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This article is about the Roman goddess. For other uses, see Minerva (disambiguation).
Goddess of wisdom, arts, crafts, medicine, commerce, defense and magic, virginity
Member of the Capitoline Triad
Mosaic of the Minerva of Peace
Animals Owl of Minerva
Parents Jupiter
Greek equivalent Athena
Etruscan equivalent Menrva
Religion in
ancient Rome
Marcus Aurelius sacrificing
Marcus Aurelius (head covered)
sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter
Practices and beliefs
Related topics

Minerva (Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born with weapons from the godhead of Jupiter.[1] From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena.[2] She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic.[3] She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva",[4] which symbolizes that she is connected to wisdom.

Etruscan Menrva[edit]

Main article: Menrva

Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā ('She who measures'), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology, Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus).

By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning "mind", perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- 'mind' (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne/μνημοσύνη and mnestis/μνῆστις: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind).

Worship in Rome[edit]

Raised-relief image of Minerva on a Roman gilt silver bowl, 1st century BC
Temple of Minerva in Sbeitla, Tunisia

Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva. 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 votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple.[5][6]

A head of "Sulis-Minerva" found in the ruins of the Roman baths in Bath

In Fasti III, Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works". Minerva was worshiped throughout Italy, and when she eventually became equated with the Greek goddess Athena, she also became a goddess of war, although in Rome her warlike nature was less emphasized.[7] Her worship was also taken out to the empire — in Britain, for example, she was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis.

The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the neuter plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an 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 now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva facing the present-day Piazza della Minerva.

Universities and educational establishments[edit]

As patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms, at educational establishments.

Societies and governmental use[edit]

  • The Seal of California depicts the Goddess Minerva. Her having been born fully-grown symbolizes California having become a state without first being a territory.[8]
  • In the early 20th century, Manuel José Estrada Cabrera, President of Guatemala, tried to promote a "Worship of Minerva" in his country; this left little legacy other than a few interesting Hellenic style "Temples" in parks around Guatemala.
  • According to John Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy (1798), the third degree of the Bavarian Illuminati was called Minerval or Brother of Minerva, in honour of the goddess of learning. Later, this title was adopted for the first initiation of Aleister Crowley's OTO rituals.
  • Minerva is displayed on the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.
  • Minerva is featured in the logo of the Max Planck Society.
  • Minerva alongside Mars is displayed on the cap badge of the Artists Rifles Territorial SAS Regiment of the British Army.
  • Kingston Upon Hulls oldest Masonic Lodge is named The Minerva Lodge.
  • Minerva is the patron goddess of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
  • Minerva is featured on the Union College seal. The college motto is "We all become brothers under the laws of Minerva."

Public monuments, places and modern culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Encarta World English Dictionary 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation.
  2. ^ Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.
  3. ^ Candau, Francisco J. Cevallos (1994). Coded Encounters: Writing, Gender, and Ethnicity in Colonial Latin America. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 215. ISBN 0-87023-886-8. 
  4. ^ Philosophy of Right (1820), "Preface"
  5. ^ Aristotle Mirab. Narrat. 117
  6. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Achaea (2)". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. Boston. p. 8. 
  7. ^ http://www.ancient.eu.com/Minerva/
  8. ^ http://www.sos.ca.gov/digsig/greatseal.htm

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minerva — Please support Wikipedia.
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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:20:26 -0700

Minerva is one of the most interesting startups in the world today. Minerva hopes to revolutionize higher education, not just by putting courses online, but by becoming itself an institution of higher education, albeit one that uses technology to make ...
Next Big Future
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:17 -0700

Tweet Minerva Schools at KGI is a startup online for-profit university. [wikipedia] Its founders, who include former Snapfish president Ben Nelson, referred to it as "the first elite American university to be launched in a century", and they began ...

Slate Magazine (blog)

Slate Magazine (blog)
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:21:47 -0700

That's partly why the Minerva Project, a startup profiled by Graeme Wood in this month's Atlantic, is an intriguing business idea. Minerva is an accredited, for-profit college with stated ambitions to become the first elite American liberal arts ...
The Atlantic
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:22:30 -0700

Minerva is an accredited university with administrative offices and a dorm in San Francisco, and it plans to open locations in at least six other major world cities. But the key to Minerva, what sets it apart most jarringly from traditional ...

The New Republic

The New Republic
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:33:45 -0700

Wood's article, actually titled "The Future of College?," is a profile of the Minerva Project, a new, low-cost, for-profit university that offers intensive seminars on a cool new online “proprietary platform.” It's Ben Nelson, Minerva's 39-year-old ...

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Glens Falls Post-Star
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:58:30 -0700

Minerva Central School officials were somber Thursday after learning their nearly $5.1 million budget was defeated for the third and final time. The vote was 246 in favor to 208 opposed. The 54 percent approval rate fell short of the 60 percent ...
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Fri, 15 Aug 2014 04:11:47 -0700

Minerva begins the school year with a new superintendent. Gary Chaddock, who served as Minerva's middle school principal for the past two years and who is the older brother of former Superintendent Joseph Chaddock, took the reins Aug. 1 after his ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:56:15 -0700

This one-owner home was custom-built on almost an acre. It features a kitchen with Corian countertops and newer appliances. Engineered hickory floors cover the kitchen, formal dining room and living room. The master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, ...

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