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Minerva, probably derived from the Etruscan goddess Menrva, and since her name is equivalent to¬†mens, “mind,” she was in the Etruscan trilogy with Jupiter and Juno, but later took on the aspects of the Geek goddess¬†Athena. Like the latter in legend, Minerva sprang from the head of Jupiter, which was cleaved by¬†Vulcan’s¬†ax. As Minerva Medica she was the tutelary goddess of Rome. She was revered as the goddess of was and peace, and presided over the guilds of dramatic poets and artisans, she also was the protectress of domestic arts including needlework.

Her cult was widespread throughout Italy, but only in Rome did she assume an extreme war-like character. There she was represented with a helmet, shield, and a coat of mail, and the spoils of war were offered to her. The veneration of Mars suffered because of her; the quinquatrus became more her festival than his.

In Rome, Minerva shared the Capitoline Hill sanctuary with Jupiter and Juno. A.G.H.


Cotterell, Arthur,¬†A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 149
Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 180
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 166