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Minerva Athena
Athena - Minerva

Minerva - Athena

Minerva was a Roman goddess on the brighter side of living, and a counterpart to Greek Athena. It is assumed that in Etruscan mythology, Minerva was the patron goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce - also of medicine and doctors - and Minerva's festival was celebrated from March 19 to March 23.

From the 2nd century BCE, Romans regarded her as equivalent with the Greek goddess Athena. In Britain, Minerva was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis. Ancient Greeks identified Athena with the ancient Egyptian goddess Neith, who in some ways resembled the ancient Berber goddess Tanit.

Athena of the Greeks is a goddess of wisdom, of household arts and crafts, of spinning and weaving, and of textiles. Athena is also inventor of the flute, the plough and the ox-yoke, the horse bridle and the chariot. Identified as Athena Nike (Victory) she is usually depicted with wings as the goddess of victory. Athena is not known to have a bellicose nature, nor does she bear arms except when her country is threatened or attacked. Then she fights well and helps or saves her champions too.

Her companion is the intellectual and civilized side of living and the goddess of victory. Her sacred bird is the owl, which is why wisdom is associated with that bird in our culture. She has some other symbols associated with her too. ◊

A "Minerva guy" is someone who "resonates" in the fields or on the wavelengths of Minerva, whether they be arts, domestic arts, city planning, certain kinds of music, victorious literature, and ploughing through books in (higher) study -

There are very many outlets and combinations of them and of our civilization too, it seems safe to say.

More on Athena

"They imported her; they changed some of her features to suit them, and they honoured her as such." In such ways they may have glorified themselves, by subterfuges. Think of it.

Athena, also spelled Athene, was the protectress of Athens. She was a goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason, and was identified by the Romans with Minerva. Athena was essentially urban and civilised, and probably a pre-Hellenic goddess that was later taken over from Minoans by the Greeks. In so doing the military-minded Greeks made their Athena a goddess of war, but she still kept old and civilised features.

The Greeks made her the daughter of Zeus, produced without a mother, so that she emerged full-grown from his forehead. There iss an alternative story that Zeus swallowed the goddess of counsel, Metis, while she was pregnant with Athena, so that Athena finally emerged from Zeus. Being the favourite child of Zeus, she had great power.

In Homer's Iliad, Athena had better moral and military prowess than Ares (Mars) of blood lust and blind rage. Her qualities like justice and a variety of skills helped. Qualities that led to victory were found on the breastplate that Athena wore when she went to war: fear, strife, defense, and assault.

As the guardian of the welfare of kings, Athena became the goddess of good counsel, of prudent restraint and practical insight, as well as of war.

Athena became the goddess of crafts and skilled peacetime pursuits in general. She was particularly known as the patroness of spinning and weaving. That she ultimately became allegorized to personify wisdom and righteousness was a development of her patronage of skill.

Athena was customarily portrayed wearing body armour and a helmet and carrying a shield and a lance. (Source of this section: Taft 2014)

A tour through lofty concepts and a goddess history

Neith
Neith, a painting of the goddess in the tomb of Nefertari

Neith - Athena

The Greek historian, Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC), noted that the Egyptian citizens of Sais in Egypt worshipped a goddess called Neith and that they identified her with Athena. The Timaeus, a Socratic dialogue written by Plato, mirrors that identification with Athena, possibly as a result of the identification of both goddesses with war and weaving. The name of Neith may mean "the one who belongs to the Red Crown" (of Lower-Egypt) or "the one who belongs to the (primeval) floods"

In Egyptian mythology, Neith (also known as Nit, Net, and Neit) was an early goddess in the Egyptian pantheon. She was the patron deity of Sais, where her cult was centered in the Western Nile Delta of Egypt and attested as early as the First Dynasty. In the history of Egyptian myths, she became a goddess of weaving who wove all of the world and existence into being on her loom. Neith was considered to be a goddess of wisdom. As a goddess of weaving and the domestic arts she was a protector of women and a guardian of marriage, so royal women often named themselves after Neith, in her honour.

Proclus (412485 AD) wrote that the adyton of the temple of Neith in Sais carried the following inscription: "I am the things that are, that will be, and that have been. No one has ever laid open the garment by which I am hidden. The fruit I brought forth was the sun."

Ancient Neith was said to repel evil in general and Egypt's foes in particular - it makes her a protectress as well as a goddess of war. She is also a goddess of hunting, weaving and wisdom. Her war and protectress symbols are the bow, the crossed arrows and shield on her head.

An early goddess in the Egyptian pantheon, in time she came to be considered the personification of the primordial waters of creation - a great mother goddess-creator. All that she conceived in her heart came into being, including thirty gods of Egypt (there are more still).

Neith also became goddess of weaving, and by then her role as a creator changed from being water-based to being a deity who wove all of the world and existence into being on her loom.

Neith is mother of the sun, Ra, in some creation myths. And from associating her with water, she is regarded as the source of the River Nile.

A great festival used to be held each year in her honour. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484425 BC). her devotees burned a multitude of lights in the open air all night at that time. The Timaeus, a Socratic dialogue written by Plato, mirrors the identification of Neith with Athena, for both goddesses were warring and weaving.

George Hart descibes Neith as the Creator-goddess of Sais. Her titles include 'mistress of the bow . . . ruler of arrows'. The hieroglyph writing her name comprises two bows bound in a package. The warrior imagery behind these symbols led to the Greek identification of Neith with Athene.

The dominant feature of Neith is her role as creator. The goddess emerged from the primeval waters to create the world. She then followed the flow of the Nile northward to found Sais.

The concept of Neith as divine mother extends to other deities. In this aspect she transforms into a sky-goddess with the title of the Great Cow. (Hart 2005, 100-01)

Virgin Mother Goddess

Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge argued that the spread of Christianity in Egypt was influenced by the likeness of attributes between the Mother of Christ and goddesses such as Isis and Neith. Parthenogenesis (development of an embryo from an unfertilized egg) was associated with Neith long before the birth of Christ. Other properties belonging to Neith and Isis were transferred to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a mark of honour, and Catholics stick to the devout "Virgin Mother and Child" theme and seem to like it.

Neith may correspond to the goddess Tanit, worshipped in north Africa by the early Berber culture. Tanit is a virginal mother goddess and nurse, and a symbol of fertility. Her symbol is quite like the Egyptian ankh.

[Wikipedia, "Minerva," Athena," and "Neith"]


Athena, Neith, Minerva, Literature  

Hart, George. 2005. The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. 2nd ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Taft, Michael, ed. 2014. Greek Gods and Goddesses. New York. Britannica Educational Publishing / Rosen Publishing.

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