea Poseidon were fighting about protecting and naming their favorite city. As a result, they decided to put themselves into a competition. They called all the other Olympian gods and that’s time king of Athens’ Cecrops to gather at Acropolis.

Poseidon hit his trident at the rocks and salt water came out.

Athena plants an olive tree at the rocks with lots of olives.

Zeus tells the other gods and Cecrops to decide. Further the king of Athens saw that was already existing salt water from the sea around the city. And all over the country. Hence, he decided that the olive tree is more useful for his citizens. After that the city of Cecropia renamed into Αθήνα-Athéna in order to honor the goddess Αθηνά-Athená.

Subsequently, Poseidon was angry about this decision and cursed the city to have water drought-scarcity’until today.

But the fact is that the foundation of Athens was before the Mycenaean Era. As you can see below, I quote the most important events that define the character of this city.


Athens timetable

3000  b.C. Proof of the existence of the first settlement around the Acropolis

1400 b.C. The Acropolis turns into a royal fortress

620 b.C. The tyrant Dracon formalizes the laws of Athens and Attica

594-593 b.C. Democracy is born under Solon’s law ***

490 b.C. The Battle of Marathon. Athens defeats the Persians.

480 b.C. Persian invasion of Athens

479 b.C. Defeat of the Persians in Plataea by the Greek power leading by the Spartans

461 b.C. Pericles replaces Kimonas as the lord of Athens

461-429 b.C. The Golden Age of Pericles. The construction of the Parthenon and others.

431 b.C. Start of the Peloponnesian war against Sparta

430-428 b.C. The plague eradicates over a quarter of the population of Athens, including Pericles (429 BC)

404 b.C. The Peloponnesian war with Sparta ends with the defeat of the Athenians

338 b.C. Philip II of Macedonia conquers Athens and other Greek cities-states

336 b.C. Assassination of Philip and succession of his son Alexander the Great

336-323 b.C. Alexander’s expansion of the Macedonian empire through the Mediterranean and the Middle East to India

146 b.C. The Roman Empire subjugates the Macedonians. Athens is incorporated into the province of Achaia

200 b.C. -300 a.D. Roman domination in Greece

50 a.D. The Apostle Paul visits Athens to preach the word of Christ.

330 a.D. Constantine I’s founding of the Byzantine Empire as successor to the Roman Empire

395 a.D. Athens is conceiving by Visigoths

529 a.D. Justinian I closes the Academy.

1204  a.D. Conquest of Constantinople by Franks and Venetians, who split Greece between them

1456-1821 Athens under Turkish sovereignty-domination (365years of slavery-turcocracia)

1687 The Venetians besiege the Acropolis

1821 a.D. Greek Revolution Against Turks

1821-1829 The Greek Revolution

1832 Prince Otto of Bavaria selected by Western powers for king of modern Greek state

1834 The capital of modern Greece is transferred from Nafplio to the Peloponnese in Athens

1896 The first modern Olympic Games are hosted in Athens

1917 Greece joins the Allied forces and enters World War I

1920-1923 Greece at war with Turkey

1923 End of the Greek-Turkish war. Massive influx of Greek refugees from Asia Minor to Athens and Piraeus

1940 Metaxas denies access to Mussolini’s fleet in Greek ports with the word “NO”

1941 40,000 Athenians die of severe food shortages due to German and Italian domination

1944 Liberation of Greece

1944-49 Greek Civil War

1967 Military coup-putsch. Greece is ruled by Colonel Papadopoulos

1974 Overthrow of the military junta-dictatorship

1981 Greece becomes a member of the European Union

1985 Athens becomes Europe’s first Cultural Capital

2004 Athens hosts the Olympics


According to the above timetable, Athens is one of the oldest capital cities in the world. Τhis arises from the archaeological records. They indicate existence of civilization up to 3000 years ago. However, it is also the home of the first known democracy. It was established at 594-593 b.C..


Parthenon-Acropolis hill (+302103210219)

Opening hours: April-December, 8am daily until sunset. January-March 8.30-14.30 daily.

Acropolis Museum (+302109000900, 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street)

Visit times: Monday – Sunday: 8.00-20.00

Contact email: info@theacropolismuseum.gr


*Travel tip: There are many packages for Acropolis tickets which you could choose like Acropolis+Acropolis museum. Or, if you are archaeological-aholic, you

Naming the city - Travel advice from a Greek
Goddess Athena

can choose special packages to see Acropolis + Ancient Agora + Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos + Hadrian’s Library + Kerameikos + Lykeion Archaeological Site + North&South slope of the Acropolis + Olympieio + Roman Agora, special interactive toys for kids inside the museum or even a virtual tour for those who want to sit comfortable to their couch.

*Facts:  1) Athens has implemented every form of government, such as: monarchy, socialism, capitalism, communism and democracy.

               2) Athens is the first European Capital of Culture’ a title that Melina Mercouri (actress, activist, Minister of Culture) and her French homologue, Jack Lang decided to give.

Hopefully you enjoyed this article about naming the city, however check out also my article about: Basics 101

*** And…if you are craving for more history, then take a look at our fellow blog naming Yoair and their article about Greece: Where democracy was Born!

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