Coins are "texts" that circulated publicly in the ancient world.
In these identical coins, juxtaposed to reveal both sides, the word Athens
is legible on one face while the owl--symbol of the goddess Athena, patron
of Athens--is legible on the other. That the written word for the city was
accompanied by its visual symbol suggests that images were also used to
impart information. The symbol conveyed a different meaning: in this example
the owl also provoked a chain of visual and mental associations with the
city, goddess, wisdom, and age.