Minerva's owl

Athenian tetradrachm c.420 BC

Bath's springs were dedicated to the Celtic goddess Sulis, identified by the Romans with their own goddess, Minerva.

Her Greek counterpart was Athene, symbol of Athens, where philosophy was born. She was the goddess of wisdom, patron of arts and crafts, and in her more militant role was a goddess of war and defender of the state. Although usually depicted in a helmet and breastplate, and carrying a shield, she appears in mythology more as a shrewd tactician and cousellor than a warrior.

She was often depicted with an owl, symbol of wisdom. Perhaps the best-known image of her owl is that on ancient Athenian coins like this one from the 5th century BC. The owl often figures in the seals and logos of educational bodies, while statues or other images of Athena/Minerva may adorn their establishments.