Pallas Athene Versus Minerva
The Goddess Athena has been an incredibly well-liked mythological
character for centuries because of her complex personality and the values which
are taught through her actions. The powerful Goddess has been generally thought
of as being the same person in both Greek and Roman stories alike, but this is
not true. Athena was looked upon and spoken of very differently in Roman and
Greek myths, though she remains with the same basic personality traits in both
cultures. Rome acquired it’s stories of mythology and religion from the Italians
(who derived their beliefs from the Greeks), and therefore most of the myths of
deities were the same as the Greeks’, but with a few changes. The Italians also
gave the Romans stories of Diana, Hercules, Venus, and a few minor characters.
The Greeks came about with their Gods from past ancient cultures, weaving in
some of their own characteristics as time went on.
Pallas Athena (the name Pallas being that of her best friend, whom she
accidentally killed while practicing with spears) in both cultures is the patron
Goddess of arts and crafts, weaving, the olive tree, overseer of Athens, and
especially of Wisdom/War. Because the Greek culture was one of intelligence,
sophistication and knowledge, Their version of Athena was mainly of a logical
and sensible person, who would avoid a fight if possible. The Romans, who were
a society of warlike men, focused on Minerva’s war capabilities and short temper.
Both cultures focused on the parts of the Gods which were most like themselves
and best suited their needs.
For the Greeks, the Gray-Eyed Goddess was not associated with specific
people except for Her rivals. The Romans, however, formed a group of Immortals
into the Capitoline triad, consisting of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. These three
assumed a supreme place in the Roman religion, acting like a Jury of Watchers
over the mortals. The Romans built a temple in honor of the Triad, named the
Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which was built in 509 BC.
In conclusion, I have been able to see how these two civilizations have
viewed one part of their religion and why they do so. There were logical
reasons for their viewing of Athene, most of which were based on their strengths
as a group. Romans respected her as a powerful Goddess of war which watched
over them was they went into battle, while the Greeks saw her as a thoughtful
judge who guided them in their adventures. The Romans warped the Greek’s
beliefs into ideas and concepts which they could relate to better, and which
everyone could have a firm grasp on because of it. This project was helpful to
me in both teaching me about this specific Heroine and also about why cultures
act as they do.