You might’ve heard about Poseidon and Athena in greek myths ages ago when you were in middle school but did you ever come across the myth of their infamous rivalry in greek mythology? Essentially, they were both competing for control over the city of Athens to see who would become the city’s patron god. To decide who’d be the winner, a contest was held in Acropolis. Whoever presented the city with the best gift would win and hence be the chosen god. For the contest, Poseidon hit a rock with his trident and a salt spring emerged from the rock. Athena, on the other hand, presented the city with an olive branch by tapping the ground with her spear- the symbol of forgiveness, hence the expression to “extend an olive branch”. The people of Athens decided that Athena’s gift was decidedly the best one, and so the city was named Athens in her honor.
Another reason for their eternal rivalry is the myth about Medusa’s origin. There are many variations to this myth, but the most agreed-upon version is that Poseidon was romantically involved with Medusa. However, one day they had relations in Athena’s temple. Naturally, she was furious and felt extremely disrespected. As a result, Athena cursed Medusa with snakes for hair that would turn anyone who looked into their eyes to stone. There is some debate on Medusa’s origins and if she was willingly involved with Poseidon.