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After the death of Romulus, it was universally believed by the Romans that through the intercession of his father, the God of War, he was received into heaven, and had a station assigned him amongst the gods. He was worshipped under the name of Quirinus.
Now warrior Mars his burnished helm puts on,
The sire that rules the thunder, with a nod
Soon as the power armipotent surveyed
Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, War, and all the liberal arts, is said to have sprung from the brains of Jupiter, completely armed, and, on account of the great power with which she was entrusted by her father, she was immediately admitted into the assembly of the Gods. She was universally looked upon as the benefactress of mankind, and instructed them in the arts of navigation, ship-building, spinning, and weaving; she changed Arachne into a spider for contending with her in the latter art. Minerva disputed with Neptune the right of giving
a name to the capital city of Cecropia. In a council of the Gods convened on this occasion, the preference was promised to the one who should present the most valuable gift to the inhabitants of the earth; Neptune struck the ground with his trident, from which arose the horse; Minerva produced the olive, and was unanimously pronounced the victor; she named the city Athens, and became the tutelar goddess of the place.
By the poets, she is frequently named Athena, Pallas, Argoria, Glaucopis, Tritonia, and Parthenos; she is also often spoken of as the "azure-eyed goddess," the "blue-eyed maid;" is usually represented as a majestic female, with a helmet on her head adorned with a large nodding plume, a breastplate, a spear, and the celebrated ægis or shield in her hand, with the snaky head of Medusa upon it, which had the power of changing into stone all who looked at it.
The owl, the cock, the dragon, and the olive-tree, were sacred to her; magnificent temples were erected to her honour in Phoenicia, Egypt, Italy, Sicily, Gaul, and Greece; and the Parthenon, at Athens, (or rather the ruins of it,) still remains as a monument of the high veneration in which she was held in that city, and of the perfection which the fine arts had attained in that favoured country.
It is said that Jupiter rained a shower of gold upon the island of Rhodes, as a testimony of his satisfaction at the
devotion of the people to his favourite daughter. Minerva assisted the Greeks during the siege of Troy, and afterwards guided Telemachus in his search for his father Ulysses.
Learned authors are not agreed as to the precise time and manner of the descent of the Palladium, or celebrated statue of Minerva, but it was a generally-received opinion that, on its preservation depended the safety of Troy; Ulysses and Diomede entered the city by stratagem, and carried away what some supposed to have been the Palladium, but it is said they were deceived by a statue placed near it, and that the sacred original was safely conveyed from Troy to Italy by Æneas, and preserved in the temple of Vesta, with the greatest secrecy and care; none but the vestal virgins being aware of its presence. The descent of Minerva to Ithaca, to the assistance of Telemachus, is thus described by Homer :
She said; the sandals of celestial mould,
Hedged with ambrosial plumes, and rich with gold,