Palladium a name among the ancient Greeks and Romans of an image of Pallas (q.v.), upon the careful keeping of which in a sanctuary the public welfare was believed to depend. The Palladium of Troy is particularly celebrated. According to the current myth, it was thrown down from heaven by Zeus, and fell on the plain of Troy, where it was picked up by Ilus, the founder of that city, as a favorable omen. In the course of time the belief spread that the loss of it would be followed by the fall of the city; it was therefore stolen by Ulysses and Diomede. Several cities afterwards boasted of possessing it, particularly Argos and Athens. Other accounts, however, affirm that it was not stolen by the Greek chiefs, but carried to Italy by AEneas, and the Romans said that it was preserved in the temple of Vesta, but so secretly that even the Pontifex Maximus might not behold it. All images of this name were somewhat coarsely hewn out of wood.