Greek city of Neonteichos in Aeolis
Bronze 9mm (0.97 grams) Struck circa 200-100 B.C.
Reference: Sear 4223; B.M.C. 17.141,1
Head of Athena right, in crested helmet.
Owl standing right, head facing; NE monogram below.
Situated a short distance south-east of Larissa Phriconis.
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Athena or Athene (Latin: Minerva), also referred to as Pallas Athena, is the goddess of war, civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, crafts, justice and skill in Greek mythology. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patron of Athens. The Athenians built the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens, in her honour (Athena Parthenos). Athena's cult as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from the earliest times and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. In her role as a protector of the city (polis), many people throughout the Greek world worshiped Athena as Athena Polias ("Athena of the city"). Athens and Athena bear etymologically connected names.
In Greek mythology, a Little Owl baby (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology. Because of such association, the bird — often referred to as the "owl of Athena" or the "owl of Minerva" — has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.
Some authors believe that, in early times, Athena was either an owl herself or a bird goddess in general: In the third Book of the Odyssey, she takes the form of a sea-eagle. These authors argue that she dropped her prophylactic owl-mask before she lost her wings. “Athena, by the time she appears in art,” Jane Ellen Harrison had remarked, “has completely shed her animal form, has reduced the shapes she once wore of snake and bird to attributes, but occasionally in black-figure vase-paintings she still appears with wings.
The modern West generally associates owls with wisdom. This link goes back at least as far as Ancient Greece, where Athens, noted for art and scholarship, and Athena, Athens' patron goddess and the goddess of wisdom, had the owl as a symbol. Marija Gimbutas traces veneration of the owl as a goddess, among other birds, to the culture of Old Europe, long pre-dating Indo-European cultures.
Owls, birds of the order Strigiformes, include about 200 species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision and binaural hearing, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl. Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica and some remote islands. Owls are divided into two families: the true owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
Greek settlements in western Asia Minor, Aeolian area in dark red.
Aeolis (Ancient Greek: Αἰολίς, Aiolís) or Aeolia (//; Αἰολία, Aiolía) was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor, mostly along the coast, and also several offshore islands (particularly Lesbos), where the Aeolian Greek city-states were located. Aeolis incorporated the southern parts of Mysia which bounded it to the north, Ionia to the south, and Lydia to the east.
Aeolis was an ancient district on the western coast of Asia Minor. It extended along the Aegean Sea from the entrance of the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles) south to the Hermus River (now the Gediz River). It was named for the Aeolians, some of whom migrated there from Greece before 1000 BC. Aeolis was, however, an ethnological and linguistic enclave rather than a geographical unit. The district often was considered part of the larger northwest region of Mysia.
According to Homer's description, Odysseus, after his stay with the Cyclopes, reached the island of Aeolia, who provided him with the west wind Zephyr.
In early times, by the 8th century BC, the Aeolians' twelve most important cities were independent, and formed a league (Dodecapolis): Cyme, Larissa (also called Phriconis), Neonteichos, Temnus, Cilla, Notion, Aegiroessa, Pitane, Aegae, Myrina, Gryneion, and Smyrna.
The most celebrated of the cities was Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), but in 699 BC, Smyrna became part of an Ionian confederacy. The remaining cities were conquered by Croesus, king of Lydia (reigned 560-546 BC). Later they were held successively by the Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, and Pergamenes.
Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum, bequeathed Aeolis to Rome in 133 BC. Shortly afterward, it was made part of the Roman province of Asia. At the partition of the Roman Empire (395 AD), Aeolis was assigned to the East Roman (Byzantine) empire and remained under Byzantine rule until the early 15th century, when the Ottoman Turks occupied the area.
Natives of Aeolis
- Autolycus of Pitane
- Elias Venezis