born without a mother. Her father was the mighty
Jupiter, king of all the gods. Minerva was born directly
out of Jupiter' brain.
Jupiter loved all his children, but if he had to
pick a favorite, it would probably have been Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
Minerva was a powerful force, and one of the
deities who made up the Dei
Consentes, the Roman Council of 12 gods.
There are many myths about Minerva in Greek
mythology. Here is one of them.
As the story goes ...
In ancient times, each town had a special
deity, a god that looked after them.
Neptune, Lord of the Sea, was a very powerful god.
He loved attention. He loved having towns build temples to worship him. He
loved the gifts people brought him.
Neptune was always on the lookout for towns
that had not yet been claimed by a god. He wanted as many towns as possible to
call his own. Although towns could only have one god to watch over them, gods
could watch over as many towns as they chose.
One day, Minerva, goddess of wisdom, and Neptune, lord of the sea, both claimed
a coastal village. Normally, the people in the village would have been thrilled to be
selected by a god to watch over them. But two gods at once? A town could have
only one guardian, and they did not want to choose. They did not want to anger
Minerva, who was wise as well as beautiful,
understood their worry. She suggested that both gods should give the town a
gift. The townspeople could decide which gift was better. Neptune
loved the idea. The townspeople, if possible, were even more nervous
Neptune tapped the side of the mountain. Water
flowed out in a beautiful stream. Fresh water was so important. The people
were sure Neptune had won. When they tasted the water, they tried to smile,
but they had to spit the water out. It was salt water!
Then Minerva waved her hand. An olive tree began
to grow. The people tasted the olives. Smiles broke out. The olives were
delicious. The olive tree would provide food, shelter, and oil for cooking. It
was a magnificent gift indeed.
But no coastal village would
risk angering the lord of the sea, the mighty Neptune. Fortunately for the
people, they did not have to choose.
Neptune threw back his head and laughed his
mighty roar. "Yours is a far better gift than mine, my lovely niece. The
village is yours!"
Even today, Minerva's special tree is the