What Does the Owl Symbolize in Ancient Greece?

The owl has been a significant symbol in ancient Greek mythology and culture. It was regarded as a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. The owl was also associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom and strategy.

The Owl as a Symbol of Wisdom

According to Greek mythology, the owl was a companion of Athena and was often seen perched on her shoulder. The Greeks believed that Athena’s association with the owl symbolized her wisdom and intelligence. They also believed that the owl had the ability to see through darkness, which represented Athena’s ability to see through ignorance and find truth.

Representation in Art

In ancient Greek art, the owl is often depicted alongside Athena. The bird appears on many coins, sculptures, and pottery from that era. These artworks often portrayed Athena holding an owl in her hand or standing next to one.

The Owl as a Guardian

The Greeks also believed that the owl had protective qualities. They placed images of owls on their shields and helmets during battles as they believed it would bring them good fortune and protect them from harm.


In conclusion, the ancient Greeks regarded the owl as a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. They associated it with their goddess of wisdom, Athena, who was often depicted with an owl perched on her shoulder.

Additionally, they believed that the owl had protective qualities and placed images of it on their shields during battles. Even today, many people still associate owls with intelligence and knowledge due to their cultural significance in ancient Greece.