The Statue of Liberty is known all over the world for many things – her beautiful neoclassical design, her incredible history, and her specific message of hope to all those who come to the United States.
Lesser known, but equally as powerful is the bronze statue of “Minerva: The Altar of Liberty”. Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, stands nobly atop Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn, located in the historic Green-Wood Cemetery. The statue faces Liberty Island within the heart of New York Harbor and Minerva’s left hand is raised, waving back at Lady Liberty’s raised beacon.
The statue of Minerva was created by artist Frederick Ruckstull and commissioned by ink manufacturer Charles Higgins in 1920 in order to commemorate The Battle of Brooklyn, which took place on August, 27 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. It was the first battle to occur after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and was also the largest battle of the entire war. Higgins commissioned the statue in order to raise awareness about this historic battle which took place where the statue is located.
Higgins specifically chose this spot, the location of his family tomb, in order to have these two statues, both of which represent the idea of “liberty”, be seen at the same time waving at one another.
Higgins, unhappy that the Battle of Brooklyn had been given short shrift by historians, purchased lots on Green-Wood’s Battle Hill for his family tomb. But Higgins also had bigger plans–he wanted a suitable monument to the Battle of Brooklyn there. So he purchased the lots in front of his tomb and donated that land for the placement of the Altar of Liberty and a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of battle and protector of civilization.