The name Minerva is connected with the root man as or mens. She first appeared in Etruria under the names of Minrva, Menrfa, Menervra. Menarv, and was perhaps a goddess of the thunderbolt. It seems that this Etruscan Minerva very early merged with the Greek Athene. Minerva is hence the least ltalic of the divinities with whom she formed the triad Jupiter-Juno-Minerva.
The Roman Minerva was especially the protectress of commerce and industry and of schools. It was only later that she assumed the character of a warrior-goddess.
According to Roman tradition the cult of Minerva originated in Faleri. When in 24 I B.C. the Romans took this town they carried Minerva off, built her a temple at the foot of Mount Coelius and gave her the name Minerva Capta. There was, however. a temple already consecrated to Minerva in Rome on the Aventine. In any case her cult was not ancient in Latium or among the Sabines. Minerva was honoured, in association with ivtars. in the Quinquatrus which lasted five days during the Spring equinoxes.
Minerva was venerated throughout the Empire. Particularly homage was paid to her by corporations of artisans, flute-players, doctors and so forth.
There was no purely Roman figure of Minerva. The Etruscans had represented her with wings, holding a screech-owl in her hand. It will be remembered that this bird was sacred to Athene.