Owl

🏷  Greek hoax marker pun · symbol   —   by Gerry · Dec 2020 · 706 words

The owl is a prominent spook symbol, likely for a pun of Greek σκοπς skops for “small watcher owl” with σκοπος skopos for “spy” (as “watcher”), and with σκωπτω skopto for “mockery”. A secondary pun may be ωτος utos for “eared owl”, which also means “spy” (as “listener”). The “owls to Athens” saying is also a pun.

owl on Athens coin

Ancient coins from Athens shows a small owl with very large eyes.

Owls are used as spook symbols regularly, particularly in the “freemason” brand of spookery:

However, the owl plays no role at all in the Old Testament. Some strange names which could be owls appear in the “forbidden birds” list, but they seem to be only grammar particles for the specific punny phrases in those verses, and not often-used general puns. The spooks’ modern owl symbolism must therefore be a pun from some later language.

That language is likely Greek, for the Athena symbolism and the “owls to Athens” saying. But as usual with punny symbols, we have to find the right language and the right word, here among Greek synonyms for “owl”. I suggest it’s σκοπς skops for “small watcher owl” punning with σκοπος skopos for “spy” & “watcher”. A good clue are the ancient Greek coins from Athens, which show a small owl with very large eyes. The owl also appears tiny next to Athena.

The owls are also spooky hoax markers, because of an additional pun with σκωπτω skopto for “mockery”. The Wiki spooks even admit themselves that the words for “owl” & “mockery” look very similar.

The “owls to Athens” saying stems from the fact that Athens also puns with “watching”, via ατενιζω atenizo for “gazing” & “staring”. “Staring” is what owls do all the time, so you don’t have to “get them to Athens”, i.e. get them to stare. That’s the pun. Athens as “staring” also fits the particularly large-eyed owls on its coins very well. ατενισμος atenismos for “observation” may even be a synonym for spying, though that’s not attested. A secondary Athena / owls pun may be αιθων aithen for “glittering” & “blazing” with γλαυξ glaux for “bright-eyed owl”.

There is also another possible owl / spy pun, of ωτος utos for “eared owl”, which also means “spy” (as “listener”). This doesn’t fit Athena’s owl though, which has no ears. It may, however, tie into the Odysseus punnery.

Greek skops, skopos = watcher-owl, watcher, spy

scops-owl : a small European migratory owl, Otus scops, that winters in sub-Saharran Africa; Latin scops, from Ancient Greek σκώψ (skṓps, “a type of small owl”), from σκοπός (skopós, “watcher”), from σκέπτομαι (sképtomai, “I look at”). — English (Wikt)

σκώψ skops : a small owl; Folk etymology tends to connect this with σκώπτω (skṓptō) and σκέπτομαι (sképtomai). — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

σκοπός skopos : watcher; lookout, protector, guardian; spy, scout; mark, target; goal, aim — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

σκώπτω skopto : to mock, jeer, scoff at; (in good sense) to joke with, jest — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

ἐπισκώπτω episkopto : laugh at, make fun of; jest, make fun — Ancient Greek (LSJ.gr)

σκῶμμᾰ skômma : a jest, a gibe, a joke; From σκώπτω (skṓptō, “I mock, I jeer”) and the suffix -μα (-ma). — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

Greek athene = Athena, Athens; atenizo = gaze, stare, observe

Ᾰ̓θήνη Athene : Athena; an older name for Athens — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

ἀτενίζω atenizo : to gaze intently, to fixate one’s eyes (upon), to stare; to be fixated on, to focus on, to concentrate on — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

ἀτενισμός atenismos : intent observation; fixed stare — Ancient Greek (LSJ.gr)

Greek utos = eared-owl, ear, listener, spy

ὦτος utos : long-eared owl (Asio otus); (figurative) booby, easily deceived person — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

οὖς ; ὠτός ous; utos : ear; hearing; (figurative) spy — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

🏷  Greek hoax marker pun · symbol