What Did Birds Symbolize in Ancient Greece?

Birds have been a significant part of human history, cultures, and beliefs. Ancient Greece is one such civilization that has an extensive history with birds.

Birds held deep symbolic meanings in ancient Greek culture. In this article, we will explore the symbolism of birds in ancient Greece.

The Importance of Birds in Ancient Greece

In ancient Greek culture, birds were considered to be divine messengers between the gods and humans. The Greeks believed that birds were the connection between the heavens and the earth. From the earliest times, they observed and studied birds’ behavior, flight patterns, and migration routes to understand their ways.


Eagles were highly regarded in ancient Greece for their strength and power. They symbolized Zeus, the king of gods, who was often depicted as an eagle with outstretched wings. The eagle’s association with Zeus represented his supremacy over all other gods.


Owls were also highly valued in ancient Greek culture due to their nocturnal nature. They were associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Athena was often depicted with an owl perched on her shoulder or hand.


Doves symbolized love and peace in ancient Greece. They were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Doves were often depicted in romantic scenes or as messengers of love.


Swans represented purity and grace in ancient Greek culture. They were associated with Apollo, the god of music and poetry. Apollo was often depicted holding a lyre surrounded by swans.

  • The Greeks believed that if a bird flew into your home or landed on your window sill, it was a sign of good luck.
  • If a bird flew into your home from the left, it was considered a bad omen.
  • The Greeks believed that the behavior of birds could predict future events.


In conclusion, birds have played a significant role in ancient Greek culture. The Greeks believed in their divine connection with the gods and used their behavior to predict future events.

Eagles, owls, doves, and swans were among the most important birds in ancient Greece and held deep symbolic meanings. These beliefs are still prevalent today, and birds continue to fascinate us with their beauty and grace.