Festival of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom
On this, the first day (the Quinquatrus), sacrifices and oblations were offered, though no blood was spilled.
Throughout the festival, plays would be enacted and public discussion of the arts openly encouraged. The festival was also associated with the opening of the campaign season; during this time the arms, horses and trumpets of the army would be ceremoniously purified at Rome.
During the following days the citizens enjoyed gladiatorial displays, and on the fifth and final day a solemn procession made its way through the streets of Rome. On these days the trumpets (tubae) were lustrated (purified by offerings); this seems to have been originally a separate festival called 'Tubilustrium'. Unlike today's instrument, a tuba was a long, straight trumpet, but we know that, like the tuba, it made a deep sound. These were were blown during sacrifices, funerals and public games, and Scipio Africanus used them to cause Hannibal's elephants to stampede at his final defeat at Carthage.
Sacrifices were offered to Minerva, the Roman goddess of war as well as wisdom, arts and crafts, dyeing, science and trade, and patroness of trumpet players. She was also the patroness of scholars and pedagogues (teachers), who enjoyed a holiday at this time, with the pupils giving their pedagogues gifts, dedicated to Minerva, at the close of the festival. We see her depicted in art with Juno and Jupiter on the Great Arch of Trajan, and she frequently appears on sarcophagi offering a new life beyond the grave.
The Roman goddess Minerva probably derived from the Etruscan goddess Menrva, and was later modelled on Greek Pallas Athena. Menrva was the Etruscan version of Athena, and depicted similarly (with helm, spear, and shield). Like Athena, Menrva was born from the head of a god, in her case Tinia, and she is part of a triad with Tinia and Uni. Minerva sprang fully armed from the head of Jupiter (Zeus), whose head had been split open with Vulcan's axe.
Modern Minervalias were held early in the 20th Century in Guatemala City, Guatemala ..
Categories: roman-mythology, mythology, deity, calendar-customs, festival, ancient-rome