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date: 29 November 2022



  • Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood


Aegis, divine attribute, represented as a large all-round bib with scales, fringed with snakes' heads and normally decorated with the gorgoneion (see gorgo). In Homer *Zeus' epithet aigiochos, and the story (Il. 15. 308–10) that the aegis was given to him by *Hephaestus suggest a primary association with Zeus, who lends it to *Apollo (Il. 15. 229–30). It is unclear whether Athena's aegis is also borrowed (cf. Il. 5. 736–8; cf. schol. Il. 15. 229). In post-Homeric times the aegis is most closely associated with *Athena, who is commonly shown wearing it over her dress; Zeus is very rarely shown with the aegis. At Il. 2. 446–9 the aegis is ageless and immortal, with a hundred tassels; its tasselled nature is reflected in its epithet thysanoessa. At Il. 5. 738–42 it is decorated with the Gorgon's head and the allegorical figures Phobos (Fear), Eris (Strife), Alke (Strength), and Ioke (Pursuit). Its shaking by Zeus (Il.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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