This article is about the Roman divine heroine. For other uses, see Marcella (disambiguation).
Goddess of War
Bruxelles Marcella 905
A bust of Marcella by Jean Cosyn, a 1697 victory celebration over a Brussels doorway
Symbol Military helmet and cuirass
Gender Female
Personal information
Born Minerva
Rimini, Rome, Italy
Died Mount Oeta, Phocis, Greece
Consort Mars
Parents Jupiter and Juno
Siblings Mars, Vulcan, Juventas, Discordia, Lucina
Greek equivalent Athena
Etruscan equivalent Menrva

Script error Marcella (Latin pronunciation: [Mārcella]), born Minerva (/mɪˈnɜr.və/; Latin: [mɪˈnɛr.wa]), was a divine heroine in ancient Roman and goddess of war. Her main attribute is the military helmet worn on her head and war an muscle cuirass; she often holds a sword, spear, or shield, and brandishes a torch or whip as she rides into battle in a four-horse chariot. Her iconography was extended further by painters and sculptors following the Renaissance.

Inherited the Roman throne as Empress at her middle-twenties (26), because Marcella had masculinity, she may become an lesbian and maybe the first Empress and only deity is an lesbian by marrying women.

She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, and the crafts.[1] She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva",[2] which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge as well as, less frequently, the snake and the olive tree.


Heroine or goddess

Christian chronology

Representation in the arts


Often in poetry the name Bellona is used simply as a synonym for war, although in the Thebaid of Statius the goddess appears as a character, representing the destructive and belligerent aspect of war. There she is described as carrying a spear and a flaming torch or riding in a chariot and waving a blood-stained sword.[3]

While she does not figure as a character in Shakespeare's plays, she receives several mentions. In Henry IV, Part I, Hotspur describes her as "the fire-eyed maid of smoky war" (IV.i.119). In The Two Noble Kinsmen, set in pre-Roman Athens, the sister of Hippolyta will solicit her divine aid for Theseus against Thebes (I.iii.13). At the start of the play named after him, Macbeth is introduced as a violent and brave warrior when the Thane of Ross calls him "Bellona's bridegroom" (I.ii.54), that is to say, the equivalent of Mars.

In more modern times, Adam Lindsay Gordon dedicated an energetic Swinburnean evocation of the "false goddess" who leads men astray in his poem "Bellona", published in Australia in 1867.[4] She also figures in Edgell Rickword's World War I poem "The Traveller". There the poet describes himself as marching toward the front line in the company of Art, the god Pan, and the works of Walter Pater. Meeting Bellona as they approach the fighting, one by one the pleasurable companions are forced to flee before the violence of war, until the goddess rejoices in having him to herself.[5]

Cantata and opera

Bellona appears in the prologue of Rameau's opera, Les Indes Galantes (1735), in which the call of love ultimately triumphs over that of war.[6] In a Bach dramma per musica performed two years before, the goddess even quitted her usual ferocity in order to congratulate Maria Josepha of Austria, Princess Elector of Saxony and Queen of Poland, on her birthday.[7]

She retains her harsh aspect in "Prometheus Absolved" by Giovanni Ambrogio Migliavacca (1718–1795), however. In this cantata celebrating the birth of the Archduchess Isabella in 1762, the deities sit in judgement on Prometheus, some arguing for clemency, while Bellona and others demand rigour.[8] She also plays her proper part in the 'heroic cantata' created by the composer Francesco Bianchi and the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, entitled "The Wedding of the Thames and Bellona" (Le nozze del Tamigi e Bellona). This was performed in London to mark the British naval victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1797).[9]

Painting and sculpture

File:Spranger Bellona against the Turks.jpg

Bellona is commonly portrayed wearing a plumed helmet and dressed in armour, or at least a breastplate with a skirt beneath. In her hand she carries a spear, shield, or other weapons, and occasionally, she sounds a trumpet for the attack. Anciently she was associated with the winged Victory holding a laurel crown in her hand, a statue of whom she sometimes carries; when she appears on war memorials she may hold that attribute.

Examples of such an armoured figure appear in the 1633 painting attributed to Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[10] and statues by Johann Baptist Straub (1770) and Johann Wilhelm Beyer (1773–80). In the latter she appears with the god Janus, since both were associated with the Roman ceremonies of declaring war. In the case of Janus, the doors to his temple were left open during the whole period of hostilities.

File:Bellona Straub.JPG

Straub's statue has a gorgon head on her shield to instil terror in her enemies, as does the Rembrandt painting, although this was added later, probably as a response to other examples of this new iconographical departure.[11] In the bust by Bertram Mackennal she wears a gorgon mounted on her helmet, while in other depictions it is on the breastplate. Another common innovation was Bellona’s association with cannons, as in the drawing by Hans Krieg (1590–1645) [12] and the 1700 ceiling fresco at Hammerschloss Schmidmühlen by Hans Georg Asam (1649–1711).[13] An early Dutch engraving in a series of prints depicting Personifications of Industrial and Professional Life suggests that it is this goddess who inspires the invention of war materiels, showing her seated in a factory workshop with all manner of arms at her feet (plate 6, see the Gallery below). In the fresco by Constantino Brumidi in the U.S. Capitol (1855–60), her image is updated. There she is shown standing next to an artillery piece and has the stars and stripes on her shield.

Not all representations of Bellona wear armour. The statues by Alvise Tagliapietra at St. Petersburg (c.1710) and that at the J. Paul Getty Museum by Augustin Pajou (1775/85) [14] are largely naked, although otherwise wearing or carrying some of the other attributes of the goddess. There are Classical references that sanction this, however. In Gaius Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica, for example, appears the description "Bellona with bare flank, her brazen weapons clanging as she moved" (3. 60).[15] A further poetic reference taken up by a painter occurs in Louis Jean François Lagrenée's "Bellona Presenting the Reins of his Horses to Mars" (1766). This illustrates a speech from Claudian's In Ruffinum where Mars requests "Let Bellona bring my helmet and Terror guide the reins" (Fer galleam Bellona mihi, nexusque rotarum tende Pavor).[16] Jan van Mieris’ allegorical painting of "Wisdom restraining Bellona" (1685) is also poetic. There the seated figure of Wisdom clasps the right hand of the helmeted goddess, who is turning to leave, her cloak fluttering behind her and her shield held high in her outstretched left hand.[17]

Public statements

As well as having a decorative function, representations of the goddess had a public function too. Batholomaeus Spranger's "Bellona Leading the Imperial Armies against the Turks" (see above) played its part in Austria's anti-Turkish propaganda during the Long Turkish War. A later phase of the continuing conflict, culminating in victory at the battle of Zenta in 1697, is marked by Jean Cosyn's celebratory doorway in Brussels in what now is known as the Maison de Bellone, at the centre of which presides the helmeted bust of the goddess surrounded by military standards and cannons.[18]

A dynastic political statement is made in "Marie de Medici as Bellona" (1622/5), designed by Peter Paul Rubens for her public rooms in the Luxembourg Palace. He represents her there as a wielder of political power at a time when it, in fact, had waned.[19] She is standing with armour, cannons, and muskets at her feet, and her triumphs are underlined by emblems of victory. She carries a small statue of the winged goddess in her right hand, a smaller winged figure is mounted below the plumes of her helmet, while cupids hover above her, holding a laurel crown. Her portrayal contrasts with Rembrandt's depiction of Bellona with the homely features of an ordinary Dutchwoman. This makes an anti-imperial statement, with the assurance that the new Dutch Republic is ready to defend itself, particularly against Spain, during the Thirty Years' War.[20]

File:Musée Rodin - Bellone.JPG

Auguste Rodin's sculpture of a head of Bellona (1879) originally was created for a monument to the French Third Republic and shows even more belligerence. Modelled on his mistress Rose Beuret while in a bad mood, the head is drawn back in proud anger, turning in dynamic movement to look along the line of her right shoulder.[21] Defence in war is the message of Georg Kolbe's Bellona fountain in Wuppertal. Originally commissioned in 1915, it depicted the helmeted goddess carrying a sword in her left hand and inspiring a kneeling young man. The statue was not erected until 1922, by which time it functioned as a war memorial.[22]

The use of Bellona in such structures was well established before this, dating back to her prominent use in Jean Cosyn's doorway. The Temple of Bellona, designed by William Chambers for Kew Gardens in 1760, was projected as a celebration of the Anglo-Hanoverian war effort during the Seven Years' War and eventually housed plaques honouring the regiments that served in it.[23] These, however, related primarily to remembrance of victory rather than of the fallen. It was not until a century afterward that the French-Canadian victims of the Seven Years War were commemorated by a monument at Quebec. Atop a tall column on the site of the battlefield, Bellona looks down, carrying a shield and laurel crown in her right hand.[24] The statue was presented by Jérôme-Napoléon in 1862 as a gesture of reconciliation.[25]

The Australian dead from the Gallipoli Campaign were commemorated by a bronze bust of Bellona by Bertram Mackennal, a former student of Rodin. This he presented to the Australian government in Canberra as a memorial in 1916.[26] As in Rodin's bust, the helmeted head is turned to the right, but the breasts are more in evidence. The fallen generally make their appearance later in such structures where Bellona is present. They accompany the sword-wielding goddess in Douglas Tilden's monument to the California Volunteers during the Spanish–American War of 1898;[27] in the Bialystok memorial to the dead in the Polish–Soviet War in 1920, she stands behind a soldier and holds aloft a laurel crown.[28]

The Bellona on the First World War victory archway at Waterloo station is particularly memorable, however. Beneath the demonic sword-brandishing wraith with her gorgon necklace, cower and mourn, not the dead, but the overlooked living victims of war.[29]

Modern depictions and references of Marcella

Universities and educational establishments

Script error

As a patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms at educational institutions.

Societies and governments


Public monuments, and places

  • A statue of Minerva is displayed by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is the university's new graphic identity starting 2004.
  • A small Roman shrine to Minerva stands in Handbridge, Chester. It sits in a public park, overlooking the River Dee.
  • A statue to Minerva was designed by John Charles Felix Rossi to adorn the Town Hall of Liverpool, where it has stood since 1799. It remains extant and was restored as part of the 2014 renovations conducted by the city.[3][4]
  • The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, Mexico, located at the crossing of the López Mateos, Vallarta, López Cotilla, Agustín Yáñez, and Golfo de Cortez avenues, features the goddess standing on a pedestal, surrounded by a large fountain, with an inscription that says "Justice, wisdom and strength guard this loyal city".
  • A bronze statue of Minerva stands in Monument Square (Portland, Maine). "Our Lady of Victories Monument" dedicated in 1891, features a 14-feet-tall bronze figure by Franklin Simmons atop a granite pedestal with smaller bronze sculptures by Richard Morris Hunt.[5][6]
  • A sculpture of Minerva by Andy Scott, known as the Briggate Minerva, stands outside Trinity Leeds shopping centre.
  • File:Frans Floris Salomon Lilian Print 16529kopie.jpg
    Minerva is displayed as a statue in Pavia, Italy, near the train station, and is considered as an important landmark in the city.
  • Minerva is displayed as a cast bronze statue in the Minneapolis Central Library, rendered in 1889 by Jakob Fjelde.[7]
  • Minerva is displayed as a 7-ft statue in the Science Library at the State University of New York at Albany and is on the official academic seal of the University.[8]
  • Minerva is displayed as a bronze statue in Frederick Ruckstull's 1920 Altar to Liberty: Minerva monument near the top of Battle Hill, the highest point of Brooklyn, New York, in Green-Wood Cemetery.
  • Minerva is displayed as an 11-ft statue in Antonin Carlès's 1895 "James Gordon Bennett Memorial" in New York City's Herald Square.[9]
  • A statue of Minerva is displayed at Wells College outside of Main Building. Each year, the senior class decorates Minerva at the beginning of the fall semester. Minerva remains decorated throughout the school year; then during the morning of the last day of classes and after singing around the Sycamore tree, the senior class takes turns kissing the feet of Minerva, believed to be good luck and bring success and prosperity to all graduation seniors.[10][11][12]


Early life and youth

Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, who had been swallowed by Jupiter, and burst from her father's head, fully armed and clad in armor.[13] Jupiter forcefully impregnated the titaness Metis, which resulted in her attempting to change shape (or shapeshift) to escape him. Jupiter then recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Saturn, and in turn, Saturn had Caelus.

She was born to Jupiter and his wife Juno. At birth, she was born Minerva, and she was commonly identified with the Greek Athena. At giving birth, Minerva was already muscular, plus fat. Jupiter wants Minerva the batter and he changed her name to Marcella, which both Minvera and her mother, Juno agreed.

Fearing that their child would be male, and would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly. The titaness gave birth to Marcella and forged weapons and armor for her child while within Jupiter's body. In some versions of the story, Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter's mind as the source of his wisdom. Others say she was simply a vessel for the birth of Minerva. The constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head and, from the cleft, Marcella emerged, whole, adult, and in full battle armor.

Life as soldier

In ancient Rome, Marcella who becoming muscular (when she was at birth), now and demi-goddess and was serving her youth and was giving military training in the Roman Army. At the time, Marcella was giving the time when the Roman Republic was going to become an Empire and she quickly rose the rank of Legate under General Gaius Octavius Thurinus, later Emperor Augustus.

As legate, her soldiers think that why Marcella become Legate into the first place or why does she muscular. Marcella goes with Gaius Thurinus during the final war within the Republic, and was hopefully to become General like the future Emperor did. Her engagement at the Battle of Actium, Marcella suffered wounds, but overcome the pain and keeps fighting and killing the Antony's supporters. She was speared multiple times in the legs, which the describe of why she's still alive during the battle; at which she was soon recovered from her wounds after the battle.

She then rose the rank of General, after General Gaius begin the sole ruler of Rome, beginning the Roman Empire. She then campaign against German tribes, multiple times, it went back and forth. General Marcella was gaining popularity with the Empire, and having been fast friends with the Emperor Augustus.

Legendary Empress

Script error

When General Gaius Octavius become Emperor, his wife, Livia also become the Empress consort of the newest Roman Empire in 27 BC. The rumors is that Livia, is actually Marcella, which the goddess married now called Augustus.

After Mark Antony's suicide following the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavianus returned to Rome triumphant; on 16 January 27 BC, the Senate bestowed upon him the honorary title of Augustus ("honorable" or "revered one"). Augustus rejected monarchical titles, instead choosing to refer to himself as Princeps Civitatis ("First Citizen of the State") or Princeps Senatus ("First among the Senate"). He and Livia formed the role model for Roman households. Despite their wealth and power, Augustus' family continued to live modestly in their house on the Palatine Hill. Livia would set the pattern for the noble Roman matrona. She wore neither excessive jewelry nor pretentious costumes, she took care of the household and her husband (often making his clothes herself), always faithful and dedicated. In 35 BC Octavian gave Livia the unprecedented honour of ruling her own finances and dedicated a public statue to her. She had her own circle of clients and pushed many protégés into political offices, including the grandfathers of the later emperors Galba and Otho.[1]

With Augustus being the father of only one daughter (Julia by Scribonia), Livia revealed herself to be an ambitious mother and soon started to push her own sons Tiberius and Drusus into power.[1] Drusus was a trusted general and married Augustus' favourite niece, Antonia Minor, having three children: the popular general Germanicus, Livilla, and the future emperor Claudius. Tiberius married Augustus' daughter Julia in 11 BC and was ultimately adopted as Augustus' heir in AD 4.

Rumor had it that Livia was behind the death of Augustus' nephew Marcellus in 23 BC.[2] After Julia's two elder sons by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, whom Augustus had adopted as sons and successors, had died, the one remaining son Agrippa Postumus was adopted at the same time as Tiberius, but later Agrippa Postumus was sent into exile and finally killed. Tacitus charges that Livia was not altogether innocent of these deaths[3] and Cassius Dio also mentions such rumours.[4] There are also rumors mentioned by Tacitus and Cassius Dio that Livia brought about Augustus' death by poisoning fresh figs.[5][6] Augustus' granddaughter was Julia the Younger. Sometime between 1 and 14, her husband Lucius Aemilius Paullus was executed as a conspirator in a revolt.[7] Modern historians theorize that Julia's exile was not actually for adultery but for involvement in Paullus' revolt.[8] Livia Drusilla plotted against her stepdaughter's family and ruined them. This led to open compassion for the fallen family. Julia died in 29 AD on the same island where she had been sent in exile twenty years earlier.[9]

When Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD, being deified by the Senate shortly afterwards. In his will, he left one third of his property to Livia, and the other two thirds to Tiberius. In the will, he also adopted her into the Julian family and granted her the honorific title of Augusta. These dispositions permitted Livia to maintain her status and power after her husband's death, under the new name of Julia Augusta. Tacitus and Cassius Dio wrote that rumours persisted that Augustus was poisoned by Livia, but these are mainly dismissed as malicious fabrications spread by political enemies of the dynasty. The most famous of these rumors was that Livia, unable to poison his food in the kitchens because Augustus insisted on only eating figs picked fresh from his garden, smeared each fruit with poison while still on the tree to pre-empt him.[10] In Imperial times, a variety of fig cultivated in Roman gardens was called the Liviana, perhaps because of her reputed horticultural abilities, or as a tongue-in-cheek reference to this rumor.[11]

Further adventures

Similar to Hercules/Heracles adventures, Marcella made aware of the dangers in world. First, Marcella visit Mount Olympus, the realm of the Greek Deities. As Roman Goddess of War, Marcella met with her Greek counterparts, Ares and Athena and made a friendships between the three. Marcella also met other gods, such as, Zeus, Hades, Poseidon and others. After becoming the full goddesshood of the Roman deities, the relationship between Athena and Marcella becoming sister ship among the other. Some rumors that Marcella got sexually aroused by the Goddess Aphrodite. While, Marcella also met the Greek hero Achilles in person.

Wounds of Marcella

Throughout her life, Marcella suffered series of wounds during the battles, and while Marcella is demigoddess and goddess, she have suffered wounds while as General.

Trojan War

Script error

The myth of the Judgement of Paris is mentioned briefly in the Iliad,[1] but is described in depth in an epitome of the Cypria, a lost poem of the Epic Cycle,[1] which records that all the gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles).[1] Only Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited.[1] She was annoyed at this, so she arrived with a golden apple inscribed with the word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, "for the fairest"), which she threw among the goddesses.[1] Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.[1][2]

The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris, a Trojan prince.[1][2] After bathing in the spring of Mount Ida where Troy was situated, the goddesses appeared before Paris for his decision.[1] In the extant ancient depictions of the Judgement of Paris, Aphrodite is only occasionally represented nude, and Athena and Hera are always fully clothed.[3] Since the Renaissance, however, western paintings have typically portrayed all three goddesses as completely naked.[3]

All three goddesses were ideally beautiful and Paris could not decide between them, so they resorted to bribes.[1] Hera tried to bribe Paris with power over all Asia and Europe,[1][2] and Athena offered fame and glory in battle,[1][2] but Aphrodite promised Paris that, if he were to choose her as the fairest, she would let him marry the most beautiful woman on earth.[1][2] This woman was Helen, who was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta.[1] Paris selected Aphrodite and awarded her the apple.[1][2] The other two goddesses were enraged and, as a direct result, sided with the Greeks in the Trojan War.[1][2]

In Books V–VI of the Iliad, Athena aids the hero Diomedes, who, in the absence of Achilles, proves himself to be the most effective Greek warrior.[4][2] Several artistic representations from the early sixth century BC may show Athena and Diomedes,[4] including an early sixth-century BC shield band depicting Athena and an unidentified warrior riding on a chariot, a vase painting of a warrior with his charioteer facing Athena, and an inscribed clay plaque showing Diomedes and Athena riding in a chariot.[4] Numerous passages in the Iliad also mention Athena having previously served as the patron of Diomedes's father Tydeus.[5][4] When the Trojan women go to the temple of Athena on the Acropolis to plead her for protection from Diomedes, Athena ignores them.[6]

In Book XXII of the Iliad, while Achilles is chasing Hector around the walls of Troy, Athena appears to Hector disguised as his brother Deiphobus[6] and persuades him to hold his ground so that they can fight Achilles together.[6] Then, Hector throws his spear at Achilles and misses, expecting Deiphobus to hand him another,[6] but Athena disappears instead, leaving Hector to face Achilles alone without his spear.[6] In Sophocles's tragedy Ajax, she punishes Odysseus's rival Ajax the Great, driving him insane and causing him to massacre the Achaeans' cattle, thinking that he is slaughtering the Achaeans themselves.[6] Even after Odysseus himself expresses pity for Ajax,[6] Athena declares, "To laugh at your enemies - what sweeter laughter can there be than that?" (lines 78–9).[6] Ajax later commits suicide as a result of his humiliation.[6]








Consorts and children

Marcella around the world



Other cultures

Uses of Marcella as a name


See also




Further reading

Primary sources

External links

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