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Etruscan Menerva statuette
Minerva of Peace , mosaic by Elihu Vedder (1896) in the Library of Congress

Minerva is a Roman goddess who was especially worshiped by the Sabines , Etruscans and Latins . The Etruscans called them Menrva .

In the Roman Empire , Minerva was initially seen primarily as the protector of craftsmen and trade . Later, the ideas of the Greek cult of Athena were incorporated into the image of Minerva, so she also became the protective goddess of poets and teachers . Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, tactical warfare, art and shipbuilding, as well as the guardian of knowledge. Since Augustus she has been venerated as the goddess who gives victory or directs the fortunes of the state. A special supporter of Minerva was the Emperor Domitian , who often had her depicted on the reverse of his coins (see photo on the right).

Minerva on denarius of Emperor Domitianus

In Rome , Minerva was worshiped on the Capitol as one of the three city deities alongside Jupiter and Juno . Her temple once stood in the middle of the Aventine Hill . Today, however, no remains of it have survived. A second temple was located on the Esquiline - also since Republican times . This was consecrated to Minerva Medica, who represented the protective goddess of doctors. A third temple was on the Caelius . This was named "Temple of Minerva Capta" because the cult image 241 BC. Was stolen from the conquered Falerii by the Romans .

The main festival of Minerva, the Quinquatrus ( March 19 , later from March 19 to March 23 ), was celebrated by guilds and guilds as a craft festival. In the 18th century, based on the elements of this festival and some other references, the Minerva celebrations were considered to be the forerunners of the Gregorius parades .


The portrait of Minerva (like that of Athena) has been used in heraldry, on coats of arms and seals since the time of Renaissance humanism . Among other things, it is the symbolic emblem of the Max Planck Society and the emblem of the predecessor organization, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society . It can also be found on the California seal . As the guardian of knowledge, she serves on the coats of arms and seals of the University of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, the Hotchkiss School and numerous Spanish military schools.


Web links

Commons : Minerva  - collection of images, videos and audio files