Owl of Athena

Owl of MinervaowlAthena's owlher symbolAthena's little owlher owlowlspet owl named Ibidthe owlThe Owl of Minerva
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.wikipedia
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Athena

Pallas AthenaPallasPallas Athene
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.
Her major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion.

Minerva

MinerveMenervaRoman goddess
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.
She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva", which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge as well as, less frequently, the snake and the olive tree.

Tetradrachm

four-drachmafour-drachma cointetadrachms
The owl of Athena even became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 510 BC and according to Philochorus, the Athenian tetradrachm was known as glaux (γλαύξ, little owl) throughout the ancient world and "owl" in present-day numismatics.
The Athenian tetradrachm was stamped with the head of Athena on the obverse, and on the reverse the image of the owl of Athena, the iconographic symbol of the Athenian polis, with a sprig of olive and a crescent for the moon.

Greek mythology

GreekGreek mythmythological
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.

Little owl

Athene noctualittleDesert owl
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.

Syncretism

syncreticsyncretisticsyncretized
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.

Roman mythology

RomanRoman godRoman goddess
In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.

Western world

WesternWestthe West
Because of such association, the bird — often referred to as the "owl of Athena" or the "owl of Minerva" — has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.

Myth

mythologymythologicalmyths
Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson, suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.

Martin P. Nilsson

NilssonMartin NilssonMartin Persson Nilsson
Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson, suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.

Minoan religion

MinoanMinoan gods and religious conceptionsMinoan palace goddess
Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson, suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.

Marija Gimbutas

GimbutasMarija GimbutienėGimbutas, Marija
Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson, suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.

Old Europe (archaeology)

Old EuropeOld European culturepre-Indo-European
Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson, suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.

W. Geoffrey Arnott

W. G. ArnottWilliam Geoffrey Arnott
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).

Athens

Athens, GreeceAthenianAthenians
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata). In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, who, according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poseidon.

Aristophanes

AristofanesAristophanicOld Comedy
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).

The Birds (play)

The BirdsBirdsLes Oiseaux
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).

Lysistrata

LysistrateCinesias (character)Lisístrata
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).

Origin myth

founding mythfoundation mytheponymous ancestor
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls —such as their ability to see in the dark— to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of little owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata). In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, who, according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poseidon.

Parthenon

Temple of AthenaThe Parthenon5th-century BC Athenian temple
In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, who, according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poseidon.

Poseidon

NeptuneAegaeusNeptune Equester
In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, who, according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poseidon.

Panathenaic Games

PanathenaeaPanathenaic FestivalPanathenaia
Owls were commonly reproduced by Athenians in vases, weights and prize amphoras for the Panathenaic Games.

Philochorus

The owl of Athena even became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 510 BC and according to Philochorus, the Athenian tetradrachm was known as glaux (γλαύξ, little owl) throughout the ancient world and "owl" in present-day numismatics.

Numismatics

numismaticnumismatistnumismatists
The owl of Athena even became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 510 BC and according to Philochorus, the Athenian tetradrachm was known as glaux (γλαύξ, little owl) throughout the ancient world and "owl" in present-day numismatics.

Agathocles of Syracuse

AgathoclesAgathoklesKing Agathokles
They were not, however, used exclusively by them to represent Athena and were even used for motivation during battles by other Greek cities, such as in the victory of Agathocles of Syracuse over the Carthaginians in 310 BC —in which owls flying through the ranks were interpreted as Athena's blessing — or in the Battle of Salamis, chronicled in Plutarch's biography of Themistocles.