Guide to the Gods 1.0
Ancient Rome: A - Z
Copyright by Mark de la Hey, 1994, 1995.
Roman protective goddess of children. Associated with the goddess Adeona.
Roman goddess of abundance, prosperity and good fortune. She was commonly portrayed with a horn of plenty, distributing grain and money. After the end of the Roman occupation, she continued in French folklore as Lady Habonde (Abundia).
(Acca Larentina, Acca Laurentia)
Roman goddess whose gift of land to the early Romans in the days of Romulus and Remus (according to one account) was celebrated in the festival of Larentalia (or Larentinalia) on December 23. She is variously given as the wife of Faustulus or of Carutius, and as the mother of the LAres, the Fratres Arvales, Hercules, or as the nurse and adopted mother of Romulus.
Roman goddess of passage. Associated with the goddess Abeona.
The Roman emperor claimed descent from this deified Greek/Roman hero of the Trojan War and an epic voyage to Rome.
Roman version of the Greek god of the winds, Aeolos.
Roman god of fair dealing.
Roman goddess of the infernal regions.
Roman form of the Greek Asklepios, god of healing and medicinal arts, his cult was introduced to Rome during the plague of 293 BC. In Rome he took the form of a snake, and the caduceus (a snake entwined around a staff) became his attribute.
Roman personification of eternity. Symbolized by the phoenix rising from its own ashes and by the Uroboros (a snake biting its own tail).
Roman nonce-god reported to have foretold the invasion of the Gauls in 391 BC.
Roman goddess of passage.
Roman god of love, equivalent to the Greek Eros. He was the son of Venus and either Mars or Mercury.
Roman goddess of secrecy. Her festival was 21 December, the winter solstice.
Roman goddess of the circle of the year. She was worshipped in a grove to the north of Rome. Her festival was celebrated on the full moon of the first month of the Roman year (our March 15: the Ides of March).
Roman goddess of the future.
Five Roman gods occupying a temple by the Appian aqueduct: Concordia, Minerva, Pax, Venus and Vesta.
Roman weather god, associated with the north wind (the Greek Boreas).
Roman goddess of the dawn, equivalent to the Greek goddess Eos.
The Roman name for the southwest wind, equivalent to the Greek Notus.
Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysos. His cult was introduced to Rome circa 400 BC and was closely modelled on that of Dionysos. The object of a secret cult whose rites, the Bacchanalia, were infamous for their sexual license and criminal behaviour. Bacchus was also known as Liber (although the latter was sometimes regarded as a separate entity), and under this name was honoured in the festival of the Liberalia.
Roman goddess of war, given variously as the wife or sister of the war god Mars. Her festival was June 3.
The Good Goddess". Roman fertility goddess, otherwise known as Fauna (qv). Her festival was 4 December, when secret rites were held to which only women were admitted. Her consort was Faunus.
Roman god of success in enterprise.
Roman goddess of horses and cattle. She was the counterpart of the Celtic goddess Epona.
Roman goddess of the hearth, in which capacity she was later succeeded by Vesta. She was the daughter of Vulcan and Medusa, and the sister of Cacus.
Originated as a pre-Roman god of fire who later became a fire-breathing demon. He was said to live in a cave on the Palatine hill in Rome. It was Cacus who stole the cattle of Geryon, and he was killed by Herakles, whose labours included the recovery of the cattle of Geryon.
Roman oracular goddesses, patrons of the sacred spring that supplied water for the Vestal Virgins. They were identified with the Greek muses.
Roman goddess of birth, associated with the goddesses Lucina and Carmentes.
Roman goddess of thresholds and door-pivots, popularly believed to ward off evil spirits. She was associated with the god Janus, although she remained a virgin goddess.
Roman goddess of fate or fortune, one of the Camenae (qv). Also a goddess of childbirth, associated with Lucina and Candelifera. Her Greek equivalent was Themis.
Flesh". Roman goddess of bodily organs, particularly of hearts. Her festival was held on June 1.
Roman corn goddess identified with the Greek Demeter. She is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and is one of the consorts of Jupiter. Like Demeter, Ceres belongs to the long line of 'great mother' goddesses dating back to the Sumerian Inana and the Babylonian Ishtar. She had a daughter by Jupiter, Proserpina, who was abducted by the underworld god Pluto in a myth which parallels that of Demeter and Persephone. Proserpina spends half of the year (winter) in the underworld with Pluto, during which Ceres neglects her duties and plant-life languishes. However, each spring Proserpina is restored to Ceres and plant life flourishes once more. Ceres' festival was the Cerealia, celebrated on April 19.
Roman goddess of marriage.
Roman goddess of mercy and clemency.
Roman river god.
Roman goddess of sewers.
Roman goddess of harmony and peace.
The twelve chief Roman deities: Jupiter, Apollo, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, Vulcan, Juno, Diana, Minerva, Venus, Ceres and Vesta.
Roman god of good counsel. His feast days were August 21 and December 15. He had a temple in the Circus Maximus.
Abundance". The Roman goddess of wealth and plenty. She was the handmaiden of Fortuna and carried the cornucopia.
Roman god representing the north or north-west wind.
Roman goddess of infants.
Roman god of love, identified with the Greek Eros. Son of Venus and Mars, or Venus and Mercury, or Diana and Mercury. Also Amor. (H2>Dea Dia Roman goddess of the fields, honoured with three feast days in May.
Roman goddess of childbirth. Later Decima, with the goddesses Nona and Morta (Parca), formed the Parcae, the Roman goddesses of fate.
Roman council of 12 gods.
Roman goddess of birth.
Roman moon goddess and goddess of woodlands. She was also regarded as a goddess of fertility and childbirth. Daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Equivalent to the Greek Artemis. She had a sanctuary on the Aventine Hill in Rome.
Roman goddess of discord and strife. Equivalent to the Greek goddess Eris.
Roman god of the infernal regions. Also known as Pluto. Roman equivalent of the Greek Hades. Husband of Proserpina.
Roman goddess, see Bellona.
Roman water spirit, goddess of fountains and protectress of unborn children. Said to have been the second wife of Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome.
Minor Roman god, who greeted Aeneas at the future site of Rome. He was said to have introduced the Greek pantheon and alphabet to Rome.
Roman god of infants. According to Varro, it was Fabulinus who taught children to speak their first word.
Roman personification of popular rumour. Also a goddess of fame. Her Greek counterpart was Pheme. She was largely a literary conceit rather than a true goddess of Roman religion.
(Latin Fata or Parcae; Greek Moirae)
Hesiod gives the Greek Moirae as Atropos, Clotho and Lachesis. Their Roman counterparts were Decima, Nona (goddesses of birth) and Morta (goddess of death).
(Fatua, Bona Dea, Bona Mater)
Roman goddess of nature and fertility. Her husband was Faunus. Her festival was on December 4.
Roman god of crops, herds and fertility. An oracular deity as well as a woodland deity. He was the son of Picus and the husband of Fauna. The Romans regarded him as a counterpart of the Greek Pan.
The Roman god of the west wind. Equivalent to the Greek Zephyros.
Roman goddess of fever.
Roman personification of fertility.
Roman goddess of good luck and happiness.
Roman goddess of orchards and woodland.
Roman goddess of good faith, honesty and oaths. Her festival day was October 1.
Roman goddess of fruitfulness and flowers. Her husband was Favonus (Zephyrus), the god of the west wind. Her festival was the Floralia, noted for its sexual license, observed from April 28 to May 1.
Roman god of springs. Son of Janus and Juturna. His festival was observed on October 13.
Roman goddess of bread-making. Her festival was observed on February 17.
Roman goddess of fate and chance, earlier of prosperity. She was an equivalent of the Greek goddess Tyche. Her symbol was the wheel of fortune. Other attributes include a globe, rudder and a cornucopia. Her festival was observed on June 24.
Roman goddess; the personification of treachery.
Roman goddess of lightning.
(Latin Furiae or Poenae)
Roman goddesses of vengeance, equivalent to the Greek Erinyes.
Roman goddess of thieves.
Etruscan/Roman protective spirits.
Roman protective god or spirit of individuals, clans, groups and the state.
Roman tutelary spirit of a particular place.
Greek Charites (qv). The Romans referred to them as the Gratiae, which differ little from the Charites.
Roman name for the Graces. See Charites.
Roman form of the Greek Herakles. To the Romans, Hercules was a god of merchants and traders.
Roman goddess of horses.
Roman god of military honour. Depicted as a young warrior bearing a lance and a cornucopia.
Roman name for deified mortal heroes, such as Aeneas, Heracles and Romulus.
Old Latin god of herds.
Minor Roman goddess. Consort of Janus.
Roman god of passage, of doorways (januae), archways (jani), and of beginnings and endings. Also a god of the threshold between the old year and the new, in token of which he gave his name to the month of January. His jurisdiction included gates, harbours, travel, daybreak -- things which had the sense of beginning or going out. Janus was said to be the son of Apollo and Creusa, although he had no Greek equivalent. His consort was Jana. He was the father of Tiberinus by Camasena, of Fontus by Juturna, and of Canens by Venilia. Janus was depicted either as two-faced (Bifrons) or four-faced (Quadrifons). His attributes included keys and a staff. The doors of his temple in Rome were kept locked in peacetime and thrown open in wartime. His festival was the Agonium, which was held on January 9. The beginning of the day, month, season and year were sacred to him.
An alternative name for the Roman god Jupiter (qv).
The chief Roman goddess, equivalent to the Greek goddess Hera. In general she was the goddess of women, particularly associated with the institution of marriage. Juno was also the female counterpart of the male Genius: just as each man had his individual genius, so every wRoman had her individual juno. She was also known as Juno Lucina in her capacity as goddess of childbirth, Juno Moneta in her capacity as goddess of finance, and Juno Regina in her capacity as protectress of the Roman Empire. She was the daughter of Saturn and Rhea, and the sister and consort of Jupiter. Mother of Mars, Vulcan and Juventas. The month of June was named after her. Juno was honoured with two festivals: the Matronalia on March 1 and the Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig") on July 7.
(Iuppiter, Juppiter, Jove, Diespiter)
Chief Roman god, originally a sky god and a god of light. He was later equated with the Greek Zeus, although the origins of both have been traced back to a hypothetical Indo-European sky god, indicating that the similarity in their roles was not entirely due to Roman copying of a Greek original. Jupiter was also a god of thunder (Jupiter Tonans) and lightning (Jupiter Fulgurator). With the military expansion of Rome, Jupiter took on appropriate characteristics as Jupiter Victor and Jupiter Stator ("Jupiter Protector"). Jupiter was also important as a god of oaths, contracts and treaties. His consort was Juno. Jupiter's main sanctuary was the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus ("Jupiter, Best and Greatest") on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, which was originally constructed by the Etruscans before they were overcome by the nascent Roman Republic. On the Capitol, he formed a trinity with Juno and Minerva. The Ides of each month (13 or 15) and the full moon were sacred to him. He was also worshipped at the festival of the Vinalia on August 19, which he shared with Venus.
Roman goddess of justice.
Roman goddess of wells and springs. She was the mother of Fontus by Janus. Her festival was held on January 11 (the Carmentalia).
Roman goddess of youth, particularly young men of military age. Her Greek equivalent was Hebe.
Roman god of agriculture. Said to make the crops 'yield milk', i.e. thrive.
Roman god of the house. See LAres.
Roman tutelary deities, particularly of households (LAres Familiaris). They were said to be the children of Mercury and the naiad Lara.
Roman guardian deities of crossroads. Their festival was held on January 5.
Roman tutelary deities of the home and the family, particularly associated with the hearth. Each home had a small shrine, the lararium, dedicated to these deities, typically depicted as a pair of dancing youths.
Roman tutelary deities of travellers.
Roman spirits or ghosts. See Lemures.
Roman counterpart of the Greek Leto.
Old Italic underworld goddess. Libations to her were poured out with the left hand.
Roman malignant spirits or ghosts of the dead, believed to wander about at night.
Old Italic fertility god. Originally associated with animal husbandry and the cultivation of crops, he was later equated with the Greek Dionysos. He was part of a chthonic triad including Libera and Ceres. His festival, shared with his consort Libera, was the Liberalia, celebrated on March 17.
Old Italic fertility goddess. She was later equated with the Greek Persephone. She was part of a chthonic triad with Liber and Ceres. Her festival, shared with her consort Liber, was the Liberalia, celebrated on March 17.
Roman god of generosity.
Roman god of human and agricultural fertility, linked with Dionysus.
Roman goddess of freedom and constitutional government. Her attributes included the pileus (the cap worn by freed slaves) and a sceptre or lance. Her principal sanctuary was a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome.
Roman goddess of death and funerals.
Roman name for the morning star. Equivalent to the Greek Eosphoros.
Roman goddess of childbirth.
"Moon". Roman goddess of the moon. Equated with the Greek Selene and, to some extent, Hekate. Her principal sanctuary was a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome. Her festival was on March 31.
Roman god of flocks and fertility. He was also a god of wolves, presumably in the capacity of a protector of domestic animals against wolves. His festival was the Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15.
Roman goddess of fertility, associated with Fauna.
Roman goddess of honour and reverence.
Roman collective name for the spirits of the dead, who inhabited the Underworld. The Manes were honoured in the festival of the Parentalia, from February 13 to February 21. All temples were closed during the festival.
Roman goddess of the dead.
(Marspiter, Mamers, Marmar, Mavors)
Roman god of war and, at least in early Roman history, a god of agriculture. Equated with the Greek Ares. Son of Jupiter and Juno. He was the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Ilia. As a result, Romans styled themselves 'sons of Mars'. He was typically depicted as a warrior in full battle regalia wearing a crested helmet and bearing a shield (the sacred Ancile) and lance. He is often linked with the goddess Bellona, who drove his chariot. The main sanctuaries of Mars were the temple in the Campus Martius ("Field of Mars") in Rome and the temple of Mars Ultor ("Mars the Avenger") built under Augustus. The month of March was named after him, and he had a festival on March 1 called the Feriae Marti, which was the New Year's Day in the old Roman calendar. Another festival at which Mars was honoured was the Armilustrium on October 19, when military arms were ritually purified and put in storage for winter.
Old Italic goddess of the dawn. She later developed into a goddess of women and childbirth. Furthermore, in her later equation with the Greek goddess Ino, she came to be regarded as a tutelary goddess of seafarers. Her festival was the Matralia, observed on June 11.
Roman goddess of healing. Her festival was the Meditrinalia held on October 11.
Roman goddess of sulphur springs.
Roman goddess of bees.
Roman goddess of menstruation.
Roman messenger god and god of merchants and travellers. Equated with the Greek Hermes. Son of Jupiter and Maia. He had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome, said to date from 495 BC, as well as a shrine in the Circus Maximus. His festival was the Mercuralia, observed on May 15. Mercury is depicted as holding a purse, symbolic of his association with commerce, as well as the winged sandals (talaria), winged cap (petasus) and staff (caduceus) taken over from the Greek Hermes. According to Juvenal, posts topped by marble heads of Mercury were placed at the intersections of Roman roads.
Minor Roman god of agriculture.
Roman goddess of war, and secondarily a goddess of wisdom and the arts and trades. As Minerva Medica she was regarded as a patroness of physicians. Equated with the Greek Athena, though she may derive originally from the Etruscan Menrva. Daughter of Jupiter. Her main festivals were the Minervalia and Quinquatria (March 19- 23). She shared the main temple on the Capitoline Hill as part of a triad with Jupiter and Juno, and also had a temple on the Aventine Hill in her capacity as Minerva Medica.
Greco-Roman name of Mithra. Mithras became popular as a god of soldiers in the Roman Empire beginning in the first and second centuries AD. He was regarded as a god of loyalty and truth, and of the struggle aginst evil. The cult of Mithraism excluded women, and its rites were conducted in underground temples known as mithraea (sing. mithraeum). The central rite involved the ritual slaughter of a bull, symbolizing the regeneration of life and the world.
Roman goddess of prosperity.
Roman god of death. Equated with the Greek Thanatos.
Roman goddess of death, who later became associated with Decima and Nona as one of the Roman Fates.
Roman goddess of silence.
Roman fertility god. Depicted as ithyphallic or as a phallus. He was invoked by women seeking to bear children.
Roman goddess of funerals.
Roman goddess of destiny.
Roman god of the sea. Neptune was originally a minor Roman god of fresh waters until he was equated with the Greek Poseidon. He may be derived from the Etruscan god of water, Nethuns. Husband of Salacia. Also a god of horse-racing. His festival, the Neptunalia, was held on July 23, the height of the midsummer drought, probably a reference to Neptune's original role as a god of the fresh waters essential to agriculture. Otherwise, Neptune's representation in art and literature was essentially identical with that of Poseidon.
Roman goddess of birth. Her name means ninth month, an allusion to the term of pregnancy. She later became associated with the goddesses Decima and Morta as one of the Roman Fates.
Roman goddess of the harvest. She also governs the proper growth of the seed. Consort of Saturn. Equated with the Greek goddess Rhea. Her festival was the harvest festival of the Opiconsivia, observed on August 25.
Roman god of the underworld. Equivalent to the Greek Hades. In many respects, he is also interchangeable with the Roman gods Dis Pater and Pluto.
Roman goddess of flocks and herds (originally male). Her festival, the Parilia, was celebrated on April 21. The Parilia was said to be the 'birthday of Rome', commemorating the day Romulus was said to have drawn the first furrow laying the foundations of the Roma Quadrata, the oldest part of the city of Rome.
Twin Sicilian gods associated with a pair of geysers near Palagonia still known as the Lago dei Palici. Their shrine became a sanctuary for slaves, and as such played a prominent symbolic role in the Sicilian slave revolts of the 2nd century BC. The Palici were later identified as the offspring of either Zeus and Thalia or Hephaestus and Aetna.
Roman goddesses of fate. Originally they included only the pair of Decima and Nona, both goddesses of birth. Later, under the influence of the Greek Fates, the Moirai, the goddess of death Morta (Parca) was added to form a triad.
Minor Roman goddess of birth, concerned with parturition.
Roman goddess of peace. Equated with the Greek Eirene. She was first recognized as a goddess proper under Augustus. An altar of Pax Augusta was erected at the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) in 9 BC, and a temple of Pax was completed under Vespasian in AD 75. She was depicted as a young wRoman bearing a cornucopia, an olive branch and a garland of corn. Her festival was celebrated on January 3.
Roman household gods. Originally they were gods of the storeroom (penus), but their role gradually expanded to include the entire household. They were associated with, but not identical with, other household deities such as Vesta and the LAres. They were represented by small statues gathered together in a household shrine, to which offerings of food were made. The Roman state also had its Penates, the Penates Publici, which were the focus of a state cult.
Woodpecker". Roman woodland god in the form of a woodpecker. Also an agricultural deity associated with the fertilization of the soil with manure. The woodpecker was sacred to the god Mars, and played an important role in Roman augury. Later Roman writers made Picus an early Italian king, while Virgil made him the son of Saturn and the father of Faunus. In early Roman art, Picus was depicted as a wooden pillar surmounted by a woodpecker. He later came to be represented as a youth with a woodpecker perched on his head.
Roman goddess personifying respect and fidelity to gods, country and relatives. A sanctuary in Rome was dedicated to Pietas as early as 191 BC.
Minor Roman god, given variously as a god of agriculture or a guardian deity of infants at birth.
Roman god of the Underworld. Derived from the Greek Hades (qv), and largely indistinguishable from him. However, in Roman tradition the entrance to hell was said to be at Avernus in Rome.
Roman goddess of punishment.
Roman goddess of fruit trees. After spurning the advances of many suitors, she eventually became the wife of the god Vertumnus, although some sources make her the wife of Picus.
Roman god of gates, doors and harbours. In other words, a god associated with the entrance to both the city and the home. As a god of ports, he came to be equated with the Greek Melicertes. His festival, the Portunalia, was celebrated on Auguts 17. At his festival, keys were thrown into the fire in order to bless them. He was depicted as a youth bearing keys.
Roman god of plenty.
Roman goddess of the past.
Roman goddess associated with children's potions or the safe drinking ability of children.
Roman name for Greek goddess Persephone.
Roman goddess of forethought.
Roman goddess of chastity. Depicted as a matronly figure wearing a veil or heavy clothing. Her cult went out of fashion with the increasing decadence of the Roman Empire.
Roman god of war, similar to Mars, but later identified with the deified Romulus. He formed part of a triad with the other war gods Jupiter and Mars. His consort was Hora. He seems to have originated as a Sabine god whose centre of worship was the Sabine settlement on the Quirinal, later one of the seven hills of Rome. His festival, the Quirinalia, was observed on February 17. He was depicted as bearded and wearing clothing that was partly military and partly clerical. The myrtle was his sacred plant.
Roman corn goddess.
Roman corn god. More specifically the god of mildew or wheat rust who was propitiated to safeguard the wheat crop against this common disease. His festival, the Robigalia, was celebrated on April 25.
Roman goddess personifying the city of Rome. Her head was commonly depicted on coins, symbolizing the Roman state.
Legendary founder of Rome, later revered as the god Quirinus (qv).
Roman goddess of nursing mothers and suckling infants (both human and animal).
Roman goddess of springs. Consort of Neptune.
"Salvation". Roman goddess of public safety and welfare who later became a goddess of health equated with the Greek Hygieia. She had a temple on the Quirinal, one of the seven hills of Rome, dating to 302 BC. Her festival was on March 30. An annual sacrifice was also held at her temple on August 5.
Roman god of agriculture concerned with the sowing of seed. Equated with the Greek god Kronos. His consort was either Lua or Ops. He was the father of Jupiter. His temple was constructed in the Roman Forum as early as the fifth century BC. It served as the Roman treasury (aerarium). His festival was the Saturnalia, observed on December 17 but later extended to seven days. It was the most popular Roman festival, characterized by a suspension of all business, a reversal of the roles of master and slave, the exchange of gifts (including candles to symbolize the winter darkness), and a loosening of moral restrictions. Our Saturday was named after Saturn.
Roman goddess, a personification of security. She was later invoked to ensure the continuing stability of the Roman Empire.
Roman god of woodlands and of the countryside in general. He may have developed from the Etruscan god Selvans. He was usually depicted as a rustic peasant. Silvanus had no official cult, but was very popular among the common people, who typically worshipped him in a sacred grove or tree.
"Sun". Roman sun god. Equated with the Greek Helios. Under the name of Sol Indiges ("the indigenous Sol"), he had a temple on the Quirinal hill in Rome. During the period of the Empire, the worship of Syrian sun deities were incorporated in a new Sol Invictus ("the unconquered Sol"). The emperor Elagabalus (AD 218- 222) built a temple to him on the Palatine hill. Sol came to be worshipped as the protector of the emperors. The festival of Sol Indiges was observed on August 9.
Roman god of sleep. Equated with the Greek Hypnos.
Roman god of luck.
"Hope". Roman goddess of hope. Also a goddess of gardens.
Roman goddess of strength and vigour.
Roman bird-like demons. Descendants of the Harpies, they preyed on children.
Roman goddess of persuasion.
"Earth". Roman earth goddess. Also a goddes of corn (wheat) and of the dead (who return to her). Believed to date back a very primitive period in Roman religion. Later equated with the Greco- Phrygian mother goddess Cybele. Her temple was constructed on the Esquiline Hill in Rome circa 268 BC. She had two festivals, the Fordicidia on April 15 and the Sementivae on December 13.
Roman goddess of storms.
"Boundary Stone". Roman god of boundaries and border markers. There was believed to be a curse placed on anyone who removed a boundary stone. His festival, the Terminalia, was observed on February 23, the end of the old Roman year.
Roman river god of the river Tiber. Some Roman writers claim that the river was originally known as the Albula, in reference to the white colour of its waters, but later renamed after Tiberinus, the king of Alba Longa who drowned in it. His temple stood on an island in the river. His consort was said to be Rhea Silvia, the Vestal virgin sacrificed by drowning in the river. In early Roman history there was a proscription against the use of iron in bridges across the Tiber, which were constructed wholly of wood until well into the Republican period.
The Roman emperor Trajan was worshipped as a god under this name in some parts of Russia.
Roman goddess of love and beauty. She was originally associated with vegetable gardens. She later came to be equated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, whose myths she took over. Her cult was apparently a late import to Rome from the surrounding Latin peoples. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Dione. Her consorts included Mars and Vulcan, modelled on the relationships of Aphrodite with Ares and Hephaistos. Her importance rose with the political fortunes of the gens Julia, the clan of Julius Caesar, who claimed descent from Venus via Aeneas and Julia. Caesar introduced the cult of Venus as a goddess of marriage and motherhood, Venus Genetrix, under which name he constructed a temple at the Forum in her honour. She became identified with many foreign goddesses, including Ishtar, whence came her identification with the planet we now know as Venus. Her festival, the Veneralia, was celebrated on April 1.
"Truth". Roman goddess of truth. Daughter of Saturn.
Roman god of the seasons, gardens and orchards. Also god of change (Latin vertere = to turn, change), particularly of the changing year. He appears to have been derived from the Etruscan god Voltumna. He was the consort of Pomona. He had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome, dedicated in 264 BC. His festival, the Vertumnalia, was observed on August 13.
Roman goddess of the hearth. Equated with the Greek Hestia. She had a round temple at the foot of the Palatine Hill in Rome. She had an elaborate state cult, and was also worshipped in Roman homes along with the LAres and Penates. Vesta was symbolized by the sacred fire maintained within her temple by the Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins, whose term of office lasted at least thirty years, were expected to keep strict vows of chastity, on penalty of death. The ass was regarded as sacred to her, and asses were adorned with wreaths on her festival day. Her festival, the Vestalia, was observed on June 9.
Roman goddess of victory. Equated with the Greek Nike. She had a temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Regarded as a protector of the Empire, she was often portrayed on Roman coins.
Minor Roman god. Consort of Diana.
Roman god of manly courage and military prowess.
Roman protective goddess of the nursery.
Roman god of fire, particularly of destructive fire. Equated with the Greek Hephaistos (qv), from whom he derives many of his aspects and myths, including the association with blacksmiths and forges. He was believed to have a forge under Mt Aetna. Vulcan was also the tutelary deity of the Roman seaport of Ostia. Because of the dangerous nature of fire, his temples were generally located outside the cities. His festival, the Volcanalia, was observed on August 23, during the height of the Mediterranean drought and the period of highest risk from fire. During the festival, fish were thrown into fires, presumably as an offering meant to invoke the god's assistance in warding off destructive fires.