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History of Owls

Hoo'd Have Thought? A Magical Ancient Owl Background

The below video is evidence enough of just how darn cute owls are, and Harry Potter's pet owl, Hedwig, proved to be the most loyal of all owls. Adorableness aside, do you know why the nocturnal creatures are icons of wisdom in folklore? While in the Harry Potter movies, Hogwarts students could opt to bring owls to their dormitories, their legends go much further back through the ages.

Click through the break for magical owl legends dating back to ancient times.

  • Owls are a symbol of the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, and gained respect for their ability to see at night, despite the darkness. Homer's poetic reference to Athena as "bright-eyed" may also be the most obvious link to the wide-eyed owl often depicted perched on her shoulder.
  • The respect for owls in ancient Greece was taken so seriously that their likeness was used on early monetary coins called "Owls."
  • Ancient Romans believed an owl's hoot warned of an imminent death, and was said to have been heard before Julius Caesar's death.
  • It is said that owls also became associated with witchcraft because like owls, witches can see that which is hidden to others.
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