The Saints are the 88 Warriors of Athena ( アテナの戦士 Athena no Senshi). They fight wearing armors called “Cloths” (クロスkurosu) of different power and endurance according to the rank of the specific Saint, the design of which derive from the constellations the characters are born under. Athena's Saints are divided into three different classes: Gold Saints, Silver Saints and Bronze Saints wearing Gold Cloths, Silver Cloths and Bronze Cloths respectively. The latter is the class that the five main protagonists are part of in the manga authored by Masami Kurumada and is the lower class, then Silver Saint are the middle class and Gold Saints represents the elite and are considerably stronger than the othertwo ranks, representing the real battle force to defeat the most powerful enemies. Despite this categories, it's not impossible to have a lower rank Saint that is indeed as strong as a Gold Saint or even stronger, that's because one of the main rules of is: "The power of a Saint is not related to the Cloth he wears but to his Cosmo".
Using the power of Cosmo, they are said to be able to cut the skies with a punch and crack the earth with a kick and they are entered into legend because they are said to appear in the eras of crisis, when the humanity is in danger, at Athena's side to protect the world at the cost of their life, rejecting all the conquest ambitions of the other deities. To acheive the status of Saint they must afford a very harsh training period that can last some years, a so hard training that many candidates to become Saints lose their lives without ever obtain the Saint rank, but it's widely known that a person should be somehow destinied or chosen by the stars to become a Saint and wear one of the 88 Cloths. This doesn't mean that soneone particulary skilled may not wake up his Cosmo even without obtaining a Cloth. Saints are known to have widely refined fighting skills thanks to the training so that they are able to quickly study the enemies fighting styles observing them and thus founding countermoves to oppose them. Saints have this high adaptabilty they seldom relapse into same mistakes, so they often say: 'The same technique cannot be successfully used against a saint twice'. This advantage can let foes' next actions betray themselves in foes' viewpoints. This is one of the factors that allow them to win even the hardest battles, even against enemies that are stronger than them. Another factor that makes them capable of this is the renowned ability to overcome their limits and to burn their Cosmo more than their usual extent, exceeding opponents that should be superior to them. This is something the 5 main Bronze Saints have been doing since the beginning. Their strength is not only from their powers though, because they usually form a sort of mutual sinergy with their Cloths so that a Cloth weared by a Saint with the right Cosmo to control it, gains a increase in his offensive and defensive capacity, as well as the Cloth itself shines with the Cosmo of the Saint getting more powerful. When a Saint doesn't burn his Cosmo accordingly with the Cloth, it can get a burden more than a defense. Although this, it happens that a Saint without his Cloth finds himself in a so desperate condition that his emotions charge his Cosmo making it explode. It's a strategy that Shiryu has learned to use after discovering his weak point located on the heart area that only his Cloth and his shield can normally cover. Because of their exceptional training they can overcome some desperate situation creating new strategies to counter the enemies powers also inventing variations of their secret techniques during the battles and catching the challengers off guard, for example Shun adapted his Nebula Chain to any of Scylla Io's beasts attacks, or Mu created a modified version of the Crystal Wall to trap in a net the fairies created by Papillon Myu. This capacity contributes also to make them able to win any war. And it should not be forgot that they have the extraordinary ablity to accomplish miracles, a mysterious feat humans have and that Gods mostly fear. There exist 12 Gold Saints, 24 Silver Saints and 48 Bronze Saints, but also 4 fabled Saints that wears an unknown type of Cloth, but few is known about them. There is also a God Cloth, worn by Athena herself, compared to it even the Gold Cloths are nothing, but during history also the Pegasus Saint, always side by side with Athena, has worn a God Cloth of his constellation.
List of constellations and Saints
Cloths are inspired to the 88 constellations. There are still 28 constellations that were not used in Saint Seiya. The Cerberus constellation was deleted in 1919, therefore it is anachronistic. 17 constellation were designed by N. L. Lacaille in 1763, i.e. 20 years after the events in Saint Seiya: Next Dimension and Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas(Not canonical).
The rank of many Cloths has been changed in Saint Seiya Omega(Not canonical).
Some deities other than Athena have armors inspired to the 88 constellations, too, but they are not listed here. The following table lists Athena's Saints and former Saints only.
- "R." stands for the Rank of the cloth: 1=Godly Cloth, 2=Gold Cloth, 3=Silver Cloth, 4=Bronze Cloth, 5=Cloth of unknown material.
- XX Century refers to the following series: Saint Seiya (Sanctuary, Poseidon, Hades; set from 1985 to 1991), Saint Seiya: The Movie (set in 1989), Saint Seiya: Episode G (set in 1978), Saintia Sho (set in 1985).
- Next Dimension refers to Saint Seiya: Next Dimension (sequel and prequel canonic, refers in the 1743)
- XVIII Century refers to Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas (set in 1743) and Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Gaiden (set in the 1730's, prequel not-canonical).
- XXI Century refers to Saint Seiya Omega (set in 2016 Not canonical).