Minerva was the goddess of wisdom. Her symbol was the owl. Her Greek name was Athene, and Athens was her city.
She had a strange birth. One day, Jupiter had a bad headache. Nothing would cure it. Eventually Vulcan split open Jupiter's head. Out jumped Minerva in armour with shield and spear! Jupiter felt much better afterwards. Don't try this at home.
Minerva was the goddess of arts and crafts. She was particularly good at weaving. Once a woman called Arachne wove a beautiful picture. Minerva tried to find something wrong with it. When she couldn't, she tore it up and turned Arachne into a spider. The spider still weaves beautiful webs.
Minerva helped the hero Perseus to kill the gorgon Medusa, who was a monster with snakes instead of hair. Anyone who looked at a gorgon turned to stone! But Minerva told Perseus to look at Medusa's reflection in a polished shield. That way he could cut the head off without looking directly at the gorgon. He gave the head to Minerva, who put it on her shield, so it would turn her enemies to stone.
© Jo Edkins 2009 - Return to Roman gods index