Ravens, because of their intelligence, are seen as sacred birds, and often as agents of prophecy. Being carrion eaters, they are also associated with death, war, and the goddesses of death and battle; gathering over the battlefields, where they would feed on the flesh of the fallen warriors. Seeing a raven or a crow before going into a battle gave a sense of foreboding and meant that the army would be defeated.
In medieval times, the raven stood for virility and was used as an emblem by raiding Viking warriors in Europe. In Norse mythology, the god Odin used two ravens named Hugin and Munin (‘Thought’ and ‘Memory’), to fly the world each day in order to inform him of what was happening.
In Christian tradition ravens were believed to have special taste for criminals, and to enjoy plucking out the eyes of sinners. They were thus thought of as carriers the souls of the damned and as companions of the Satan.