Minerva - Athena

 

 

Minerva
Athena
Picture
Picture
Birth
Birth
Parents
Parents
Responsibilities
Responsibilities
Story
Story
Similarities
Disimilarities
Bibliography

Birth 

Minerva was born to only one parent, Jupiter. It is said that she "leaped forth from his brain" fully matured and wearing a complete suit of armor.

 Athena was born to one parent, Zues, after he ate Athena's mother, Metis. The reason Zues ate Metis was to prevent the birth of his offspring but it didn't work because Metis gave birth to Athena inside Zeus' brain.

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Parents

Minerva, like Athena, only had one parent, Jupiter (Zeus).

  Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. Zeus tried to prevent the birth of Athena by eating Metis, but Metis still had Athena. Metis gave birth inside Zeus' brain and Zeus complained of excruciation headaches. Therefore, Hephaistos swung at Zeus with an axe and splint his head open (I have seen two different versions of this story).

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Responsibilities

Minerva was responsible for the useful and ornamental arts, for men - like agriculture and navigation, and for women, - like spinning weaving,and needlework. She was also the God of War, but only the defensive side of it, not offensive. Minerva was also responsible for the invention of the olive tree.

Athena was the protector of Athens, the virgin goddess of war and wisdom, and the patroness of the arts and crafts.

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Story
Once, a mortal, Arachne, who had great talent in the field of weaving and embroidery, dared to come in competition with Minerva. Arachne's work was so beautiful that the nymphs would leave their groves to come stare at her work in awe. Arachne was so good at weaving and embroidery that some said Minerva taught her herself. Arachne denied this because she thought she was to good to be taught.

Arachne challenged Minerva when she said, "Let Minerva try her skill with mine; if beaten I will pay the penalty." When Minerva heard of the challenge, she was displeased. She made herself look like an old women and went to Arachne to give her some advice.

"I have had much experience," she said, "and I hope you will not despise my counsel. Challenge your fellow mortals as you will, but do not compete with a goddess. On the contrary, I advise you to ask her forgiveness for what you have said, and as she is merciful perhaps she will pardon you."

Arachne stopped who weaving and became annoyed and angry at Minerva and said, "Keep your counsel, for your daughters or handmaids; for my part I know what I say, and I stand to it. I am not afraid of the goddess; let her try her skill, if she dare venture.

"She comes," Minerva said as she stripped out of her costume and confessed. All the people around paid reverence to the goddess. Arachne was not terrified.

The two began their contest by first tending her station and attaching the web to the beam. Each moved rapidly. Minerva created in her web the scene of her battle with Neptune. Twelve of the heavenly powers were in the scene.

Arachne wove a picture designed to show the failings and errors of the gods. One scene showed Leda giving the swan a massage, the swan was really Jupiter in disguise. Another scene depicted Danae, in the brazen tower where her father had imprisoned her, but where the god effected his entrance in the form of a golden shower.

Minerva could not stand the insult that Arachne had weaved, so she took her shuffle and tore the weaving to peices. Then she touched Arachne's forehead to make her feel her guilt. Arachne could not stand the guilt any more so she hung herself. Minerva took pity for her and turned her into a spider to let her live.

Athena was born when Hephaistos and Zeus were having a battle. Hephaistos swung at Zeus with an axe and split his head open, and Athena sprang out of Zeus' head, fully clothed and armored. Because Zeus had been warned about the power of his child, he tricked Mestis, Athena's mother, into becoming a fly so he could swallow her and be rid of the child. But it didn't work out that way and Athena was born.

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 Similarities

Athena and Minerva are similar in many ways. Both were born to one parent, a father (Zeus and Jupiter respectively). Both were the Goddess of War and Wisdom, both were born fully mature and in a suit of armor, both were the patron of the arts and crafts, and both are represented with a helmet, a shield and a coat of mail.

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Disimilarities

Mineva and Athena are not disimilar in many ways. Zues impregnated Metis, but affraid that Athena would be too powerful, he tricked Metis into becoming a fly and ate her. Jupiter conceived Minerva without the help of a women, so Minerva never had a mother. Athena was the protector of Athens while Minerva protected nothing.

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Bibliography

Bullfinch, Thomas. "The Age of Fable: Chapter XIV, Minerva - Niobe." http://www.showgate.com/medea/bulfinch/bull14.html. (December 5, 1999).

 Cotterell, Author. The Macmillan Illistrated Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends . New York, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989: 260

Kane, J.P. "Greece." Mythology: An Illistrated Encyclopedia . 1992 ed.

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John Grainger

12-6-99

Latin 1