image Gods and Goddesses

Minerva

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Key Facts
Other names Athena
Year of origin
Location
Parent(s)
Partner(s)
Children
Aspect(s)
Major Centre(s)
Period of worship

 

 

Background

Minerva, known also as Pallas Athena in Greek mythology, was the Roman name of Greek goddess Athena. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts, and the inventor of music.

The name "Minerva" is likely imported from the Etruscans who called her Menrva. In Etruscan mythology, Menrva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena and to Roman Minerva. Like Athena, Menrva was born from the head of her father, Tinia.

Minerva is the Roman name for Athena the goddess of Wisdom and Virginity. She is also depicted as an owl.

Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter-Juno-Minerva triad. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter.

As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. As Minerva Achaea, she was worshipped at Luceria in Apulia where the donaria and the arms of Diomedes were preserved in her temple.

The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the feminine plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, the artisans' holiday.

A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, who were particularly useful to religion. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine hill.

Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic.

Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the "Delubrum Minervae" a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (near the present-day Piazza della Minerva and the Pantheon).