Athena's Owl

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  • #3862
  • Greek Greek (culture)
  • Flying Flying (attribute)
  • Celestial Celestial (attribute)
  • Friendly Friendly (behaviour)

A celestial owl that was frequently seen on the shoulder of the ancient Greek goddess Athena. The owl bore no name other than ‘her owl’ and was known to be a manifestation of Athena unlike the eagle of Zeus. Therefore images of owls in ancient Greek art represented Athena. In some tales were Athena transforms into an owl. There is no current answer to why an owl depicts Athena. Some historians hypothosize that the glow of the owl’s eyes are the inner light of wisdom. Others state that the Athene noctua- a specific species of owl was prevalent at the time and created its nests in the Acropolis. This hill top of the Acropolis was dedicated to Athena so there is a chance that the people there associated the owl with her. The Athenian Owl was used on currency that was circulated for more than 300 years throughout ancient Greece.

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