A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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The Little Owl

In Greek mythology, Athene, the Goddess of Wisdom was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of the little owl that she honoured the bird by making him her favourite among feathered creatures. In the great Acropolis in Athens the bird was protected and bred in large numbers. It was believed that an inner light gave the owl magical properties to see in the dark. As a symbol of Athene the owl was a protector, accompanying Greek armies to war, and providing ornamental inspiration for their daily lives. If an owl flew over the soldiers before a battle it was a good omen and was taken as a sign of impending victory. The little owl was often found on the reverse of coins where it kept a watchful eye on trade and commerce in Athens.


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