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“signifies, literally, a goat skin. According to ancient mythology, the aegis worn by Jupiter was the hide of the goat Amaltheia, which had suckled him in his infancy. Homer always represents it as part of the armour of Jupiter, whom on this account he distinguishes by the epithet aegis-bearing. He, however, asserts, that it was borrowed on different occasions, both by Apollo and Minerva. The aegis was connected with the shield of Jupiter, either serving as a covering over it, or as a belt by which it was suspended from the right shoulder. Homer accordingly uses the word to denote not only the goat-skin, which it properly signified, but also the shield to which it belonged. The aegis was aorned in a style corresponding to the might and majesty of the father of the gods. In the middle of it was fixed the appalling Gorgon’s head, and its border was surrounded with golden tassels, each of which was worth a hecatomb. The aegis is usually seen on the statues of Minerva, in which it is a sort of scarf falling obliquely over the right shoulder, so as to pass round the body under the left arm. The serpents of the Gorgon’s head are transferred to the border of the skin. The later poets and artists represent the aegis as breastplate covered with metal in the form of scales.” — Smith, 1873


Aegis, Goat Hide


William Smith, A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873) 9


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