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Neal Stephenson


In Greek mythology, Metis ("wisdom") was a Titaness who was the first wife of Zeus and the mother of Athena. She was the goddess of wisdom and deep thought. Metis gave Zeus an emetic to force Cronus to vomit out Zeus' brothers and sisters.

Zeus lay with Metis but immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more powerful than Zeus himself. In order to forestall these dire consequences, Zeus swallowed Metis immediately after lying with her. He was already too late: Metis immediately conceived a child.

Metis immediately began making a helmet and robe for her fetal daughter. The hammering as she made the helmet caused Zeus great pain and Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes or Palamoan (depending on the sources examined) cleaved Zeus's head with an axe at the river Triton. Athena leaped from Zeus's head, fully grown, armed, and armored, and Zeus was none the worse for the experience.

She was also the mother of Porus.

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