It’s never easy being the family know-it-all. It’s worse when your tribe is made up of oafish, ego-driven gods. No two deities know this better than Athena and Minerva, but which one—Greek or Roman—is the true Goddess of Wisdom?
Coming Out Ahead
Athena and Minerva were both born in a distinctive way: plucked from their father’s head. (Weird, but still not the weirdest childbirth when it comes to the Greek and Roman gods.) Manifested straight from the mind, these two were blessed with legendary wisdom and brainpower. But in a pantheon of fighters, when has intelligence ever been the most desired trait?
The Best Offense
Minerva’s strategizing clashed with her family’s “attack first, ask questions later” policy. As a result, she found herself benched during the war-mongering Romans’ most famous battles. Athena, on the other hand, was valued as a warrior, using brand new concepts like arithmetic to secure victories for the Greeks.
With no place on the Roman war council, Minerva put herself on self-imposed exile, trekking across earth as a backpacker and sharing her knowledge and crafting advice with grateful mortals. She insists she’s living her best life, but she still holds a lingering grudge. She even encouraged the Greeks to go to war with the Romans over her stolen statue. To be fair, it is an extremely flattering likeness.
Minerva tends to isolate herself, so she never had kids. Athena has been able to birth multiple children through, let’s just say, unconventional means. She connects with her romantic mortal partners on an intellectual level, and her demigod offspring are born directly from the brain. Plus, she’s the only goddess to claim her children from birth, and she hooks them up with sweet gifts like baseball hats of invisibility.
This feels a bit unfair, given all the strife that Minerva has experienced, but we’re going to have to award this one to Athena. We can’t think of a more supportive goddess mother, whereas Minerva’s aggressiveness sometimes clouds her judgment. And Athena gave us Annabeth Chase, so another point to the Greeks. Let’s just hope no one steals any statues out of jealousy, for all our sakes.