Talk:Owl of Athena

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Glaukos Athena's owl?!?![edit]

To my knowledge the word Γλαῦκος (or Γλαύκος) does not refer to Athena's-Minerva's emblem or the owl in general; γλαῦξ, glaux does.1 2, or even 4, 5, 6, 7 etc.
May it be that the origin of this is sources not knowledgeable in Greek that have understood its commonly cited (after-next to it) genitive form, i.e. γλαυκός, glaukos (see its full inflection here), as a variant (nominative) form of it??
Please provide some serious sources on this othwerwise the article's name would and must have to be renamed to Glaux (and then disambiguated from this), and its contents edited....Thanatos|talk 22:34, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The genitive misunderstanding seems possible. Or an aspect of a modern tradition? I should doubt that Athena's owl would have had a name in antiquity, and one as ridiculous and poorly gendered as Glaukos the glaux, but who knows? Much as I hate to say it as a Hellenist, but if this page needs to lose the "Glaucus", it probably needs to be moved back to it's original headword, Owl of Minerva. I'm going to ping the editor who made the move to see if he can help us figure out why the move was made and whether there's a good reason not to go back to the original headword or chose a new one.  davidiad { t } 23:36, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
My feeling is that Glaucus is being used as a name, not a description. The two clearly share a common root, but there aren't any figures in Greek mythology known as Glaux. In other words, Glaucus is absolutely the correct form as a name. But whether this is an authentic usage is something I haven't been able to substantiate. None of the books I've consulted on Greek mythology name Athena's owl; I've checked the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Morford & Lenardon's Classical Mythology, and a couple of others. None of them give a name for the owl; most indicate that owls in general were just one of several animals associated with Athena (although owls were particularly popular at certain places and times).
Unless someone can find a source naming the owl, I think that perhaps the author is simply assuming that Glaucus would be how you should address Athena's owl. A reasonable assumption, I would say, but if there's no evidence that a particular owl was personified as Athena's companion, and called by that name (even by a literary source, such as Ovid), then I agree with moving the article back where it was. That said, I wouldn't call my search exhaustive. P Aculeius (talk) 01:29, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
My objection to the form as a name, aside from the fact that I have trouble believing the owl would be named, is that it's masculine, while glaux is feminine, and ancient Greek would more quickly have this adjectival "name" form agree with it's referent species' gender, which is feminine: Glauke.  davidiad { t } 01:48, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
P Aculeius you may want to see what those sources have to say not about Athena's owl but on (the various) Glaucus... ;-) Thanatos|talk 18:02, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I support the change back to Athena's Owl. The creature didn't have a name. - Xocoyotzin (talk) 22:29, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
  • How is this different from the "owl of Athens" as an iconographical type? Like on the coin pictured? Cynwolfe (talk) 14:47, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think it is. Do we already have a better article sneaking around here somewhere?  davidiad { t } 15:10, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Not as far as I know. It just seems to me that "owl of Athens" is the more substantial topic, so maybe owl of Athens ought to be the article title. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:22, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
If we use Owl of Athens it would be hard to incorporate the references to the owl of Minerva, which is a popular reference in Philosophy, as a symbol of knowledge, etc. The Greek city obviously adopted the owl because of Athena, so I still think that the article should be named Owl of Athena. - Xocoyotzin (talk) 06:13, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
1.Not sure on whether the Atheneans (and more generally the Greeks) adopted the owl because of Athena; the Athenean or Greek adoption of the owl as inter alia Athena's emblem could have happened because of the many owls in Athens-Attica (I have been lucky enough to have been at times amazed in seeing owls in Attica); don't know how could this be refuted either way (ok there might possibly be a passage in some ancient source claiming that they adopted it because of x or y; but that would probably be what they thought, just an interpretation) 2.Why would it be difficult to incorporate the owl of Minerva? A.Explain Roman Minerva = Greek Athena and B.continue to the point. 3.What imo would be more troublesome is to correct the passages and hereto links at other articles and pages and then sit by and wait for the whole internet to correct itself... ;-) Thanatos|talk 07:55, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Thanatos, please notice that I am not questioning the origin of the myth —which may as well be grounded on the owl’s population of the region— but on how to name an article about a particular owl that has been used as a symbol of knowledge and wisdom since antiquity. For centuries, universities, societies, philosophers, etcetera, have used that particular representation for its association with Athena and Minerva and what they embody, not for its association to the city of Athens. For that reason, I think the most appropriate name is Owl of Athena. – Xocoyotzin (talk) 18:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
  • 1.Whatever your deeper intentions I just also commented on "The Greek city obviously adopted the owl because of Athena".Anyway let's forget about it.
  • 2. Yes I know about it being the symbol of wisdom and its common usage.Still, I can't see the difficulty.
    Possible Article Structure:
    • A. Article title: Owl of Athena or (damn you, you copycat Romans!! :D) Owl of Minerva.
    • B.Description of it being the pet of Athena-Minerva explaining that for all practical reasons Athena=Minerva, blah blah blah.
    • C.Description of it being inter alia the symbol of Wisdom being used as such all over the (Western) World, blah blah blah.
    • D.Expalanation of the homonymous dialectic philosophical metaphor, blah blah blah.
    • And so on and so forth.
    • Conclusion. Still, don't see where the problem could or would be. Thanatos|talk 00:58, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with #2; my only issue had been the current title (and some of the proposals). I prefer "Owl of Athena" but don't mind "Owl of Minerva" as long as it isn't "Owl of Athens" nor "Glaucus". - Xocoyotzin (talk) 18:48, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh, mea clupa!! Owl of Athens is the problem; as you had read above and as I had speedily, hastily misread as Owl of Athena. OK, agreed on that; that could or must also be a section of the same article; let's not forget to (is this an English to or a Greek to?? :p) komizein glauka es Athenas... Thanatos|talk 19:04, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Requested move to Owl of Athena[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Arbitrarily0 (talk) 20:58, 31 May 2013 (UTC)


Glaucus (owl)Owl of AthenaThe owl had no name and several times appears as Athena herself. Owl of Athena can incorporate topics on its use in the city of Athens and its association to the syncretic incarnation of Athena in Roman mythology; Minerva. Xocoyotzin (talk) 20:27, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. Appears correct. "Owl of Athena" sounds mythological. "Glaucus (owl)" sounds like a technical/scientific name for a real owl. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:39, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


Significant number of Little Owls in the region[edit]

This article mentions the "significant number of Little Owls in the region" as the main reason for the name given to the Owl of Athena. It is frequently but erroneously believed that there are (or were) many living owls in Attica. Owls are actually a rare species of bird, just like the eagle on mount Olympus (sacred to Zeus). The "owl of Athena" in vast numbers mainly refers to the symbol of the city illustrated on pottery, statues etc. but most important to the millions of copies of the owl-tetradrachm circulating at the time, as indicated by Aristophanes, Birds 1106, and supported by Philochorus and present day academics. The vast number of "owls-tetradrachms" available those days financed the several achievements of the city-state, such as the construction of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as many Wars, including the Peloponnesian War. I tried to illustrate this in this article but it was reverted. Do those users supporting this view, of the significant number of Little Owls in the region, have any cite, other than a reference to ornithology? --Odysses () 02:40, 7 November 2013 (UTC)