The Greek goddess of to know and the art was known as Minerva , while the equivalent deity among the Romans was called Athena . In the Greek city of Athens at temple built to pay tribute to this goddess it was called Athenaeum .
From this origin, the concept of athenaeum began to be used to name the groups dedicated to research and artistic or scientific dissemination , and at establishment in which the people dedicated to these tasks met.
An athenaeum, therefore, is currently a entity which groups individuals interested in some branch of the culture or knowledge These entities may, over time, seek greater formality and become clubs , civil associations , etc.
For example: "Tomorrow there will be a talk about the history of Egypt at the Athenaeum of St. John", “For three months I have been learning cryptography in the athenaeum”, “My grandfather, a newcomer from Spain, met with his countrymen in an athenaeum to discuss politics”.
The rise of the athenaeums as cultural centers took place in the XIX century . In countries like Spain , the upper classes formed their athenaeums with the intention of maintaining the status quo, while the lower classes developed athenaems with other ideological orientations with the aim of promoting revolution .
Athenaeums are usually directed by their own members through assemblies . In some cases, there are teams of directors who are chosen by the rest of the members and who are responsible for deciding the measures to be taken.
Finally, we can mention that The Grand Splendid Athenaeum , popularly known as The Athenaeum , is a famous bookstore of the Buenos aires city which is in the building that belonged to an ancient theater.