In Greek mythology, Cecrops (meaning face with a tail) the top half was man and the bottom half snake. He was born from the ground and became the first king of Athens. He may have been a son of Erichthonius I of Athens. He was a culture-hero, teaching the Athenians marriage, reading and writing, and ceremonial burial. Cecrops was Metion's and Pandorus's brother, if he was, in fact, the son of Erichthonius.
Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens in a competition with Poseidon which Cecrops judged. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and Cecrops would choose whichever gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring sprang up; the water was salty and not very useful, whereas Athena offered them an olive tree. Cecrops accepted the olive tree and along with it Athena as their patron, for the olive tree brought wood, oil and food.