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Roman mythology is the structure, body and also the study of ancient Rome's legendary and mythological origins, practices, beliefs and religions until Christianity replaced the native religions of Rome.
Their records and stories centre on the teaching of moral values, the importance of determined actions of a citizen towards the Roman state and heroism. Roman and Greek mythology are much alike, however in the Roman mythology's case, ancient Romans focused on the human, political and social aspects of their stories rather than the cosmogony or theology of the latter.
Roman mythology and religion was highly influenced by the never-ending conflicts in their history and by the vast assimilation of Greek culture and mythology. Ancient Romans were commonly not aware of the origin of their myths and legends, but writers and poets like Ovid utilized elements from Greek mythology to fill the gaps in Roman stories and tradition. Romulus and Remus are the central characters of Roman myth, which after a series of unfortunate events that included Remus' death, led to the foundation of Rome.
As the Republic, and later Empire, expanded, it came into contact with other civilisations, assimilating deities from the British Isles to Iran, such as Tanit from Carthage, Isis from Egypt and Mithras from Persia.
Most of the Roman deities are the same as in Greek myth, differentiating themselves just by name.
The Roman pantheon organization ranges from primordial deities like Terra to guardian gods like the Lares. Jupiter was the king of the Roman gods.
The Twelve Olympians of Roman mythology:
- Jupiter (Greek: Zeus)
- Juno (Greek: Hera)
- Ceres (Greek: Demeter)
- Neptune (Greek: Poseidon)
- Bacchus (Greek: Dionysus)
- Apollo (Greek: Apollo)
- Diana (Greek: Artemis)
- Minerva (Greek: Athena)
- Venus (Greek: Aphrodite)
- Mars (Greek: Ares)
- Vulcan (Greek: Hephaestus)
- Mercury (Greek: Hermes)
- Vesta (Greek: Hestia)
Roman mythology is known for adopting deities from other mythologies, mainly Greek mythology.
|Asclepius||Greek||God of healing.|
|Attis||Phrygian||God of growth, fertility and vegetation.|
|Bacchus||Greek (Dionysos)||God of wine.|
|Bellona||Greek (Enyo), or Etruscan||Goddess of war and battles.|
|Bubona||Celt (Epona)||Goddess of horses and cattle.|
|Ceres||Greek (Demeter)||Goddess of corn, agriculture and grain.|
|Cupid||Greek||God of love.|
|Cybele||Phrygian (Magna Mater in Latin)||The Great Mother.|
|Dis||Greek (Hades)||God of the underworld and treasure in the form of gems and metals of the earth.|
|Endovelicus||Iberian Celt Hispania||The god of health and welfare.|
|Faunus||Greek (Pan)||God of the wilds and fertility.|
|Furies||Greek (Erinyes)||Goddesses of Vengeance.|
|Hercules||Greek (Herakles)||God of victory and commercial enterprise.|
|Isis||Egyptian||Goddess of marriage and womanhood.|
|Janus||Italii, Latin or Etruscan (Ani)||God of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest, the beginning of planting, at marriages, at births, etc. The month of January is named after him.|
|Mithras||Persian||God of the sun.|
|Ops||Greek||Goddess of the fertile earth, abundance, sowing, harvest and wealth.|
|Salus||Greek (Hygieia)||Goddess of health and prosperity. Festival was celebrated on March 30.|
|Serapis||Egyptian||God of the sky.|
|Saturn||Greek (Chronos)||God of agriculture and the sowing of seeds.|
|Silvanus||Greek (Pan)||God of woods and fields.|
|Sol||Greek (Helios)||God of the sun.|
|Sol Invictus||Syrian||God of the sun.|
|Somnus||Greek (Hypnos)||God of sleep.|
|Tellus||Greek (Gaia)||Goddess of the earth. Fordicidia, held on April 15 was her festival.|
|Veiovis||Etruscan (Veive)||God of healing.|
|Victoria||Greek (Nike)||Goddess of victory.|
By the end of the Roman empire, Christianity was the official religion for the Romans.
In ancient Roman myth and religion, priests like the Arval Brethren use to make sacrifices on an annual basis to the Lares and the rest of Roman deities to guarantee good harvests and the health of the Emperor.
- ↑ John North, Roman Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2000) pp. 4ff.
|Roman mythology articles|
|Deities||Bacchus • Neptune • Mercury|
|Groups||Demigod • God • Titans|
|Creatures and monsters|