Pin from Pergamon Museum depicting Greek Owl

Pin from Pergamon Museum depicting Greek Owl

I got this pin at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in 2012. It is representative of Athenian Owls, thick, heavy, high-relief silver coins minted more than 2,000 years ago,

Greek coin from Pergamon Museum with classic owl

Greek coin from Pergamon Museum with classic owl

were arguably the most influential of all coins, and the Classical Owl tetradrachm, pictured above, is the most widely recognized ancient coin among the general public today.

Owls were the first widely used international coin. They popularized the practice of putting a head on the obverse of a coin and a tail (animal) on the reverse. Owls were handled by Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Democritus, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, and others whose thinking formed the very foundation of Western civilization. They remained thematically unchanged, Athena on the obverse, her owl on the reverse, for half a millennium, through great changes in the ancient world. Because of their centrality, they were known as “Owls” in ancient times as they are today despite many other ancient coins depicting owls in an equally prominent fashion. President Theodore Roosevelt used a Classical Owl as a pocket piece, which inspired him to order the redesign of U.S. coins early last century.

Location: 4-D2

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