Rome, Italy - Gallery Il Vittoriano Statue of Minerva; Lexington, MA - Minuteman Monument
The Statue of Minerva, located in the Gallery Il Vittoriano in Rome, Italy, is a tall statue of the Roman goddess Minerva. Dedicated as a monument to fallen soldiers, the statue serves as a reminder of those who have given their lives to defend others. Minerva is the Roman goddess of battle, the arts, and craft. Minerva is also heralded as a protector of soldiers on the battlefield. Those who had family on the battlefield would often pray to Minerva, asking to keep their loved ones safe, and to ensure their victory. This aspect of Minerva is detailed further in the Iliad, written by the epic poet Homer. In Book 6 of the Iliad, Hector, the Prince of Troy, falls back from the battle to ask his mother to pray to the goddess Minerva to protect the Trojan troops: “’Holy Minerva,’ she cried, ‘Protectress of our city, mighty goddess, break the spear of Diomed and lay him low before the Scaean gates.’” (Homer, Book 6). The Trojan women call upon Minerva to stop the Grecian warrior Diomed and to protect the Trojan troops and city. The idea of calling upon one to protect the homeland from an invading force is not limited to the ancient Romans. Civilizations spanning the globe and across time have built monuments memorializing the soldiers who have given their lives in battle.
The Memorial to the Lexington Minuteman located on Lexington Battle Green in Lexington, MA, United States, also is dedicated to fallen soldiers. The Minutemen were civilians tasked with defending the newborn America from the British. These citizens were not officially trained and instead were citizens whom coalesced together to form a militia for the colonies. Much like the Statue of Minerva at Il Vittoriano, the Minuteman Monument at Lexington is dedicated to those colonists that sacrificed their lives in order to defend their home and families. And like Minerva, the Minutemen and other militia members were seen as the protectors of an infant America and were praised and honored after death. The fact that these two statues, separated by thousands of miles and hundreds of years, were created to serve the same purpose proves that soldiers will never be forgotten. Those who fall protecting their homeland from invaders have been memorialized since ancient times and will continue to be remembered.
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