Minerva was the daughter of Metis and Jupiter. The latter swallowed Metis when she was pregnant with Minerva, afraid that she would give birth to a son who would one day overthrow him. Minerva was therefore born without a mother, and sprang fully-grown from Jupiter’s head. She was characterised as a goddess of war who played an active role in the battle between the Olympians and the Titans. She represented the positive side of war (whereas Mars symbolized its negative aspect), and was thus often associated with Victory. She was the protectress of many Greek cities, and the principal goddess of the most famous, Athens, which was named after her (her Greek name being Athena). She took part in many mythological episodes, such as the Judgement of Paris, and protected many heroes in the course of their adventures (Ulysses, Jason, Hercules).
As the goddess of Reason, she represented wisdom and prudence and presided over literature and the arts. She was often accompanied by an owl, whose wide-open eyes symbolised clear-sightedness. According to tradition, she was also the goddess of intelligent activity, and thus the protectress of craftspeople (notably spinners, weavers and embroiderers).