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Roman Mythology

Aesculapius The god of medicine. Since snakes were believed to renew life by shedding their skins, Aesculapis' emblem was a staff with a snake coiled around it.

Aurora Goddess of dawn. Her Roman counterpart is Eos.

Bacchus The god of fertility and wine.

Callisto A nymph loved by Jupiter.

Ceres The corn goddess. Her Greek counterpart is Demeter.

Cupid The son of Venus and Mercury, Cupid is child-god of love. Eros is his Roman counterpart.

Diana Believed to be a virgin huntress, Diana was worshipped as the goddess of chastity, childbirth, and the young. She was the twin sister of Apollo and the daughter of Jupiter. Artemis is her Roman version.

Dis The ruler of Hades.

Faunus A god of fertility and prophecy. He had goat's ears, horns, tail, legs and hoofs.

Flora Goddess of spring, youth, and flowers.

Fortuna Godess of fortune and chance.

Janus The two-faced god of door and passageways. He was the oldest of all Roman gods, knowing the past and the future.

Juno The wife of Jupiter and queen of the gods. She was the goddess of women and childbirth. Hera is her Greek equivalent.

Jupiter The king of gods and the son of Saturn. Like his Greek equivalent, he is a sky god, associated with lightning and thunder, and victory in battle.

Mars The god of war. In Greek mythology he is known as Ares.

Mercury Messenger of the Gods. Mercury was also worshipped as the god of commerce, thieves, and eloquence.

Minerva The goddess of war, wisdom, and the arts and crafts. Her Roman version is Athena.

Pax Goddess of peace.

Romulus and Remus The twin sons of Rhea Silvia by Mars. Rhea was appointed a vestal virgin by her uncle Amulius who had become king, overthrowing her father Numitor. After Rhea gave birth she was executed and her twins thrown into the Tiber River. Washed ashore, the twins were suckled by a she-wolf until they were found and raised by a herdsman. The two brothers eventually overthrew their uncle and put Numitor back on the throne. Eventually Romulus founded Rome, but only after killing his brother because of a quarrel over the site.

Salus Goddess of health.

Saturn An ancient god who was dethroned by his sons Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. A god of agriculture, the December festival in his honor known as Saturnalia shut down all public business. During the holiday numerous presents were exchanged, slaves were also excused from their duties and in some cases treated as equals.

Sibyl A prophetess who offered to sell one of Tarquinus kings of Rome nine collections of prophecies. Told the price was to high, she burned three of the collections. She made the offer again, was refused, and so burnt three more. Finally Tarquinus bought the remaining three. The Sibyline Books were preserved and consulted by the Senate in times of emergencies.

Parcae The three Fates.

Venus The goddess of love and the mother of Eros, Venus was said to be either the daughter of Jupiter or emerged from the foam of the sea. In Greek mythology Venus is named Aphodite; Phoenician, Astarte; and Babylonian, Ishtar.

Vesta The goddess of the hearth. Her shrine at the Forum was attended by six vestal virgins.

Vulcan A god of fire and destruction.

This page was last modified on 10 March 2005.

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