The religion of the Romans had undergone several evolutionary changes throughout the history of Rome. One of the greatness of Rome was their ability to change, adapt or absorb foreign ideas, customs and practices.

The early Romans see their deities performing certain functions. They were deities with specialised functions. The god would perform his task if his name were invoked.

These gods were seen as objects that perform a task, such as a door. Or the god was a force of nature, that cause sky to the rain, involve in change of season, etc.

Unlike other religions, the early Roman deities had no myths. The early Romans did not feel the needs to humanise their deities with human action or personality. They did not feel the needs to have the gods and goddesses married to one another, or have offspring. Such concepts were not accepted in the early part of Roman history.

Most of the early Roman deities had agricultural and pastoral natures, especially deities of fertility. All the common deities we know of today were formerly gods of the field, agriculture, and fertility, such as Mars, Venus and Saturn.

It wasn't until the Romans came into the contact with the Etruscans in Etruria (Tuscany) and the Greeks living in the Campania, that the early Roman deities underwent changes. They were particularly influenced by the tales in the Greek myths. The Roman deities became increasing humans, where they can suffer from lust, anger and sorrow.

The earliest Roman deities were either invented by themselves, or their origin comes from Latin or Sabine pantheon. The Roman had also adopted many Etruscan deities into their pantheon.

The three most powerful and important gods were the triad of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus. During the period of the Etruscan kings, a great temple was built on the Capitoline Hill, honouring a triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Vesta and Janus were also important early deities, enjoying worship at first in the private shrine in each Roman house, later to a more formalised State religion. There was no Roman equivalent to the Greek Apollo. Apollo was a direct import from Greece, and enjoyed popular status in Rome. The Roman name for the Olympians, the twelve great gods of Olympus, was Dii or Di.

By the time of the 1st century BC, it was difficult to identify the original nature of the Roman deities. They adopted attributes of the Greek deities and incorporated Greek myths into their own myths.

The Romans had adopted many non-Greek deities into their pantheon. Among the notable deities were the Phrygian Cybele, the Egyptian goddess Isis, the Celtic horse goddess Epona, and the Persian god Mithras. (See Gallic Deities and British Deities about Romano-Celtic deities in Celtic myths.)

Besides adopting deities of other foreign cultures, Roman writers had assign Roman names to various Celtic gods in Gaul (France) and Britain. The popular Roman names used in this context were Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, Apollo, Minerva and Herccules. (See Gallic Deities and British Deities about Romano-Celtic deities in Celtic myths.)

Please note that I will not write articles on all the Roman gods that have Greek equivalents, unless there are notable differences between the Greeks and Romans. If the information of the Roman deity was completely the same as Greek one, then it would be best to provide link to the Greek equivalent. See Greek Equivalents.


  Roman Deities
  Household Guardians
  Greek Equivalents

Facts and Figures:
      All Things Roman
      Astronomy


Related Sites:

        Etruscan Deities
        Olympians
        Titans
        Mother Goddesses
        Minor Greek Deities
        Gallic Deities
        British Deities






Roman Deities

 
Jupiter     
Mars
Quirinus
Juno     
Minerva
Mercury
Janus
Vesta, see Household Guardians
Apollo, see Olympians, Apollo
Diana     
Venus
Cupid (Amor)
Vulcan
Neptune     
Pluto (Dis)
Tellus (Terra Mater)
Uranus, see Ancient Deities
Saturn
Ops
Consus
Ceres
Proserpina
Liber
Bellona
Picus
Faunus     
Bona Dea (Fauna)
Silvanus
Flora
Pales
Vertumnus and Pomona
Sol, see Helius
Luna, see Selene
Aurora, see Eos
Fornax
Egeria
Salus
Somnus
Oneiroi
Fortuna
Felicitas
Pax
Juturna
Fontus
Personification
Epona, see Gallic Deities


Genealogy: Roman Pantheon



Jupiter
 

Jupiter was the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. Jupiter formed one of the triad of gods, with Mars and Quirinus.

Jupiter was also called Jupitter, Jove, Iovis and Diespiter. Like his Greek counterpart, Zeus, Jupiter was the sky god, assoicate with cloud, rain and storm. His weapon was the thunderbolt. The Etruscan equated Jupiter with Tin, Tinia or Tinis.

Jupiter adopted many of the attributes, personality and myths of the Greek Zeus. Jupiter was the son of Saturn (Cronus) and Ops (Rhea). His consort and wife was Juno (Hera). In Rome, he shared his temple at Capitol with Juno and Minerva (Athena).

Like Zeus, his favourite bird was the eagle and the oak tree was sacred to him. The festival was held on August 19, same day as Venus. Other days sacred to Jupiter was the Ides of each month, which was held on 15th on March, May, July and October. The other months held the Ides of Jupiter on the 13th. The Latin equivalent of Thurday was called dies Iovis (Jove's Day).

In astronomy, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and the 5th planet from the sun. The planet is classified as a gas giant.

 
Related Information
Name
Jupiter, Iuppiter, Jove, Iovis, Diespiter.

Zeus (Greek).
Tin, Tinia, Tinis (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Zeus and Tin.

Juno, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Diana, Saturn, Quirinus.

Hera, Ares, Athena, Artemis. Thor, Taranis.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Jupiter
(information unavailable)



Mars
 

The Roman god of war. Next to Jupiter, Mars was the second most powerful god, and formed part of the triad of gods with Jupiter and Quirinus.

Originally, Mars was the god of agriculture. The Romans and other Italian people believed that Mars protected their crops and their animals from diseases. Mars has been associated with two agricultural festivals in March and October. His festival, called Armilustrium, was held on October 19. Here, the Roman normally finish their campaign for the year, because of winter season was approaching. The ceremony required the purification of the arms. His main temple was Campus Martius, which was the exercising ground for the army.

As the god of war, Mars was also called Gradivus and Quirinus. The Romans saw Mars Gradivus presiding over the beginning of the war, while Mars Quirinus over its end. However, the Romans had earlier, distinguished Quirinus as a separate god from Mars.

His priests known as Salii were first appointed during the reign of Numa. They served as guardians of the Ancile, a shield sacred to Mars.

Though, he adopted many of the warlike attributes of Ares, Mars was seen as supreme warrior god and was widely respected by the legionaries, compared to the hated Greek counterpart.

In Roman myth, Mars was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera). Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus, after he slept with Rea Silvia, daughter of Numitor, the king of Alba Longus. Romulus was the founder of Rome.

Mars rode in the chariot with Bellona (Enyo), goddess of war, and Discordia (Eris), goddess of strife, as his companions. His retinue included Metus ("fear"), Demios ("dread"), Phobus ("alarm" or "panic") and Pallor ("terror").

His favourite animals were the woodpecker Picus and the wolf. The month of March was named after him, as was the Roman version of Tuesday, which is called dies Martis (Mars' Day) in Latin. The Equiria was held in honour of Mars, by holding chariot races, on February 27 and March 14.

In astronomy, Mars is the 4th planet in our solar system. The planet is smaller than Earth, and the thin atmosphere is mainly of carbon dioxide, give the planet it reddish colour. Mars has two satellites or moons, called Deimus (Fear) and Phobos (Panic), which are actually named after his sons by Aphrodite, in Greek mythology.

 
Related Information
Name
Mars, Mavors, Mamers (Roman).
Gradivus.

Ares (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Ares.

Jupiter, Juno, Quirinus, Venus, Bellona, Romulus, Rea Silvia.

Romulus and Remus.

Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Eris, Enyo. Tyr.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Mars
Diego da Silva Velázquez
Oil on canvas
Museo del Prado, Madrid



Quirinus
 

Quirinus was the third Roman deity in importance or ranking, behind Jupiter and Mars. The three gods formed into a triad of warrior deities. Quirinus' attributes and origin seemed obscure.

Quirinus was possibly a deification of the first Roman king, Romulus. Or he may have been originally tutelary god of the Sabines, living on Quirinal Hill in Rome, before the Romans adopted him.

According to the poet Ovid, Romulus and his wife, Hersilie, became immortal and lived as the god Quirinus and the goddess Hora.

Quirinus was probably a god of war or defence, since he was seen military clothing as well in clerical clothing. Quirinus was sometimes identified or confused with Mars, as Mars Quirinus.

The myrtle trees were sacred to him. His festival, the Quirinalia, was held on February 17, which was the same day that of Fornax, goddess of bread making.

 
Related Information
Name
Quirinus, Romulus.

Related Articles
Romulus, Mars, Jupiter.



Juno
 

The Roman goddess of woman and marriage. Juno was consort and wife of Jupiter (Zeus). She closely resembled with Hera, her Greek counterpart, and the Etriscan goddess Uni.

Juno shared the temple at Capitol with Jupiter and Minerva (Athena). The month of June was named after her. Her festival was celebrated on March 1, called Matronalia, and another called Nonae Caprotinae on July 7.

In the Aeneid, Juno retained her hatred for the Trojans. She continuously persecuted Aeneas and the Trojans when they landed Italy. Juno sparked the war between Aeneas and Turnus.

 
Related Information
Name
Juno (Roman).
Hera (Greek).
Uni (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Hera and Uni.

Jupiter, Mars.

Zeus, Ares.

Trojan War, Aeneid.


Juno
Gustave Moreau
Musée Gustave Moreau, Paris



Minerva
 

Minerva was probably a goddess of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the goddess of art and crafts. It was only when Minerva was equated with Greek goddess Athena that she became the goddess of war and victory. An Etruscan equivalent to Minerva is Menrva.

As Minerva Medica was the tutelary goddess of Rome. She was one of the deities in a triad that was worshipped along Jupiter and Juno on the Capitol Hill. Minerva also had a temple in the Aventine Hill, where she was the goddess of guild and patroness of merchants and craftsmen.

In the Roman calendar, the Romans celebrated her festivals Quinquatria celebrated on March 19 and Minervalia on June 13.

 
Related Information
Name
Minerva (Roman).
Athena, Athene (Greek).
Menrva (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Athena and Menrva.

Jupiter.

Zeus, Hera.


Minerva
Statue, 2nd Century BC
Rome



Mercury
 

Mercury was originally the god of commerce and trade, and the patron god of merchants. His worship was first established on the Aventine Hill in 495 BC. The festival was held in May 15, along with his mother Maia. The month of May was named after his mother.

Mercury was later identified with the Greek god Hermes. Mercury inherited Hermes' attributes as the messenger god, as well as god of flocks and thieves, and the Underworld guide of the dead. Mercury was probably also influenced by the Etruscan god Turms.

The Romans had identified the German god Woden (Odin), and the Celtic Lugus (Lugh), Cernunnos, Esus and possibly Teutates, with Mercury.

On Roman calendar, Wednesday was a sacred day for Mercury and it was called dies Mercurii (Mercury's Day) in Latin. It was later changed to Wednesday (Wodan's day), after Mercury's Germanic counterpart, Wodan.

In astronomy, Mercury is the cloest planet to the Sun and the second smallest planet in our solar system. It takes only 88 days for Mercury to complete its circular orbit around the sun. Mercury has no satellite.

 
Related Information
Name
Mercury, Mercurius.

Hermes (Greek).
Turms (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Hermes and Turms.

Jupiter, Maia.

Zeus, Odin, Lugh.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Mercury
Giambolgna
Bronze statue, 1564-80
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Bargello



Janus
 

Roman god of passage, gates and doorway. Janus was also the god of agriculture, particularly of when the time for sowing. Janus was one of the earliest deities worshipped at the time of Romulus.

Janus was depicted as a god with two faces, facing the opposite direction. It was said that one face was looking into the past, while the other face looked into the future, so Janus was also the god of time, if not of prophecy.

Janus was also depicted carrying a key in his right hand and a staff on his left.

Though there was no Greek counterpart of Janus, he was probably linked with Ani, the Etruscan sky-god, who also had two faces.

In the Aeneid, there were special gates in a temple of Janus, within the city of Laurentum. If the gates were opened, then it would signify war. Latinus, the king of the Latins, refused to open the gate and be dragged into a needless war against Aeneas and the Trojans. It was Juno who threw open the gates.

In Rome, the sacred gates of war was called Ianus geminus, stood in the Forum. It was left open during the time of war. These doors were closed only during the time of Numa Pompilius and Augustus.

In later myth, Janus was said to be the son of Apollo and Creusa, who was born in Thessaly. Janus migrated to Italy, where he found the city of Janiculum on the Tiber. Janus was an ancient king of Italy and married a woman named Jana. Janus was the father of several children other than his wife. Janus was the father of Tiberinus by Camasena, of Fontus by Juturna, and of Canens by Venilia.

The month of January was named after him, and his festival, called Agonium, was celebrated on January 9.

 
Related Information
Name
Janus, Ianus.

Ani (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Ani.

Apollo, Juturna, Fontus, Romulus, Aeneas, Juno.

Aeneid.


Janus
Illustration from the Dr Smith's Classic Dictionary, 1895



Diana
 

The Roman goddess of the hunt and wild animal. Her Greek counterpart was Artemis. Originally Diana was not a goddess of the moon, until she had absorbed Artemis' attributes. In fact, Diana and Artemis were indistinguishable, since she had completely identical attributes to Artemis. Diana/Artemis was widely recognised in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Diana was originally a Latin goddess, worshipped in Aricia (Ariccia), Latium. It was probably the Roman king, Servius Tullius (fl. 6th century BC), who brought Diana to Rome, and built her first temple in at Aventine Hill. Her festival was celebrated on August 13.

Like Artemis, Diana was seen as the virgin huntress with a bow and arrows, either hunting through the woods or bathing in the lake, with her followers.

Diana was the daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Latona (Leto), and sister of Apollo. Apollo, however, had no Roman counterpart, so Apollo was adopted into the Roman pantheon.

In the Aeneid, when Aeneas visited the Sibyl in Cumae, there is a temple sacred to both Apollo and Diana. This was situated Diana's Wood, outside of Cumae. In this wood is where the Golden Bough grows on a holm-oak tree. This Golden Bough was talisman of passage to the Underwood. Entry to the Underwood was situated in cave, which was protected by a lake of black water and dark forest. Diana, like Artemis, was frequently identified with the goddess Hecate or Trivia (Roman name).


The Roman identified Diana with Arduinna, who was the Gallic goddess of the forest and hunting, as well with Asiatic Astarte.

Diana reappeared in medieval legend, particularly in the Arthurian legend. In the French Vulgate Cycle and the Post Vulgate Cycle, the Lake of Diana, within the confines of forest of Broceliande, in Brittany, was where the Lady of Lake (Ninianne) ensnare Merlin with her spell.

According to this legend, Diana was the lover of Faunus, whom she killed. Merlin would meet the same fate that of Faunus, being entombed in stone by the magic of Ninianne. (See Death of Merlin in the Legend of Excalibur.)

 
Related Information
Name
Diana.

Artemis (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Artemis.

Jupiter, Apollo, Hecate, Servius Tullius.

Leto, Zeus. Arduinna.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Diana of Versailles
Musée du Louvre, Paris



Venus
 

The Roman goddess of love. Venus was originally the goddess of ferility, particularly of field and garden. Venus was originally a Latin goddess, and when her worship was adopted in Rome. Venus was later honoured as the goddess of love and beauty, when she had became identified with Aphrodite. Turan is the Etruscan equivalent to the Roman goddess.

Like the Greek myths, she was the husband of Vulcan (Hephaestus), but her frequent lover was Mars (Ares).

According to the Roman writer Vergil, Venus had a mortal lover named Anchises, and she was the mother of the Trojan hero, named Aeneas, ancestor of the Roman people. It was said that Julius Caesar could trace his line to her through Aeneas and Iulus, Aeneas' son. See the Aeneid, in the Tales of Rome, for the story of Aeneas.

Her other mortal lover was Adonis (see Aphrodite).

Her first temple wasn't built until 215 BC.

Venus has two festivals; both were called Veneralia, and were held on April 1 and the other on August 19.

In astronomy, the 2nd planet in our solar system was named after the Roman love goddess Venus. The diameter of Venus is almost the same as that of Earth, as well as being Earth's nearest neighbour. It is the brightest planet in our night sky, as it known by two names, Morning Star, when it can be seen on the eastern horizon before or at sunrise, and the Evening Star on the western horizon after or at sunset. Like Mercury, Venus has no satellite or moon.

 
Related Information
Name
Venus (Roman).

Aphrodite (Greek).
Turan (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Aphrodite and Turan.

Jupiter, Mars, Vulcan, Aeneas.

Zeus, Ares, Hephaestus. Freyja.

Trojan War, the Aeneid.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.



Cupid (Amor)
 

The Roman god of love. Cupid was also called Amor. As Amor, he was seen as mischievous winged boy-god, armed with a bow and quiver of arrows, which could make gods and mortal fall in love.

The Roman authors adopted the mischievous god from the Hellenistic Eros, instead of the earlier Greek authors, who see Eros as a more primal or primordial being.

Cupid was the son of Venus (Aphrodite) and Mars (Ares).

Cupid had caused many people to fall in love, including the gods, such as Jupiter (Zeus) and Apollo.

One time, Apollo insulted and offended Cupid about his archery skill. In revenge, Cupid caused Apollo to fall in love with a virgin nymph Daphne, who abdored marriage and men. She was transformed into a laurel tree to escape Apollo's lust.

The only gods, who were immune to Cupid's arrows, were Vesta (Hestia), Minerva (Athena) and Diana (Artemis).

According to the Roman writer Lucius Apuleius, he wrote in the Golden Ass that Cupid married a mortal princess, named Psyche. Psyche was a heroine persecuted by Cupid's mother, Venus, but in the end, she was granted immortality, becoming a minor goddess in Olympus. Psyche became the mother of Volupta, the goddess of sensual pleasure. See Cupid and Psyche.

 
Related Information
Name
Cupid, Amor.

Eros (Greek).

Sources
The Golden Ass (chapter 22) was written by Apuleius.

Related Articles
See also Eros.

Venus, Mars, Jupiter (Zeus), Vesta (Hestia), Minerva (Athena), Diana (Artemis).



Vulcan
 

Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and volcano. Vulcan had two epithets – Mulciber and Quietus.

Vulcan was identified with the Greek god Hephaestus, inheriting his attributes. His Etruscan counterpart was Sethlans. Vulcan became the metal-smith of the gods. Vulcan was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera).

Like the Greek myths, Vulcan had married Venus (Aphrodite). Venus, however, was unfaithful wife who had long love affair with Mars (Ares).

Volcanalia, his festival was held on August 23.

 
Related Information
Name
Vulcan.
Mulciber - "Gentle Touch" (Roman).

Hephaestus (Greek).
Sethlans (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Hephaestus and Turan.

Jupiter, Juno, Venus, Mars.


Vulcan
Carving in the pillar (column) of the Nautes found in Notre-Dame
Musée du Moyen Age, Cluny, France



Neptune
 

Neptune was originally the minor god of fresh water and irrigation.

It wasn't until the Romans identified him with Greek Poseidon (399 BC), that he became the great god of the sea. His consort was Salacia (possibly Amphitrite). Neptune was also equated with Nethuns, the Etruscan god of fresh water and well.

His festival, Neptunalia, was held on July 23, and his temple was found in Circus Flamminius, Rome.

In astronomy, the 8th planet from the sun, and the 4th largest planet in our solar system. The planet is blue in colour, due to high concentration of methane gas in its atmosphere; as well as hydrogen and helium. Like the other giant planets, it has rings. There are at least eight satellites in Neptune's orbit; the largest moons are Triton and Nereid.

 
Related Information
Name
Neptunis, Neptunus.

Poseidon (Greek).
Nethuns (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Poseidon and Nethuns.

Jupiter, Amphitrite.

Zeus.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Neptune and Amphitrite
Roman mosaic from the city of Constantina (Argelia), 315-25 AD
Musée du Louvre, Paris



Pluto (Dis)
 

Pluto or Dis was a chthonian god of wealth and the Underworld, the world of the dead. His name all mean "Rich One" and Dis Pater means "Rich Father". He was often referred to as the "Stygian Jupiter" or "Stygian Jove", meaning he was the "Jupiter of the Underworld".

Pluto was equated with Hades, the god of the dead, and his consort was Proserpina (Greek Persephone). As Orcus, he was the brother of Jupiter (Zeus).

 
Related Information
Name
Pluto – "Rich One"
Dis. Dis Pater, Dispater – "Rich Father".
Orcus.

Hades (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Hades.

Jupiter, Neptune.

Persephone, Demeter, Zeus.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Pluto
Roman carving
Museo Arqueológico de Mérida



Tellus (Terra Mater)
 

Tellus or Terra Mater was an ancient earth goddess. Tellus was later identified with the Greek Gaea and the Phrygian Cybele.

Her temple dated back as far as 268 BC, situated on the Esquiline Hill. Each year, the Romans honoured her with three festivals, Fordicidia held on April 15, Consualia on August 21 and another on December 13.

 
Related Information
Name
Tellus, Terra, Terra Mater.

Gaea, Ge, Gaia (Greek).
Cybele, Kybele (Phrygian).

Related Articles
Gaea, Cybele.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.


Tellus
Marble relief, 1st century BC
Ara Pacis Augustae Museum, Rome



Saturn
 

Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture. Saturn was identified with the Greek god, Cronus, the chief Titans.

Unlike in the Greek myths, where Cronus was held in prison at Tartarus, Saturn lived in Italy, as one of the early kings. Saturn was the father of Picus (woodpecker).

His festival was called Saturnalia, lasts for seven days, beginning on December 17. The Roman honoured him by naming the weekday, Saturday, after him. His ruined temple was found in the Forum. The Romans named the treasury after him as aerarium Saturn.

In astronomy, Saturn is the 6th planet in our solar system, and the 2nd largest planet. Like Jupiter, Saturn is classified as a gas giant planet, but it is best-known for its impressive icy rings.

 
Related Information
Name
Saturnis, Saturnus.

Cronus, Kronos (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Cronus.
Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto.

Rhea, Zeus.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy.



Ops
 

Ops was the Roman goddess of plenty. Ops was probably a mother-goddess and the goddess of fertility. As the goddess of harvest, Ops was worshipped by the early Romans, along the chthonian god, Consus in a temple called Regia. Her festrivals, Opiconsivia was held on August 25 and Opalia on December 19.

Ops was later identified with the Greek Rhea; and she was a wife of Saturn (Cronus). Like in the Greek myths, she was the mother of Roman Olympians.

 
Related Information
Name
Ops, Magna Mater.

Rhea (Greek).

Related Articles
Consus, Saturn.

See also Rhea.



Consus
 

Consus was a rather obscure god, who was probably chthonian god. Consus was normally worshipped along with the goddess Ops (Greek Rhea), at the Aventine Hill. Together, Consus and Ops were the deities of harvest.

Consus was possibly the god of granary and storehouse, since his name was derived a Latin word condere, which means, "to store away". Apart from this nothing else was known about him. Romulus had used the festival of Consus, to seize the Sabine women.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Romulus, Ops (Greek Rhea).



Ceres
 

The Roman goddess of corn. Ceres was also mother-goddess as well as the goddess of fertility. Ceres was indistinguishable from Demeter, her Greek counterpart.

Ceres was the mother of Proserpina (Greek Persephone) by Jupiter (Zeus). Ovid wrote the Roman version of her daughter abduction by Pluto (Hades). She was the consort of Liber.

The Ceralia, her festival, was held on April 19.

 
Related Information
Name
Ceres.

Demeter (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Demeter.

Jupiter.

Zeus, Persephone, Hades.


Ceres
Roman statue
Bard Museum, Tunisie



Proserpina
 

Queen of the Underworld and goddess of spring. Proserpina was completely identical to the Greek goddess Persephone.

Proserpina was the daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Ceres (Demeter). The Roman poet gives a full account of Proserpina's abduction by Pluto (Hades), which is identical to the Greek version. See Demeter.

Proserpina also appeared as the rival of Venus (Aphrodite), for the love of Adonis (see Aphrodite).

 
Related Information
Name
Proserpina (Roman).
Persephone, Kore (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Persephone.

Ceres (Demeter), Jupiter (Zeus), Pluto (Hades), Venus, Cupid and Psyche.


Proserpina
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Tate Gallery, London, 1877



Liber
 

Liber was originally the god husbandry and crops. Liber became the god of wine, when they had identified him with Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and ecstasy. While the Etruscan equated Liber with Fuflans.

Liber was the husband of Ceres and father of Libera, a chthonian god.

His festival was held on March 17.

 
Related Information
Name
Liber.

Dionysus, Bacchus (Greek).
Fuflans (Etruscan).

Related Articles
See also Dionysus and Fuflans.

Jupiter, Ceres, Semele.



Bellona
 

Roman goddess of war. Bellona had been identified with Enyo, the Greek goddess of war. Her originally name was Duellona.

Bellona had sometimes been described as a sister or wife of Mars (Ares). Whatever her relationship with Mars, she rode in a chariot with Mars and Discordia (Eris), goddess of strife, during the time of war.

Her temple was outside the city gates, in Campus Martius. Her festival was celebrated on June 3.

 
Related Information
Name
Bellona, Duellona. Nerio.

Enyo (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Enyo.

Mars.
Ares, Eris.



Picus
 

Picus was a minor woodland god. The woodpecker was named after him.

Picus was in love with a nymph Canens, whom he was betrothed to, but the sorceress Circe was in love him. In revenge for refusing her advance, Circe transformed him into a woodpecker.

The woodpecker was a sacred bird to the god Mars. Picus was said to have a prophetic gift.

In Virgil's Aeneid, Picus was an early king of Italy, who was the son of Saturn. Picus became the father of Faunus and grandfather of Latinus.

 
Related Information
Name
Picus – "woodpecker".

Related Articles
Saturn, Faunus, Circe, Mars.



Faunus
 

The Roman god of the woodland. Faunus was the son of Picus and grandson of Saturn. Faunus was also the gods of the fertility on the fields and flocks. Roman arts always seemed to portray as a satyr-like god, and he seemed to resemble Pan. His festival was held February 15, called the Lupercalia.

Faunus was also seen as an early king of Italy. His son Latinus became the eponym of the region of Latium, and its people, the Latins.

According to Ovid, in Fasti, at one time, he saw Omphale, queen of Lydia, and he wanted to ravish her. But at that time, Hercules (Heracles) was serving as Omphale's slave. The Lydian queen would dress the hero in women's clothing. One night, Faunas entered the queen's chamber. He thought it was the queen, because of her garment, but when raised the garment in order to penetrate her with his phallus, he felt thick, coarse hair on unsuspecting's bottoms. This could the god by surprise, but gave Hercules enough time to wake, and pushed Faunas very hard that he landed metres away, on his back. Omphale hearing the crash, order her servants to bring torches and they all saw the god lying on his back, helpless, unable to get up, and naked. Hercules and the queen laughted at the embarrassed god. It was for this reason, Faunas always demanded none of his followers to wear clothes during performance of his rituals.

 
Related Information
Name
Faunus.

Related Articles
Picus, Saturn, Bona Dea (or Fauna), Latinus, Pan.



Bona Dea (Fauna)
 

Bona Dea means the "Good Goddess". Bona Dea was often called Fauna. Bona Dea was the goddess of women. Men were excluded from her temple on the Aventine Hill. Her festival was held on May 1.

As Fauna, she was the goddess of vegetation and fertility, and was married to Faunus, god of vegetation.

 
Related Information
Name
Bona Dea – "Good Goddess".
Fauna.
Damia (Greek).

Related Articles
Faunus.



Silvanus
 

Silvanus was the Roman god of the woodland and agriculture. Originally Silvanus' duties were confined to the woods and forests. Later, Silvanus began to have extra attributes and became the god of farming and pasture, and probably of flocks and herds. Silvanus was seen as the patron god of shepherds.

Silvanus was the Roman counterpart of Silenus, the satyr-like, woodland spirit. Silvanus would later inherit some of Silenus' attributes, such as goat's horns and legs.

 
Related Information
Name
Silvanus.
Silenus? (Greek).

Related Articles
Faunus. Silenus, Pan.



Flora
 

The Roman goddess of flower. Flora was also the goddess of the season spring and fertility. Her name was now given to all flowering plants.

Flora was the consort of Zephyrus, god of the west wind.

Legend say that it was Titus Tatius introduced the cult of Flora to Rome, during the reign of Romulus.

Her festival was introduced in 238 BC, called Floralia. It last for several days, from April 28 to May 1.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Titus Tatius.


Flora
Evelyn De Morgan
Oil on canvas, 1846
De Morgan Foundation, London



Pales
 

The Roman pastoral goddess. Pales was the goddess of pasture, and of flocks and herds. Her festival was held on April 21.

   



Vertumnus and Pomona
 

Vertumnus was the Roman god of garden and orchard. Vertumnus was probably a god of Etruscan origin, named Voltumna.

His consort, named Pomona had similar functions. Pomona was the goddess of garden and orchard. The two deities had their festival on the same day, August 13.

Ovid tells of how many woodland spirits and gods, including Pan and the satyrs, wooed Pomona, because of her great beauty. Pomona would have nothing to with males, mortals or immortals. All she cared about was orchard and her apples.

Among those who were in love with Pomona was Vertumnus. Vertumnus tried various disguises to be near her and to win her love, such as labour, farmer, vineyard worker, soldier, etc.

Finally he turned himself into an old woman, and tried to persuade to love Vertumnus. She refused.

Vertumnus changed back to his normal form, and was going to force himself upon her. It wasn't necessary, since she had fallen in love with him in his true form.

 

Pomona
Tapestry designed by Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle, 1990
Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Vertumnus
Roman mosaic
Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid



Fornax
 

Fornax was the Roman goddess of bread-making. Nothing else is known about her, except that her festival was held on February 17, on the same day that was sacred to Quirinus.

   



Egeria
 

The Roman goddess of the fountains and childbirth. Her were worship was established during the reign of Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome. The oak trees were sacred to Egeria.

   



Salus
 

Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She had been identified with Hygeia. Nothing more is known about Salus except that her festival was held on March 30.

   



Somnus
 

Somnus was the Roman god of sleep. Somnus was known to the Greeks as Hypnos. Somnus was the said to have a thousand sons, including the Oneiroi (Dreams), the gods of dreams, which include Icelos or Phoebetor, Morpheus and Phantasos.

 
Related Information
Name
Somnus, Somnos.

Hypnos (Greek).

Related Articles
See also Hypnos.

Oneiroi, Morpheus.



Oneiroi (Dreams)
 

The Oneiroi or Dreams were the children of either Nox (Nyx), the goddess of night, or Somnus (Hypnos), the god of sleep. The Oneiroi were Icelos or Phoebetor, Morpheus and Phantasos.

All three gods had the ability to assume various forms. Morpheus could assume form of human, while Phoebetor can transform himself into any animal. Phantasos, however could only assume shape of inanimate objects, such as rocks, trees and water.

The Oneiroi dwelled at the entrance of the Underworld. They had the ability to change shape.

 
Related Information
Name
Oneiroi "Dreams":

Icelos, Phoebetor
Morpheus
Phantasos
Related Articles
Somnus.

Morpheus, Hypnos, Nyx.



Fortuna
 

The Roman god of chance or fortune. Fortuna was a Roman equivalent of Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune. Fortuna had been depicted standing on a ball, indicating the uncertainty of chance, fortune or fate.

Fortuna was originally a fertility goddess, known as Fors Fortuna, and was also depicted carrying a cornucopia, symbolising abundance or plenty. She had a temple in Rome called Fortuna Redux, built by Emperor Domitian, to celebrate the victories over the Germans. Her festival was held on June 24.

 
Related Information
Name
Fortuna, Fors Fortuna.

Tyche (Greek).

Related Articles
Tyche.



Felicitas
 

Felicitas was the Roman goddess of good luck and of agricultural prosperity. Though temple had been built to her as early as the second century BC, there was no myth associated with her.

   



Pax
 

Pax was more of spirit of peace than a goddess. The Romans often used Pax of certain period of Rome's greatest extent of the empire, such as Pax Romana ("Roman Peace") or Pax Augusta during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - AD 14).

Pax was often depicted as a young woman carrying a cornucopia, an olive branch or a sheaf of grain.

 
Related Information
Name
Pax – "Peace".
Pax Romana – "Roman Peace".

Eirene (Greek).



Juturna
 

The goddess of spring. Juturna was the daughter of Daunus, king of Rutulia, and of Venilia. Juturna was the sister of Turnus, her father's successor and archenemy of Aeneas.

By the god Janus, Juturna was the mother of Fontus, the god of spring.

Her festival, called Carmentalia, was celebrated on January 11.

 
Related Information
Name
Juturna, Iuturna.

Related Articles
Janus, Fontus, Turnus.



Fontus
 

The god of spring. Fontus was the son of Janus, the god of passage, and of Juturna, the goddess of spring. His festival, known as Fontalia was held on October 13.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Janus, Juturna.



Personification
 

The following deities or spirits were mostly abstract personification. Most of these deities have no myths.

Aequitas god of fair dealing.
Alemona goddess of passage.
Clementia goddess of mercy and clemency.
Fides goddess of good faith, loyalty and honesty.
Fraus goddess of treachery.
Honus god of military honour.
Liberalitas god of generosity.
Libitina goddess of death.
Lupercus god of wolves.
Muta goddess of silence.
Nona goddess of birth.
Pietas goddess of piety.
Providentia goddess of forethought.
Spes goddess of hope.
Tempestas goddess of storm.
Terminus god of passage and boundary marker
Virtus god of military prowess.
   






Household Guardians

  Vesta
  Penates
  Lares

Vesta
 

The Roman goddess of the hearth and the hearth fire. Vesta had been identified with Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth.

Vesta had public and private functions. In the private household, she was worshipped along with the Penates and a Lar.

In public, her temple on the Palatine, in Rome, where they kept the perpetual fire burning throughout the year. The Vestal Virgins were guardians of the hearth and duties were to maintain the sacred fire. The fire was annually extinguished and renewed on March 1.

Only girls from prominent families could enter the services. The requirements were that the girls were virgins, beginning at the age of 6 and 10, and to serve for at least 30 years. Any Vestal Virgin, who breaks their chastity during that time, would face death sentence. They normally buried the Virgin alive for violation of their oath of chastity.

Vesta was seen carrying a lighted torch and a votive bowel. Her festival, the Vestalia, was celebrated was held between June 7 and 15.

 
Related Information
Name
Vesta.

Hestia (Greek).

Related Articles
Penates, Lares.

See also Hestia.


Vesta
Marble statue
(Information not available)



Penates
 

Penates were household gods that were honoured along with Lares and Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. The Penates were gods of provision or storeroom. The Penates were supposed to guard the storeroom. The families honoured the Penates for protecting their properties.

 
Related Information
Name
Penates, Di Penates.

Related Articles
Vesta, Lares.



Lares
 

Lares were tutelary household gods that were honoured along with Penates and Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. Originally the Lares were gods or protectors of the field that had been cultivated. Later, the Lares were moved into the home.

Each household or family would have a single Lar in their home. The home had a small domestic shrine for the Lar, called a lararium. A Lar was thought to protect the family, like a guardian spirit of home. A shrine was kept in each Roman house. Usually they were seen more as spirits than gods.

According to later myth, Lares were the children of Mercury and the naiad Lara. Lara was probably originally of Sabine origin.

A Lar was represented as a youth with a drinking horn that was the symbol of fertility.

 
Related Information
Name
Lar, Lares (plural).

Related Articles
Vesta, Penates.


Lararium
Roman altar to Lares and Penates
Pompeya






Greek Equivalents


The Romans were renowned for adopting other idea from other cultures. Foreign kingdoms had influenced the Roman way of thinking, particularly the Etruscan and Greek cultures. The Romans had adopted the Greek philosophy, art and literature.

Myths were no exception. The Roman had modelled their gods from the Greeks.

The following lists were made as quick reference for those who wished to compare the Roman and Greek names of gods and goddesses.

This is by no mean a very exhaustive list of Roman deities and their Greek equivalents. Some deities, like Apollo was a completely Greek import. There was no Roman equivalent of Apollo, but the Roman writers had adopted Apollo as their very own. Most of the Titans had no Roman names, with the exception of Cronus and Rhea. Where there were no Roman names for the gods, the Greek names had been used and left unchanged.

Notice that I have links on some of Greek deities listed below. If the information and myths were the same in both Greek and Roman deities then it would be best to search for the article in Greek gods.


Roman Greek
Jupiter, Jove Zeus
Juno Hera
Neptune Poseidon
Pluto Hades
Ceres Demeter
Vesta Hestia
Miverva Athena
Apollo Apollo
Diana Artemis
Mercury Hermes
Mars Ares
Venus Aphrodite
Vulcan Hephaestus
 
Roman Greek
Nox Nyx
Terra, Tellus Gaea, Gaia, Ge
Coelus Uranus, Ouranus
Saturn Cronus
Ops, Magna Mater Rhea
Cupid, Amor Eros
Latona Leto
Trivia Hecate
Proserpina Persephone
Liber Dionysus, Bacchus
Sol Helius
Luna Selene
Aurora Eos
 
Roman Greek
Juventas Hebe
Lucina Eileithyia
Parcae Moerae
Furies Erinyes
Bellona Enyo
Discordia Eris
Mors Thanatos
Somnus Hypnos
Morpheus Morpheus
Aesculapius Asclepius
Salus Hygeia or Hygieia
Hercules Heracles
Castor & Pollux Castor & Polydeuces



For those people interested in Etruscan deities, see the new page.

The Roman religion wasn't just confine to the pantheon of the Roman/Latin, Greek and Etruscan. Other foreign gods were adopted and worshipped by the Romans come from various provinces within the empire. These included the Celtic deities in Gaul and Britain, such as the horse goddess Epona; the Phrygian mother goddess Cybele; the Egyptian fetility and death goddess Isis; and the Persian or Indian god of light Mithra (Mithras).

And let's not forget that some of the Romans had adopted Judiaism and Christianity. Though, most of Romans who became Christians, between the 1st and 3rd century AD, had to secretly go to mass, because they feared persecution. It wasn't until the reign of the Emperor Constantine (early 4th century AD) that Christianity became an acceptable religion.









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