A surname of Athena. In Homer this name always appears united with the name Athena, as Pallas Athene (Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη) or Pallas Athenaie (Παλλὰς Ἀθηναίν); but in later writers we also find Pallas alone instead of Athena.1

Plato2 derives the surname from πάλλειν (pallein), to brandish, in reference to the goddess brandishing the spear or aegis, whereas Apollodorus3 derives it from the giant Pallas, who was slain by Athena. But it is more probable that Pallas is the same word as πάλλαξ (pallax), i.e. a virgin or maiden.4



  1. Pindar. Olympian Odes v, 21.
  2. Cratylus, p. 406.
  3. The Library i, 6.2.
  4. Comp. Tzetzes on Lycophron, 355.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.