🦉 Minerva 🐍 Roman Goddess of Wisdom, War and Healing: Quinquatria (March 19~23)

Hello everyone, TIMOTHEVS here!

Today I’ll talk about the Roman Goddess Minerva and the Quinquatria.

The Roman Minerva inherited much of Her appearance and many of Her myths from the Greek Goddess

Pallas Athēna and the Etruscan Goddess Menrva.

Minerva was born out of the head of Her Father Iuppiter

and so She became the Goddess of Wisdom.

Therefore, She was often worshipped by teachers, scholars and others that were seeking wisdom.

An owl is often depicted alongside Minerva as a symbol of Her wisdom.

As we can tell from Her epithet Minerva Medica, She was also associated with healing.

Like other Deities associated with healing like Aesculapius or Salus, She was sometimes

depicted with a snake.

This is because in Antiquity, snakes were associated with healing, and even today pharmacies

around the world often use snakes in their signs.

Minerva was also the patroness of art and crafts so She was venerated by many ranging

from professional painters, singers and stone carvers to housewives spinning and weaving at home.

As Her Corinthian helmet, breastplate, Hoplite shield and spear reveal, Minerva also concerns

Herself with military matters.

However, She is a Goddess of war strategy and justified wars, rather than war for the

sake of war and brute force.

Together with Iuppiter and His wife Iuno, Minerva was part of the Trias Capitolina,

the triad that was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

It should be noted that Minerva is a Virgin Goddess, so unlike the Goddess of love Venus,

She was never depicted naked by the ancients, not even with a single bare breast.

Artists from the Renaissance period onwards were less concerned about preserving Her modesty,

but such images would have undoubtedly seemed inappropriate to many ancients, maybe even


After all, virgin Goddesses have been known to severely punish those that attempt to see

Them naked.

The Quinquatria were celebrations around the spring equinox and they lasted for 5 days

from the 19th of March until the 23rd of March.

The month of March, or rather “the month of Mars”, the War God was seen as the commencement

of the campaigning season, so it is certainly not a coincidence that Minerva also gets special

attention during this month.

On the first day of the Quinquatria, the Birth of Minerva was remembered.

This day was bloodless: gladiator fights were not allowed.

On the next four days however, there were gladiator fights.

They were held to please the Goddess.

At one point during the Quinquatria, there may have been a procession during which a

cult statue of Minerva was carried around the city.

and in modern-day Europe, we can still see cult statues of a Virgin being carried around.

Other interesting facts concerning this festival include the following:

Teachers and scientists were expected not to work.

A teacher may have received a present called a “Minerval” from his students.

In one scene from 『The Swaggering Soldier』 by Plautus, the happily unmarried character

Periplectomenus says the following, doing an impression of what wives typically say

to their husbands according to him: “Give me [some money] for the Quinquatria,

to give to the enchantress, the seer, the fortune-teller and the entrails-reader.

This seems to suggest that it was customary

for women to visit these types of individuals during the Quinquatria.

And how are you going to spend the Quinquatria?

Are you giving a present to your teacher or do you plan on receiving one yourself from

your students?

Or are you going to visit a fortune-teller?

Or maybe you prefer to go and watch a fight or clean your weapons?

Alright, that concludes this video!

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This was TIMOTHEVS, thanks for watching and may Minerva give us the wisdom we need!