Roman Gods and Goddesses names list

Roman Gods and Goddesses Names List

The Romans have a vast number of gods and goddesses with each of them responsible for one element or the other. Some of these gods and goddesses also got married to one another. In fact, some of the goddesses became deities by virtue of their weddings to other gods. The Romans and the Greeks have several gods in common. As you will see in the course of this write-up, some of the gods recognized and worshiped in the ancient Roman Empire were also recognized and worshiped in Greece; such gods having recognition in Rome and Greece are called Greco-Roman gods and goddesses. In this write-up, you will learn about some of the very popular gods and goddesses in ancient Rome of roman mythology.

 

Jupiter

Jupiter is one of the most popular roman gods. He is also known as Jove and venerated in the Imperial cult of ancient Rome polytheistic religion. He abode in Rome during his lifetime and his symbols include oak tree, eagle and lightning bolt.  He has several children, some of whom are highlighted below:

  • Mars
  • Invidia
  • Vulcan
  • Bacchus
  • Minerva
  • Venus
  • Hercules
  • Dike
  • Bellona among several others.

His parents were Saturn and Ops. His siblings in the Roman tradition were Vesta, Juno, and Ceres, while his siblings in the Greco-Roman tradition are Neptune and Pluto.  Jupiter is considered to have the same power rating as Zeus.  He is considered as the god of the sky and thunder. Additionally, he is seen as the king of every god in ancient Roman religion. He was the dominant god until Christianity took over.

Some said he originated as a sky god and his symbol, the eagle, is supreme to every other bird of the sky. In ancient time, the eagle was also used as the symbol of the Roman army.

 

Neptune

Neptune lived in the sea, and he is commemorated via some festivals, like Lectiseternium and Neptunalia.  His parents were Saturn and Ops, and his siblings were Jupiter, Vesta, Pluto, Ceres, and Juno.  He is equivalent to the Greek god, Poseidon.

He is considered as the god of the sea and freshwater. His brothers were the ones presiding over the heavenly realms, the underworld, and the earthly world. The name of his wife was Salacia. His depictions in Roman mosaics are influenced by Hellenistic convections, and he is thought first to have an association with freshwater before the sea.  In Rome, he is being worshiped as the god of horses, and he is seen as the patron of horse-racing in which he is referred o as Neptunus Equester.

There is a measure of dispute and confusion in his etymology. His name was derived from Nupus by Varro, the ancient grammarian and Nupus stand for covering. His name also translates to the marriage of Heaven and Earth. He was first recognized in 399 BC in the lectisternium. Since he is considered as the god of fresh water, he is then the god of rivers, lakes, and springs. He was thus labeled because several inscriptions about him showed him in the proximity of those places while he was alive. Furthermore, Neptune is similar in power to Nechtan, the Irish god.

 

Mars

The symbol of Mars is spear and shield, referred to as the spear of Mars. His parents were Jupiter and Juno, while his siblings were Vulcan, Bacchus, Minerva, Diana, Hercules, Bellona and many more.  He is equivalent to Ares, the Greek god.

He was the god of war in ancient Roman myth and religion. He was equally the god of agricultural guardian; war and agriculture were combination characteristics of ancient Rome.  He was second to Jupiter in importance and was considered as the most prominent of the military gods. He was commemorated by the Roman military in ancient times and most of the festivals to commemorate him were held in March and October; October is the beginning of the military campaign and the end of the farming season in ancient Rome.

Furthermore, Mars has some recognition in ancient Greek mythology and religion in which he was identified with Ares; Ares’ myths were reinterpreted in several Roman art and literature. Be that as it may, the dignity and characters of the Roman Mars differ from that of the Greek Mars.

Mars was considered as the child of Jupiter and Juno, as hinted earlier. However, he was considered as the son of Juno alone according to a version of his birth made public by Ovid.

 

Apollo

Apollo was considered as the god of knowledge, light, sun, medicine, plague, archery, oracles, art, poetry and music. He abode in Mount Olympus. He is symbolized by bow and arrow, swan, raven, python, laurel wreath, and Lyre.

His children are Orpheus, Aristaeus, Troilus, and Asclepius. His parents, on the other hand, are Zeus and Leto. Apollo has several siblings, and some of them are highlighted below:

  • Artemis
  • Moirai
  • Aeacus
  • Muses
  • Angelos
  • Litae
  • Aphrodite
  • Horae
  • Ares
  • Graces
  • Athena
  • And so on

The Greek mythology also recognized Apollo, which made him a Greco-Roman god.

Apollo is among the most complex Olympian deities. Additionally, he is the god of poetry, plague, and prophecy. He is a twin, with his twin sister being the chaste huntress called Artemis. He was also the patron of Delphi and an oracular god. He was associated with healing and medicine. Both the Greek and Romans considered him to be the god of light.

His birthplace was Mount Cynthus located on the island of Delos. He was seen as a protector and founder; he was involved in protecting homes and roads. He was also worshiped all across the Roman Empire. His popularity equally extended to Celtic lands, where he was seen as the sun god.

 

Conclusion

You have learned about some of the gods and goddesses of ancient Rome, as well as the roles they played. Many of these gods are still being worshiped these days, but the acts of worship are not as frequent, common or elaborate today. This indicates that such worships are becoming extinct gradually.

Vulcan

 


Vulcan originally was an Italian fire-god, particularly associated with destructive fire. He was worshipped primarily to obtain his protection in averting fires, so there were numerous shrines dedicated to him where fires were most feared, such as areas near volcanoes and where grain was stored, especially at the port of Ostia. An interesting note is that his shrines stood outside of the walls of cities.

In the Roman pantheon Vulcan was the son of Jupiter and Juno; in this role he was the counterpart of the Greek god Hephaestus, and later assumed many of the latter’s characteristics. He normally was depicted as a grotesque figure with one leg shorter than the other, a deformity that resulted from being thrown from heaven by Jupiter while attempting to protect his mother from the god’s wrath. Afterwards, being determined to shun the company of the other gods Vulcan established his home in the heart of Mount Edna, where he fashioned a giant forge. His workers were the one-eyed Cyclopes. He created a golden throne for Juno, and fashioned Jupiter’s magical thunderbolts and Cupid’s arrows.

He was links with several primary goddesses including Maia (the Earth Mother), and Vesta, in her role as earth goddess. Also, he had short-termed relationships with Venus and Minerva, and with one of the Graces. His offspring seemed generally to have been monstrous. He is said to have fathered Servius Tullius, one of the kings of Rome, who proved his parentage by the useful talent of being able to cause fire to descend on his enemies.

Perhaps the most curious custom of Vulcan was the sacrifice of live fish, which were thrown onto fires lit on the banks of the Tiber in order to persuade the god to spear more vulnerable objects.

It was only in the classical period that Vulcan was truly associated with Hephaestus. He became the patron of artisans and blacksmiths. In these late times he was depicted as a smith in a tunic that freed his right arm and shoulder, and with an anvil, tongs and hammer.

His festival was the Vulcanalia, falling on August 23, the period of greatest drought and highest fire risk in Italy. A.G.H.


Sources:

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 179-180
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 285

Victoria


Victoria was Roman goddess of victory. She was generally known during the second century BC and closely associated with JupiterA.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 281

Vesta

 


Vesta was the goddess of the hearth; her etymology equivalent was the Greek goddess Hestia. Each goddess had similar cults, though Vesta seemed to have been more honored with the Roman pantheon than her counterpart within the Greek one. During the earliest days of the Romans the necessity for keeping a fire alight became a sacred obligation for which the king was originally responsible. This duty devolved onto the daughters of the king, since it was too important, and later too sacred, to be entrusted to slaves.

Eventually fires were not only kept perpetually lit in homes as an act of devotion, but a public cult existed in which a royal hearth was tended by young, well-born girls known as the Vestal Virgins. They were chosen, in the days of the republic, by the pontifex maximus, who to this extent took on the task of the former kings.

The Vestal Virgins entered the service of the goddess between the ages of six to ten. Initially there were two of them, later six, and the term of service varied from five years in the early days to thirty in the later years. These priestesses dressed in white gowns edged with purple and were highly respected members of Roman society, enjoying many privileges. In addition to tending the sacred fire their other duties included fetching water from the sacred spring, the preparation of sacred foods, guardianship of sacred objects, and the daily ritual at the shrine of Vesta.

The pontifex maximus had absolute control over the daily lives of the Virgins; it could issue punishment on them for any offense including ordering any of them to be buried alive for breaking their vow of chastity.

Vesta’s shrine stood near the Regia, or Palace of King. Existing images of her are rare, but those still existing show her fully draped and accompanied by an ass, her favorite animal. During the Vestalia festivals donkeys were decked with wreaths. In 380 AD, Emperor Theodosius abolished the worship of Vesta. A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 161
Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 179
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 281

Venus

 


Venus is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. She, in Roman mythology, was the daughter of Jupiter and Dione. Her consorts were Mars and the ill-fated Adonis; also, she was romantically linked to Anchises, King of Troy. She was the goddess of sexual love and beauty, and gardens. The Emperor Hadrian, in the second century, dedicated a sanctuary Venus on the Via Sacrain Rome, which was restored in the fourth century. She was honored in the Veneralia festival on April 1. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 281

Silvanus

 


Silvanus was a minor Roman god of the woodlands and forests whose worship seemed largely limited to northern Italy. He was incorporated into the Celtic pantheon where his symbolism included a billhook, pots, and hammers. He also presided over the clearing and tilling of land, but it was necessary to propitiate him before embarking on such tasks. The stag was his sacred animal. A.G.H.


Sources:

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 181
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 236

Saturn

 


Saturn was an ancient god of agriculture, or vegetation god, and was associated with the sowing of the seed and with plenty. Some say he was an Italian corn god. His name may have been derived from sator(a sower) or with satur (stuffed or gouged). In early times his cult partner, or consort, was the fire-goddess, Lua (lues, plague or destruction). Later, for obscure reasons, he was associated with Cronus and Rhea, but he appeared to have more in common with Demeter. Saturn is usually depicted with a sickle or ears of corn. The planet Saturn was named after him as well as Saturday.

His temple, which stood on Capitoline Hill, contained the treasury as well as the standards of the legions when they were not campaigning. The stature of Saturn had woolen bands about its feet so he would not run away. An unusual feature of the Saturn cult was that worshippers with uncovered heads sacrificed to him.

The greatest festival dedicated to him was the Saturnalia, which took place in December and lasted seven days, and was perhaps associated with the winter sowing. Originally it was a rural event but gradually began to be celebrated in the cities too. During the celebration all government, commercial, and private business was stopped. Slaves were freed, and allowed to say and do what they pleased. Gifts, especially those of clay or wax dolls, were exchanged, and citizens sat all day at tables feasting and drinking. Some see the festive Christmas season as a dim survival of this festival. The custom of electing a king for a day perhaps came from Greece or the Near East. A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 156
Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 180
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 230

 

Runina

 


Runina, Roman Goddess, was goddess of breastfeeding. She was found of the fig tree which was holy to Juno. The fig tree was associated with nursing of children because its fruit resembled suckled breasts.A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 222

Prosepina

 


Prosepina was the Roman goddess of death, originating from the Greek model. The underworld god Pluto abducted her as his queen. (See PersephoneA.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 210

Pluto

 


Pluto was the Roman underworld god, most certainly derived from the Greek god Hades. He abducted Prosepina for his queen. The three-headed dog Cerberus was set to guard the gates of Hades and through the kingdom flowed the two rivers of death, the Cocytus and the Acheron, which could only be crossed by the ferryman Charon. According to Roman tradition the entrance to the underworld was at Avernus in Rome where the Christian church of St. Maria del Inferno was constructed. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 206