Bronze Owl, Karia
(5th century B.C.)
This early classic, bronze owl was probably made in the Aria region, in de south-west of Asia Minor (on the coast of what is now Turkey). In Greek mythology, mighty Athena, the virginal goddess of wisdom and the arts, chose an owl to accompany her.
The Greeks believed that owls could see at night thanks to a light that shone from within which, in turn, came to symbolise the purity of the shining goddess. In the city state of Athens, owls were protected birds which nested on the Acropolis in large numbers and adorned the rear of every coin. Because Athena was also the goddess of military tactics, an owl flying by was viewed as a good omen if the army was going into battle.