Obverse of Athenian tetradrachm
Obverse of Athenian tetradrachm with portrait of Athena. Minted 475-465 BCE. Getty Museum.
Drawing of the Athenian tetradrachm that we had done for the website logo
Creative Commons LicenseJeremy Norman Collection of Images - Creative Commons
The composite tracing of the Athenian tetradrachm that we commissioned from images of various examples of the coin available on the web. This is an enlarged version of the drawing in the HistoryofInformation.com logo. In the logo the image of the coin is reproduced approximately the original size of the coin, roughly one inch in diameter.
Detail map of Athina, Greece Overview map of Athina, Greece

A: Athina, Greece

The Athenians Mint the Silver Tetradrachm after they Defeat the Persians

Circa 479 BCE
Reverse of Athenian Tetradrachm
Reverse of Athenian tetradrachm minted 475-465 BCE, depicting the owl of Athena and the letters AΘΕ for "the Athenians."  Getty Museum.
About 479 BCE the Athenians began minting the silver tetradrachm during rebuilding of Athens after they defeated the Achaemenid Army of Xerxes I during the Second Persian invasion of Greece.

The obverse of the coin depicts Athena, the goddess patron and protector of Athens, who was associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare.  

The reverse of the coin depicts the owl of Athena with the inscription AΘE, an abbreviation of AΘΗNAΙΩΝ (the Athenians). In daily use Athenian drachmas were called glaukes (γλαυκες, owls). The owl has traditionally been associated with wisdom because of its ability to see in the dark, where others may not be able to see.

In Roman mythology the owl became associated with the Roman goddess Minerva

In September 2020, when it seemed appropriate to find a symbol to serve as a logo for HistoryofInformation.com, the logo needed to be small and relatively square to fit into the space available in the upper left corner of the screen. Logos of websites are typically placed there so they remain visible when the website occupies screens of different sizes from cell phones to tablets to large monitors. I noticed that the ancient Athenian silver tetradrachm was a squarish coin, about one inch in diameter, containing Athena's owl on the reverse. To create the very clear outline version of the tetradrachm an artist redrew the coin as a composite of several original tetradrachms available on the Internet.

The classical Greek depiction of Athena's owl on the tetradrachm symbolizes the goals of HistoryofInformation.com to organize and present historical data in order to gain insight from study of the past. As a symbol of the ancient Athenians, it reflects significant culture of the past, and as Hegel wrote, "the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk"—meaning that philosophy comes to understand a historical condition just as it passes away.[18] Philosophy appears only in the "maturity of reality," because it understands in hindsight."

Timeline Themes