The "Greater" Quinquatrus is a festival dedicated to Minerva. Ovid says that this festival was celebrated in commemoration of the birthday of Minerva; but according to Festus it was sacred to Minerva because her temple on the Aventine was consecrated on that day. The temple stood outside the pomerium, and the exact year of its construction is unknown, though it is first mentioned during the time of the Second Punic War (218-202 B.C.). In keeping with the Roman custom of temples serving purposes other than those specifically religious, the Aventine temple was used as the headquarters of a writer's and actor's guild.
"After a one day interval, the rites of Minerva are performed, Which take their name from the sequence of five days. The first day is bloodless, and sword fights are unlawful, Because Minerva was born on that very day. The next four are celebrated with gladiatorial shows, The warlike goddess delights in naked swords. Pray now you boys and tender girls to Pallas: He who can truly please Pallas, is learned. Pleasing Pallas let girls learn to card wool, And how to unwind the full distaff. She shows how to draw the shuttle through the firm Warp, and close up loose threads with the comb. Worship her, you who remove stains from damaged clothes, Worship her, you who ready bronze cauldrons for fleeces. If Pallas frowns, no one could make good shoes, Even if he were more skilled than Tychius: And even if he were cleverer with his hands Than Epeus once was, he'll be useless if Pallas is angry. You too who drive away ills with Apollo's art, Bring a few gifts of your own for the goddess: And don't scorn her, you schoolmasters, a tribe So often cheated of its pay: she attracts new pupils: Nor you engravers, and painters with encaustics, Nor you who carve the stone with a skilful hand. She's the goddess of a thousand things: and song for sure: If I'm worthy may she be a friend to my endeavours. Where the Caelian Hill slopes down to the plain, At the point where the street's almost, but not quite, level, You can see the little shrine of Minerva Capta, Which the goddess first occupied on her birthday. The source of the name is doubtful: we speak of `Capital' ingenuity: the goddess is herself ingenious. Or is it because, motherless, she leapt, with a shield From the crown of her father's head (caput)? Or because she came to us as a `captive' from the conquest Of Falerii? This, an ancient inscription claims. Or because her law ordains `capital' punishment For receiving things stolen from that place? By whatever logic your title's derived, Pallas, Shield our leaders with your aegis forever." - Ovid, Fasti III
"I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. From his awful head wise Zeus himself bare her arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympos began to reel horribly at the might of the grey-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion [the Sun] stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad. Hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis!" - Homeric Hymn 29 to Athena
Da, Diva, veniam si te non pecudum fibris, non sanguine fuso, quaero nec arcanis numen coniecto sub extis. Dies admoniet et forti sacrificare deae, quod est illa nata Minerva die. Pallada nunc oremus. Qui bene placavit Pallada, doctus erit. Nec quisquam invita Pallade faciet bene licet antiquo manibus conlatus Epeo sit prior, irata Pallade mancus erit. Vos quoque, Phoeba morbos qui pellitis arte, munera de vestris pauca referte deae. Nec vos, turba fere censu fraudante, magistri, spernite; discipulos attrahit illa novos. Mille dea est operum. Si mereramus, studiis adsit amica nostris. Domina haec domii sodalitatisque patrona, te hoc sacrificio obmovendo precamus uti sies volens propitius nobis domi familiaeque nostris; harumce rerum ergo, macte hoc sacrificio. Sulis Minerva Belisama, Medica, Sollertissima, Pallas, Athena, Propugnatrix, sive quo alio nomine appelari volveris, aegida semper super nos extende. - Prayer to Minerva, N. Moravius Vado
(Grant, Goddess, pardon, if I seek you not with the bodies of slain beasts, nor with blood poured forth, nor divine heaven's will from the secrets of their entrails. This day reminds us to sacrifice to the strong goddess, for today is Minerva's birthday. Let us pray now to Pallas, for whosoever wins Pallas' favour shall be learned. No one, though more cunning in handiwork than old Epeus, can do well; he shall be helpless, if Pallas be displeased with him. You too, who banish sickness by Phoebus' art, bring from your earnings a few gifts to the goddess. Schoolmasters, do not spurn her either, nor cheat her of your earnings: she will bring you new students. She is the goddess of a thousand works. May she be friendly to our pursuits, if we deserve it. Lady, protectress of these households and this fellowship, in making this offering to you we pray that you be propitious toward us and our families; because of these things, be honoured by this sacrifice).
Sacrifices were offered to Minerva, the goddess of war as well as wisdom, arts and crafts, dyeing, science and trade, and patroness of trumpet players. She was also the patroness of scholars and pedagogues, who enjoyed a holiday at this time, with the pupils giving their pedagogues gifts, dedicated to Minerva, at the close of the festival. We see her depicted in art with Iuno and Iuppiter on the Great Arch of Trajan, and she frequently appears on sarcophagi offering a new life beyond the grave. The Roman goddess Minerva probably derived from the Etruscan goddess Menrva, and was later modelled on Greek Pallas Athena. Menrva was the Etruscan version of Athena, and depicted similarly (with helm, spear, and shield). Like Athena, Menrva was born from the head of a god, in her case Tinia, and she is part of a triad with Tinia and Uni. Minerva sprang fully armed from the head of Iuppiter, whose head had been split open with Vulcan's axe.