Circa 454-404 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24mm, 16.40 g.).
Obverse: Helmeted head of Athena right
Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent behind; all within incuse square, test cut
During the Classical Age, the silver coins of Athens were particularly prized for their quality and their beauty. Looking at this superb example, even after the passage of centuries, it is easy to understand why. The owl, sacred bird of the goddess Athena and symbol of wisdom that adorns this tetra drachm is an appropriate image. Whoever wears this superb pendant will be wise indeed, and timelessly in fashion Found in Jerusalem, Holy Land
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ATHENA, 450 - 350 BC
In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena is perhaps one of the most famous and prominent deities of the ancient culture. Athena was born the daughter of Zeus and his first wife, Metos (Wisdom). An oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis' first child would be a girl but her second would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus as had happened to his father and grandfather. As Metos was about to give birth, Zeus swallowed her, but was soon tortured by a severe headache. As a cure, Hephaestus split his skull with an ax and from the wound sprang a fully armed Athena. Due to the nature of her birth, she has dominion over all things of the intellect. Athena was a major Greek goddess serving many roles. She was a virgin goddess and is always represented fully clothed, usually in armor and often holding a spear. Best known as the patron goddess of the city of Athens, on whose coins she is usually featured, she was a warrior goddess charged with protecting many cities and acropoli. As goddess of the arts of peace she was prayed to by sculptors, architects and practitioners of handicrafts such as weaving and spinning. As a goddess of wisdom she adopted the owl as her symbol and watched over assembly in the agora. She also had agriculture duties, responsible for the fruiting of olive trees and charged with the protection of horses and oxen.