Minerva

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Minerva
Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, and the crafts
Member of the Capitoline Triad
Minerva-Vedder-Highsmith-detail-1.jpeg
Mosaic of the Minerva of Peace in the Library of Congress
Animals Owl of Minerva
Parents Jupiter and Metis
Greek equivalent Athena
Etruscan equivalent Menrva

Minerva (/mɪˈnɜːr.və/; Latin: [mɪˈnɛr.wa]; Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter.[1] After impregnating the titaness Metis, Jupiter recalled a prophecy that his own child would overthrow him.

Fearing that their child would grow stronger than he and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole. The titaness forged weapons and armor for her child while within the father-god, and the constant pounding and ringing gave him a headache. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and bearing her mother's weapons and armor.

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, and the crafts.[3] She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva",[4] which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge.

Etruscan Menrva[edit]

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

The Etruscan 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 Lucera 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
Silver denarius of the Roman Emperor Domitian dated c. 90 AD
Silver denarius of the Roman Emperor Domitianus (Domitian) featuring Minerva. Dated c. 90 AD. IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII, laureate head right; IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, holding spear and thunderbolt, shield resting against back of leg; References: BMC 167, RIC 691, RSC 260, Paris 159, Cohen 260

In Fasti III, Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works". Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, and when she eventually became equated with the Greek goddess Athena, she also became a goddess of battle. Unlike Mars, god of war, she was sometimes portrayed with sword lowered, in sympathy for the recent dead, rather than raised in triumph. In Rome her bellicose nature was emphasized less than elsewhere.[7] Her worship was also spread throughout the empire—in Britain, for example, she was syncretized with the local goddess Sulis, who was often invoked for restitution for theft.[8]

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, 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. When it was founded, the emperor himself was present and was believed to be of divine nature as a result of its construction.

Roman coinage[edit]

Minerva is featured on the coinage of different Roman Emperors. She is often represented on the reverse side of a coin holding an owl and a spear.[9]

Universities and educational establishments[edit]

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

Use by societies and governments[edit]

Minerva and owl (right) depicted on Confederate currency (1861)

Public monuments, places and modern culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

References
  1. ^ Encarta World English Dictionary 1998–2004 Microsoft Corporation.
  2. ^ Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, 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. ^ Mark Cartwright. "Minerva". Ancient History Encyclopedia. 
  8. ^ R. S. O. Tomlin (1992). "Voices from the Sacred Spring" (PDF). Bath History. 4: 8, 10. 
  9. ^ "American Numismatic Society: Browse Collection". Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  10. ^ "California State Symbols". California State Library. 
  11. ^ "List of Registered Trademarks and Service Marks" (PDF). 
  12. ^ Cavanagh, Terry (1997). Public sculpture of Liverpool. Liverpool University Press. pp. 70–1. 
  13. ^ Elson, Peter (2014-10-14). "Liverpool Town Hall's Minerva statue restored to heavenly condition". Liverpool Echo. 
  14. ^ "Our Lady of Victories (The Portland Sailors and Soldiers Monument)". Public Art Portland. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  15. ^ "Maine Civil War Monuments: Portland (Monument Square)". Maine.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "New high-performance computing cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam". Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  17. ^ "Minerva". Hennepin County Library. 
  18. ^ "University at Albany - SUNY -". albany.edu. 
  19. ^ "Herald Square Monuments - James Gordon Bennett Memorial : NYC Parks". 
  20. ^ "minerva | Search Results | Wellsipedia". wellsipedia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  21. ^ Citizen, Erik Sorensen / Special to The. "Wells College to graduate its first males this weekend". Auburn Citizen. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  22. ^ York, Michelle (2005-09-06). "Wells College: Newly, and Uneasily, Coed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
Sources

External links[edit]