God of the Month: Minerva

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Often conflated with Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva is uniquely Roman. Adapting various aspects of the Etruscan Goddess Menrva, the Romans regarded Minerva as the Goddess of War and the Goddess of Wisdom. In war, Minerva counsels the generals on their strategy for battle. In peace, She guides the legislators in governing the state. (As one of the Capitoline Triad (with Juno and Jupiter), She governs the affairs of the country.)

Ovid referred to Minerva as the Goddess of a Thousand Works. Besides being a Goddess of War and Wisdom, She is the Patron of Doctors. As the Goddess of the Arts, Minerva invented numbers and music. She oversees crafts, learning, science and trade. In fact, I regard Minerva, the Goddess of Technology.

The Romans considered the Palladium (the Statue of Minerva) a gift from Her to them. The Vestal Virgins guarded this and other sacred items in their temple. Meanwhile, at her temple on the Esquiline Hill, people would place votive objects of healing into vaults (favissae).

The “Greater” Quinquatrus, the first of the two festivals for Minerva, is held from March 19 to 23. This festival is celebrated by artists, actors, students and writers. Because her temple on Aventine Hill served as guild headquarters, actors and writers would hold their sacrifices to Minerva there. Meanwhile the schools closed as their students celebrated the end of the school year. Teachers received their annual salary called a Minerval at this time.

The second festival, the “Lesser” Quinquatrus, takes place on June 13. Since Minerva is the Patroness of Musicians, the flute players would stage masked processions through Rome. In modern times, it is appropriate to listen to master flautists to honor Her.

Salve Minerva Augusta!
Goddess of Wisdom
Many are Your Attributes

Salve Minerva Augusta!
With Jupiter Capitolinus and Juno Regina,
You sagely govern us, your Quirites

Salve Minerva Victoria!
You who pierces ignorance
With Your Spear.
You who fends off stupidity
With Your Shield.
You who grants knowledge
With Your Helm.

Salve Minerva Augusta!
You who burst fully formed
Into my life
Guiding me to Rome,
Guiding me to Home,
I thank you.

Salve Minerva Augusta!
Goddess of Wisdom
Many are Your Attributes.

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9 thoughts on “God of the Month: Minerva

  1. Are there annual celebrations or astrological events to watch for in the coming days? I know very little of this and was curious. Thanks for taking a moment.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Roman Gods of the Month: March | Neptune's Dolphins

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