Owls in the Ancient World

Ever wondered why we picked an owl to be our mascot? Well, in the ancient Greek world, owls were a symbol of wisdom. The owl became the favoured animal of Athena, goddess of wisdom and became her symbol. Athena’s ‘little owl’ symbol was often used to protect finance and is often represented on coinage.

 

These birds were not only a symbol of knowledge and they have been interpreted differently in many cultures. Owls have been depicted in the Libyan Palette, which shows a settlement represented by an owl figure. In old English tales, the owl, more specifically the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), was regarded as a symbol of doom or death. These owls were also thought to predict the weather and a screeching owl meant a storm was on the way. Owl eggs were used for medicinal purposes in a variety of ways to treat many illnesses. This was also a belief shared by the ancient Romans. In Hinduism, the goddess of wealth and prosperity Lakshmi, is shown with a white barn owl. In Native American culture, the owl was linked to prophecy and in some tribes, it represented the god of death. In Africa, owls were usually associated with magic and were also believed to be messengers of the dead. In ancient Egypt, they were associated with hunting and hunting prowess but also with death. The figure of the owl is imbued with magic and superstition and its nocturnal nature is no doubt the source of so many of the myths. Owls represented many different things to many cultures throughout time and this article has only touched upon a few. We are not sure if Einstein our mascot has any prophetic powers and if he does, he is sure keeping them quiet!  

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