In Greek and Roman mythology, a palladion (Greek) or palladium (Latin) was an image of great antiquity on which the safety of a city was said to depend. "Palladium" especially signified the wooden statue of Pallas Athena that Odysseus and Diomedes stole from the citadel of Troy and which was later taken to Rome by Aeneas. The Roman story is related in Virgil's Aeneid and other works.
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Palladium, an image of Pallas or Minerva to which were attached the destinies of Troy. This statue, three cubits in height, held a lance in the right hand, a shield on the left arm. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who follows the Grecian figment that it was the gift if heaven to the Trojans, adds that Aeneas possessed himself of it and conveyed it to Italy, with his household gods (Penates). It was said to have long been preserved in the Temple of Vesta, at Rome and many medals represent that goddess seated, with the Palladium in her hand.
That the Palladium was preserved in the Temple if Vesta, at Rome, is a fact considered by Eckhel, to be typified on a brass medallion of Lucilla, Empress if Lucius Verus, on which, without epigraph, appears a temple, in which is an idol and before which six female figures are sacrificing at a lighted altar. It is narrated by Val. Maximus that, at the burning of the temple of Vesta, Metellus preserved the Palladium, which was snatched unharmed from out of the midst of the conflagration. Lucan, Herodian, and Livy, confirm this statement; the last named writer says - "Quid de asternis Vestae ignibus signoque quod imperii pignus custodia ejus templi tenetur, loquar?" - ["Why need I speak of the eternal fire of Vesta, and of the statue (i.e. Palladium) which is preserved, as a pledge of the empire's safety, in the sanctuary of her temple?"]
The Palladium borne by Aeneas in his right hand whilst he carries Anchises on his shoulders, appears on coins from the moneyers Cecilia and Julia and on denarii of Julius Caesar. - Minerva also holds it on some imperial medals - It appears in the hand of Juno, on a coin of Julia Soemias. In the hands of Vesta, it is placed, on coins of Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan, and Antonine; and also on medals of the faustinas and other Empresses. - Also in the hand of Venus, on a coin of Faustina jun. The Palladium also is seen in the right hand of the Genius or Rome, on coins of Vespasian, Domitian, Antoninus Pius and constantius Chlorus. - It also appears in the right hand of Annona, on a silver medal of Titus, as indicating the popular belief that so long as that image was preserved the Roman empire would flourish.