April 12th, 2008 by sabrina

Minerva is the Roman Goddess of wisdom, war, medicine, and the female arts of spinning and weaving. She is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Goddess Athena, and as Athena was born from Zeus’s forehead, so Minerva was born from the forehead of her father, Jupiter. Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Minerva form a trinity referred to as the Capitoline triad; a temple on the Capitoline Hill was built to honor them by the last King of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus. Another temple, the Delubrum Minervae, is now the site of the church Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Saint Mary over Minerva).

Minerva is often depicted in armor and holding a spear, as befits a Goddess of war. She also has the ability to throw Jupiter’s thunderbolts. Her other attributes are evidenced by her many epithets, although it can be very difficult to determine which epithets were given to Minerva alone, and which were carried over to her from Athena:
Minerva of the Spear
The Strong One
Guardian of the Skillful
The Virgin Spirit
Goddess of a thousand works
Minerva Achaea (griever)
Minerva Amphira (divine influence)
Minerva Armifera (bearing arms)
Minerva Armipotens (powerful in arms)
Minerva Belisama (like Belisama)
Minerva Bellipotens (powerful in war)
Minerva Caesia (grey-eyed)
Minerva Cabardiacensis (the heron that conveys wealth)
Minerva Capta (from the head, referring to her birth from Jupiter’s forehead)
Minerva Castitis (protector of olive trees)
Minerva Catuliana (for Catulus, a Roman admiral who dedicated standard to her)
Minerva Ergatis (work woman)
Minerva Frenales (bridler)
Minerva Hospita (hostess)
Minerva Letham (an Etruscan Goddess absorbed by Minerva)
Minerva Luscinia (nightingale, for inventing the flute)
Minerva Machinatrix (contriver or inventress)
Minerva Medica (medicine)
Minerva Mensa (measurer of time)
Minerva Montana (mountain)
Minerva Nerio (valor)
Minerva Pacifera (bearer of peace)
Minerva Panteuchia (with every weapon)
Minerva Parthenos (virgin)
Minerva Perspicax (sharp-sighted)
Minerva Praestes (presiding or protecting)
Minerva Pylotis (of the narrow pass)
Minerva Sais (from the Egyptian city of the same name)
Minerva Salus (health)
Minerva Tritonia (third queen)
Minerva Unigena (single birth, as daughter of Jupiter alone without a mate)
Minerva Virago (manly maiden)

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