Religion: Minerva “Goddess of Wisdom”

MINERVA  “Goddess of Wisdom”
God of: Wisdom, trade, science, dyeing, arts, medicine, doctors, handicraft, professions, wisdom and later war
Type: Major
Roman Name: Minerva
Greek Name: Athena
Other Names: Minerva Medica, Minerva Achaea
Festivals: Festival of Quinquatria March 19 – 23 , June 13
Shrine/Temple: Temple of Minerva Medica, Delubrum Minervae

Overview
Unlike many gods, Minerva was unique and had many traits and talents.  Minerva was responsible for trade, science, dyeing, arts, medicine, handicraft, professions, wisdom, and later war.  Minerva was also the protector of physicians and medicine.  Minerva originated from Etruria and was incorporated into the Ancient Roman Empire because of her various traits. Minerva’s Greek counterpart was known as Athena.

Minerva is the daughter of Jupiter alone.  It is said that Minerva was born directly from Jupiter’s head; she sprung out fully grown and armored.  Minerva was Jupiter’s favorite; she was strong, intelligent, and beautiful.  Minerva’s importance is shown especially with her belonging to the Capitoline Triad.

Virgin Goddesses
Minerva is one of the three virgin goddesses.  Minerva, Vesta, and Diana were all goddess who vowed to not be betrothed or married.  These goddesses vowed not to marry out of disgust for men or simply because their duties as protectors and goddess took precedence.  The Virgin Goddesses share many similar traits and characteristics.  Minerva, Vesta, and Diana are all powerful, resourceful, and intelligent.  Each held importance in Ancient Roman society.  This representation of powerful women is intriguing and important during a time when women in Ancient Rome had no say in politics, government, or much else in Ancient Roman society.

Capitoline Triad
Minerva was part of the Capitoline Triad.  The Capitoline Triad was a union of three Roman deities.  The three gods that were part of this triune originally consisted of Jupiter god of thunder, Mars god of war, and Quirinus god of war from Sabine origin.  Sabine was an Italic tribe that lived in ancient Italy.

It was believed by Etruscan influence that the Capitoline Triad later became Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno.  Ancient Romans built a great temple, the Capitolium on Capitoline Hill, which honored Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.  It was said to be one of Rome’s most beautiful and largest temples—although little remains of it today.

Festivals and Worship
Every year from March 19 – 23 a festival called the Quinquatria was held in her honor.  Mars was also acknowledged during this holy ancient Roman festival. This festival was mainly celebrated by artisans and students who regularly adorned Minerva’s shrines and worshiped her.

Minerva was also honored by flute players and other artisans in a minor festival on June 13 called Minusculae Quinquatria.

It was common for Minerva to be worshiped as part of the Capitoline Triad, which also honored Jupiter and Juno, throughout the year at the Capitolium on Capitoline Hill.

Duties, Attributes, and Symbols
Minerva was commonly depicted on coins throughout the Ancient Roman Empire that showed her as a warrior standing in the prow of a ship/galley.

Minerva is usually depicted in her full armor, helmet, and holding a spear.

Animals sacred to Minerva are the owl and rooster.  Plants sacred to Minerva were the mulberry, olive, and alder trees.  At times Minerva was accompanied by an owl which represented her wisdom and also to show her association with the Greek goddess Athena.

Fun Facts
The Ancient Roman goddess Minerva is portrayed in today’s society in many ways.  There are statues of Minerva around the world in state capitols, schools, and restaurants, government buildings, and ancient sites, the list is almost endless.  Minerva is revered for her many qualities, traits, and most of all knowledge and wisdom.  Because of her wisdom, people around the world want to associate their connections with her.

Minerva Monuments:  Monuments of Minerva are standing around the world  from the Ancient Roman statues in Rome, the UK, Mexico, and Scotland to name a few.

Minerva in Education:  Minerva’s name is used as the name for fraternities, sororities, student associations, prizes, learning facilities, and more. Minerva in Government: Minerva is represented on the seal of California.  A mosaic display is located at the United States Library of Congress.  Minerva is also associated with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Chartered Society of Designers.

Minerva in Military:  Minerva is shown on the United States Medal of Honor, which is one of the highest military decorations which can be awarded by the government.

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