1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palladium (image)

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PALLADIUM (Gr. Παλλάδιον), an archaic wooden image (ξόανον) of Pallas Athena, preserved in the citadel of Troy as a pledge of the safety of the city. It represented the goddess, standing in the stiff archaic style, holding a spear in her right hand, in her left a distaff and spindle or a shield. According to Apollodorus (iii, 12, 3) it was made by order of Athena, and was intended as an image of Pallas, the daughter of Triton, whom she had accidentally slain, Pallas and Athena being thus regarded as two distinct beings. It was said that Zeus threw it down from heaven when Ilus was founding the city of Ilium, Odysseus and Diomedes carried it off from the temple of Athena, and thus made the capture of Troy possible. According to some accounts, there was a second Palladium at Troy, which was taken to Italy by Aeneas and kept in the temple of Vesta at Rome. Many cities in Greece and Italy claimed to possess the genuine Trojan Palladium. Its theft is a frequent subject in Greek art, especially of the earlier time.