Minerva was the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare and the sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy.

Symbols: Owl, olive tree
Parents: Jupiter and Metis
Greek equivalent: Athena

A bronze head of Sulis-Minerva found in the ruins of the Roman baths in Bath. (c) Stan Zurek

Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, who had been swallowed by Jupiter, and burst from her father’s head, fully armed and clad in armour. Jupiter forcibly impregnated the Titan Metis, which resulted in her attempting to change shape to escape him. Jupiter then recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Saturn, and in turn, Saturn had Caelus.

Raised-relief image of Minerva on a Roman gilt silver bowl, 1st c. BC.

Fearing that their child would be male, and would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly. The Titan gave birth to Minerva and forged weapons and armour for her child while within Jupiter‘s body. In some versions of the story, Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter‘s mind as the source of his wisdom. The constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter‘s head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult and in full battle armour.

File:Domitian Denarius Minerva RIC 167 1.xcf
Silver denarius of Domitian, 90 AD, OBVERSE: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII, laureate head right; REVERSE: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, holding spear and thunderbolt, shield resting against back of leg. (c) Ancientcointraders.com

She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving and the crafts. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl, which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge.

Statue of Minerva. Louvre.
Statue of Goddess Minerva | Greek and roman mythology, Roman sculpture,  Goddess art
Statue of Minerva. (c) Andrew Rayner
Minerva - Ancient History Encyclopedia
Statue of Minerva, 2nd c. AD. Capitoline Museum. (c) Mark Cartwright

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