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Minerva

Roman goddess MinervaOut of the pantheon of Roman Goddesses, Minerva doesn’t appear to have Indo-European origins. Minerva was the Roman equivalent of the Italic goddess Meneswa, the Etruscan goddess Menrva and the greek goddess Athena.

Recent DNA research suggests the Etruscans were quite possibly of Turkish origin, eg Troy or Smyrna. Other myths regarding the archaic period of Latium point to connections with Greece and Turkey such as the legend of Evander; a Greek from Arcadia who settled at the site of Rome and initiated the cult of Hercules and the legend of Aeneas as the Trojan settler forefather of Rome. To a degree this link with the near orient in archaic times and hence of their deities and customs, Minerva was likely one of these.

Minerva was goddess of wisdom, Roman science and technology, Roman arts, Roman schooling, Roman medicine, Roman literature and Roman trade and commerce. She was the supposed inventor of Roman music. Only in Rome did she also take on war-like characteristics similar to her greek equivalent Athena.

Minerva was one of the three roman virgin goddesses, together with Diana (goddess of fertility and hunting) and Vesta (goddess of the hearth and home) and like her Greek counterpart Athena she was born of the head of Jupiter (Zeus) her father: he had such a dire head-ache that he asked his son Vulcan to split his head open, which he did and out leaped Minerva, clad in gold armour, because science and wisdom must be able to defend itself from its ignorant detractors, ready to fight under the insignia of truth and justice. The supremacy of reason above the passions which fog our minds.

Like Jupiter and the goddess Juno the other two gods of the Capitoline triad, Minerva had a variety of epithets, such as Minerva Medica (medical Minerva!) Her major festival was a celebration of the arts and was celebrated over the course of 4 or 5 days starting from the 19th March. A minor version of the same was celebrated mid June, by the Roman flute players.

Her major temples were to be found on the Capitoline hill (the Capitoline triad), on the Aventine hill which acted as a focus for the arts, at the Campo Marzio: area where in antiquity the Roman army trained, near where the Pantheon stands.

 

Picture: Minerva goddess Rome

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"Minerva" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for www.mariamilani.com - Rome apartments