View Full Version : Did Athena's Owl Have a Name?

01-06-2004, 10:10 PM
Well, did it?

01-06-2004, 10:32 PM

01-06-2004, 10:56 PM
Originally posted by NoClueBoy
Who? Athena. Greek Goddess of Wisdom. She had an owl. I don't know what its name was either. Neither does Google.

01-06-2004, 11:01 PM
Well, in Clash of the Titans, it was Bubo (which is also the genus of many types of owls), but I suspect that was made up for the movie.

01-06-2004, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by NoClueBoy

Hera: What's the owl's name?

Athena: Who.

H: The owl.

A: Who.

H: The owl!

A: Who!

H: Who is sitting on your shoulder right now?!

A: Yes.

H: Who?

A: Yes.

H: Yes?

A: Yes, who.

H: The owl.

A: Who.

H: The frikkin' owl, you head-spawned moron! What is the name of the owl?

A: No, who.

H: (stomping off muttering) Damned goddess of wisdom... Goddess of the wise-asses is more like it...

01-06-2004, 11:18 PM
*Watches the joke go right over Q.E.D.'s head*

01-06-2004, 11:19 PM
I always thought it was Hooter.

Was it just one, or a pair?

01-06-2004, 11:25 PM
Who's Who? (http://rehabitat.org/rhwho.htm)

I waited years to use that link! :)

In the golden days of Greece, a small owl was found nesting in the cliffs near the Acropolis. Legend tells us that this little bird was instrumental in helping the Greeks win a big victory over the Persions: The owls gathered in great flocks and then descended on the enemy, causing mass confusion and fear. Since that time the owl has been considered the mascot of Athens, and was even named for the goddess Athena. The scientific name of the bird is Athene noctua.

The poetical epithet for Athena, glaukopis, was more of a play upon words: it can be translated as "owl-eyed"
What many links are pointing at is that Athena=owl! Sublight paradoxically did nail it:

The significance of Athena's owl culturally/symbolically in ancient times is that it is not Athena's owl but Athena = owl. Most of the images of an owl in ancient Greece simply represent Athena. Only rarely does she appear with a symbol of an owl and she never seems to appear with an owl. She was involved with shape shifting and she would sometimes appear as an owl. But the owl represents wisdom.
Question: What was Athena's owl's name?? And who was her best friend????

Answer: Athena did not have a pet owl. Athena became the owl and the owl became Athena. Nike and Athena were close but Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena acted like sisters.
Can not vouch for accuracy, but those sites look like they did their homework.

01-07-2004, 01:16 AM
Originally posted by Sublight
Well, in Clash of the Titans, it was Bubo (which is also the genus of many types of owls), but I suspect that was made up for the movie.
In the movie, the owl was made by Hephaistos so Athena wouldn't have to send Perseus "her" owl.

01-07-2004, 02:04 AM
True, but I think the mechanical owl and the real owl shared the same name.

I was always ticked that Bubo never a constellation in the closing monologue. After all, that selfish bint Casseopeia got one!

One And Only Wanderers
01-07-2004, 03:06 AM
Heh not even Hollywood can create new constellations. The ones that are there are all we've got!

Urban Ranger
01-07-2004, 03:14 AM
IIRC, Athena doesn't have a personal owl. She's just associated with the owl and the olive tree.

01-07-2004, 10:22 AM
I tried looking up "Bubo" in my classical Greek dictionary and found nothing. But I did find it in my Latin dictionary.

bubo, onis, m...an owl, horned owl

It says that it comes from the root BOV, which means "to cry out" or "to bellow". Which would appear to be the same root whence sprang the word bovine. It would seem that this root does go back to Greek, but again I can't connect it to anything sounding like "Bubo". And my Greek dictionary doesn't have an English-to-Greek section.

That's the best I can do.

01-07-2004, 10:55 AM
Sublight with the comedy takedown! Yowza!

Sofa King
01-07-2004, 11:45 AM
This guy (http://compleatheretic.com/mascot.html) named it Heterodoxos, a couple dozen centuries after the fact.

01-07-2004, 11:54 AM
Yes, my owl's name is Marvin.

01-07-2004, 01:08 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sublight
[B]Hera: What's the owl's name?

Athena: Who.

H: The owl.

A: Who.

Abbott and Costello have nothing to worry about here!

(Who's on first?, quite possibly the funniest bit ever done. Their timing was fabulous.)

01-07-2004, 04:57 PM
Now, the serious post. :D

Though the owl is associated with this goddess, it often times appears to be merely an attribute of her, and not a named creature.

Other times, when it definitely a separate creature, it is called (are you ready for this?) OWL ( or Little Owl ). This friend of Athena is used as her messenger and sees truths that others my overlook or try to hide.

Hope this helps.

Short story (http://pantheon.org/articles/a/athena.html).

Longer story (http://krishanna.com/literary/archives/000028.html).

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