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Minerva

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Major Roman Gods
Dii Consentes
(The Twelve
Great Gods)

Jupiter
Juno
Minerva
Vesta
Ceres
Diana
Venus
Mars
Mercury
Neptune
Vulcan
Apollo

Other Gods

Baachus
Cupid
Discordia
Faunus
Justitia
Luna
Mors
Mutinus
Nox
Pluto
Proserpina
Terra
Saturn
Sol
Uranus

Minerva was a Roman goddess of crafts and wisdom. This article focuses on Minerva in early Rome and in cultic practice. For information on mythological accounts of Minerva, which were heavily influenced by Greek mythology, see Athena.

Titles and Roles

The name "Minerva" may come from the Indo-European root *men-, from which "mental" and "memory" are also derived. However, the non-Indo-European speaking Etruscans had a goddess Menrva, so the name may be of entirely unknown derivation.

Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter and Juno. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts, and the inventor of music. As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors.

Adapting Greek myths about Athena, Romans said that Minerva was not born in the usual way, but rather sprang fully armed from the brain of her father; this image has captivated Western writers and artists through the ages. [edit]

Worship

Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works." Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome did she take on a warlike character. Minerva is usually depicted wearing a coat of mail and a helmet, and carrying a spear.

The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to 23 during the Quinquatria, the artisans' holiday and a lesser version, the Quinquatrus was held on June 13. Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno.

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.

References



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This page has been accessed 7501 times. This page was last modified 01:00, 17 Jan 2005. Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.


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