The owl is regarded as a wise creature in a variety of mythologies. Its most famous designation as a wise creature in Western culture comes from Aesop's Fables.
The owl was also regarded as wise in Greek and Roman mythologies. The Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, was said to have made the owl her favorite bird after banishing the crow. She was impressed with the owl's solemn appearance and big eyes. The owl as a symbol of protection and wisdom was used on coins and other items in Greek culture. A contradicting belief that owls were creatures of evil and darkness cropped up primarily in the Middle Ages.