aegis ē´jĭs [key], in Greek mythology, weapon of Zeus and Athena. It possessed the power to terrify and disperse the enemy or to protect friends. The aegis was usually described as a garment made of goatskin slung over the shoulder or as a piece of armor. The aegis of Athena was a breastplate covered with goatskin and bordered with snakes, bearing in the center the head of the Gorgon Medusa.
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