The goddess Athena. Beloved of the ancient Greeks, she was wise protector, guardian, reflector of purity, a loving warrior. This colossal statue was sculpted in her likeness using the equivalent of 2500 lbs of gold. It is called the "Athena Parthenos" and gets its name from the temple she was housed in. Many once believed the Parthenon was a singular structure on its own, but we now know it was made solely to house and display this great 50-foot likeness:
This gives a small idea of the proportions of the statue. She holds the winged goddess of victory "Nike" in her right hand. In Greek mythology Athena was said to be the most beloved daughter of Zeus, having been born fully formed from the top of his head. Referred to in Homer's Iliad, she is a fierce warrior, ready to defend her city against any enemy. In truth, she was a loving guardian, as any mother of man would be. Athena was pure and wise, devoted to the arts, agriculture, civilized life and peace through intelligence.
The most common expression used for Athena is "the bright eyed" perhaps denoting wisdom (the owl was her favored creature). Parthenos translates from Greek as "virgin" hence the name of her temple.
This is The Parthenon which, at one brilliant time in history, protected and displayed this colossal statue.
As fierce as she may have been depicted, Athena was one of the 3 virgin goddesses of Greek myth, and woe to anyone who questioned her purity! This was what made her such a striking exception to Olympian society, where all gods were free to use mortals for their pleasure - as Zeus did repeatedly.
This image strikes a familiar chord. In tarot, I recall that certain figures were never depicted as seated. Athena is one, although I cannot find a suitable counterpart in the Major Arcana (that smaller part of the deck showing attributes, rather than suits). But who knows...?