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The Aigis ( ancient Greek αἰγίς , Gen. αἰγίδος , Latin aegis, -idis , from which German Aegis ) is an object from Greek mythology . The word refers to a golden goat skin (sometimes also a shield and the like), which Zeus , but occasionally also Athene or Apollo, used to let thunderstorms approach. When the fur is shaken, it sends lightning, thunder and night.


Etymologically , aigis is derived from the ancient Greek term for “ goat ” ( αἴξ aíx ) and means “goat skin” in the original sense. It is also possible to derive from the verb ἀίσσω aïssō (stem: aïg) “storm, fall”, with which καταιγίς kataigís (“cyclone”) is related. In epic and poetics , the Aigis therefore mostly refers to the storm shield of Zeus, and the term is often equated with storm.


Pallas Athene with aegis, helmet, lance and shield, around 500 BC Chr.

Legend has it that the skillful god Hephaestus made a large shield out of goatskin. This was decorated with oracle snakes and the petrified head of the Gorgon Medusa in the center, which was a gift from Perseus . At first it was the breastplate of the father of the gods; later it was passed on to Athena . The aegis was the symbol of the divine power of Athenes. Since it is inseparable from rulership, Homer transferred the Aigis in his poems to Zeus , who from then on ruled over the other gods with their help. Even Zeus' lightning could not destroy the shield. Furthermore, he is said to have had a paralyzing to petrifying effect on the opponent through the head of Medusa . In the Iliad, Apollo walks ahead of the Trojans when they break through the wall around the Achaean ship camp and shakes the Aegis, which terrifies the Achaeans.

From this protective shield comes the phrase "to stand under someone's aegis (protection)".

Uses of terms

  • The shield is often used by the wise Athena and helped her protect herself against her enemies in the battle for Troy .
  • The priestesses of the Libyan Athena wore the aegis in the form of goat skin aprons.
  • Today the name appears frequently in the names of surveillance companies.
  • AEGIS (Airborne Early Warning Ground Environment Integration Segment) is an electronic warning and fire control system on warships of the US Navy.
  • The term lives on in the male given name Aegidius .
  • In the computer game Dead Space there is a planet called "Aegis VII".
  • In the AR game Ingress there is an item called "Aegis Shield" that weakens attacks on portals.

Individual evidence

  1. Homer , Ilias 15,306-311 ( German translation ).
  2. Homer, Iliad 5,738-742 ( German translation ).
  3. Homer, Ilias 2,446-449 ( German translation ); 5.738.


Web links

Commons : Aigis  - collection of images, videos and audio files