A Hellenistic Terracotta Dove
A stylistic Hellenistic Greek ceramic Dove. Doves were always highly regarded birds because they were used as pets and as reliable messengers. An ancient Greek legend tells of the sacred oak grove at the Dodona where the god Zeus (Jupiter) and his dove-priestesses made oracular interpretations based on the flight and behavior of birds. Among the birds customarily used were ravens, crows, cranes and owls, but only the pigeon with its innate homing instinct could be relied upon to return without fail, particularly when used covertly as a messenger.