This is the beginning of the species-god, and implies a step of thought comparable to the production in language of general terms. These protecting spirits were free beings, having form and shape, but not individualized; while above them rose the higher deities like the forest-god Tapio and his maiden Hillervo, protectress of herds, or Ahto the water-god who gradually took the place of Vesi, the actual element originally conceived as itself divine, and ruled over the spirits of lakes and rivers, wells and springs.
Through the mediation of Falerii, a Latin town on the Etruscan border, was due the introduction of Minerva, who, as the goddess of handicraft and protectress of the artisan gilds, was established in a temple on the Aventine.
In Homer Athena already appears as the goddess of counsel, of war, of female arts and industries, and the protectress of Greek cities, this last aspect of her character being the most important and pronounced.
Artemis is the goddess of chastity, an aspect of her character which gradually assumed more and more importance - the protectress of young men and maidens, who defies and contemns the power of Aphrodite.
Another aspect of her character is that of a warlike goddess, armed with spear or bow, sometimes wearing a mural crown, as sovereign lady and protectress of the locality where she was worshipped.
She is the patroness and protectress of those heroes who are distinguished for their prudence and caution, and in the Trojan War she sides with the more civilized Greeks.
She became the great protectress of the Jansenists; it was in her house that Arnauld, Nicole and De Lane were protected; and to her influence must be in great part attributed the release of Lemaistre De Sacy from the Bastille, the introduction of Pomponne into the ministry and of Arnauld to the king.