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Vulcan, Neptune, Mercury and Minerva, Herculaneum

Vulcan, Neptune, Mercury and Minerva, Herculaneum

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Vulcan (mythology)

Vulcan (Latin: Volcānus [wɔɫˈkaːnʊs] or Vulcānus [wʊɫˈkaːnʊs] ) is the god of fire [4] including the fire of volcanoes, deserts, metalworking and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. He is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. [5] The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.

Vulcan belongs to the most ancient stage of Roman religion: Varro, the ancient Roman scholar and writer, citing the Annales Maximi, records that king Titus Tatius dedicated altars to a series of deities including Vulcan. [6]


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Vulcan, in Roman religion, god of fire, particularly in its destructive aspects as volcanoes or conflagrations. Poetically, he is given all the attributes of the Greek Hephaestus. His worship was very ancient, and at Rome he had his own priest (flamen). His chief festival, the Volcanalia, was held on August 23 and was marked by a rite of unknown significance: the heads of Roman families threw small fish into the fire. Vulcan was invoked to avert fires, as his epithets Quietus and Mulciber (Fire Allayer) suggest. Because he was a deity of destructive fire, his temples were properly located outside the city. In Roman myth Vulcan was the father of Caeculus, founder of Praeneste (now Palestrina, Italy). His story is told by Servius, the 4th-century- ad commentator on Virgil. Vulcan was also father of the monster Cacus, who was killed by Hercules for stealing his cattle, as Virgil relates in Book VIII of the Aeneid.

Origin of the Roman gods

The exact origin of the Roman gods dates back to the primitive peoples who went to the region of Rome, in principle with few gods, although always polytheistic .

These had a series of gods to improve crops or for rain, and that were invoked in special circumstances . While the growth and development of the empire took place, there was a deep contact with other cultures, mainly with Greek culture , and from this began the adaptation of other gods.

These gods were integrated as their own figures and had Roman names and some distinctive characteristics, but they fulfilled similar functions to their Greek counterparts.

The image that we currently know of the Roman gods was adopted in the time of the Etruscans , in the 6th century BC. C., when it began to represent the other gods with form and Roman costumes.


Certain honorifics and titles could be shared by different gods, divine personifications, demi-gods and divi (deified mortals).

Augustus and Augusta Edit

Augustus, "the elevated or august one" (masculine form) is an honorific and title awarded to Octavian in recognition of his unique status, the extraordinary range of his powers, and the apparent divine approval of his principate. After his death and deification, the title was awarded to each of his successors. It also became a near ubiquitous title or honour for various minor local deities, including the Lares Augusti of local communities, and obscure provincial deities such as the North African Marazgu Augustus. This extension of an Imperial honorific to major and minor deities of Rome and her provinces is considered a ground-level feature of Imperial cult.

Augusta, the feminine form, is an honorific and title associated with the development and dissemination of Imperial cult as applied to Roman Empresses, whether living, deceased or deified as divae. The first Augusta was Livia, wife of Octavian, and the title is then shared by various state goddesses including Bona Dea, Ceres, Juno, Minerva, and Ops by many minor or local goddesses and by the female personifications of Imperial virtues such as Pax and Victoria.

Bonus and Bona Edit

The epithet Bonus, "the Good," is used in Imperial ideology with abstract deities such as Bona Fortuna ("Good Fortune"), Bona Mens ("Good Thinking" or "Sound Mind"), and Bona Spes ("Valid Hope," perhaps to be translated as "Optimism"). During the Republic, the epithet may be most prominent with Bona Dea, "the Good Goddess" whose rites were celebrated by women. Bonus Eventus, "Good Outcome", was one of Varro's twelve agricultural deities, and later represented success in general. [2]

Caelestis Edit

From the middle Imperial period, the title Caelestis, "Heavenly" or "Celestial" is attached to several goddesses embodying aspects of a single, supreme Heavenly Goddess. The Dea Caelestis was identified with the constellation Virgo ("The Virgin"), who holds the divine balance of justice. In the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, [3] the protagonist Lucius prays to the Hellenistic Egyptian goddess Isis as Regina Caeli, "Queen of Heaven", who is said to manifest also as Ceres, "the original nurturing parent" Heavenly Venus (Venus Caelestis) the "sister of Phoebus", that is, Diana or Artemis as she is worshipped at Ephesus or Proserpina as the triple goddess of the underworld. Juno Caelestis was the Romanised form of the Carthaginian Tanit. [4]

Grammatically, the form Caelestis can also be a masculine word, but the equivalent function for a male deity is usually expressed through syncretization with Caelus, as in Caelus Aeternus Iuppiter, "Jupiter the Eternal Sky."

Invictus Edit

Invictus ("Unconquered, Invincible") was in use as a divine epithet by the early 3rd century BC. In the Imperial period, it expressed the invincibility of deities embraced officially, such as Jupiter, Mars, Hercules, and Sol. On coins, calendars, and other inscriptions, Mercury, Saturn, Silvanus, Fons, Serapis, Sabazius, Apollo, and the Genius are also found as Invictus. Cicero considers it a normal epithet for Jupiter, in regard to whom it is probably a synonym for Omnipotens. It is also used in the Mithraic mysteries. [6]

Mater and Pater Edit

Mater ("Mother") was an honorific that respected a goddess's maternal authority and functions, and not necessarily "motherhood" per se. Early examples included Terra Mater (Mother Earth) and the Mater Larum (Mother of the Lares). Vesta, a goddess of chastity usually conceived of as a virgin, was honored as Mater. A goddess known as Stata Mater was a compital deity credited with preventing fires in the city. [7]

From the middle Imperial era, the reigning Empress becomes Mater castrorum et senatus et patriae, the symbolic Mother of military camps, the senate, and the fatherland. The Gallic and Germanic cavalry (auxilia) of the Roman Imperial army regularly set up altars to the "Mothers of the Field" (Campestres, from campus, "field," with the title Matres or Matronae). [8] See also Magna Mater (Great Mother) following.

Gods were called Pater ("Father") to signify their preeminence and paternal care, and the filial respect owed to them. Pater was found as an epithet of Dis, Jupiter, Mars, and Liber, among others.

Magna Mater Edit

"The Great Mother" was a title given to Cybele in her Roman cult. Some Roman literary sources accord the same title to Maia and other goddesses. [9]

Even in invocations, which generally required precise naming, the Romans sometimes spoke of gods as groups or collectives rather than naming them as individuals. Some groups, such as the Camenae and Parcae, were thought of as a limited number of individual deities, even though the number of these might not be given consistently in all periods and all texts. The following groups, however, are numberless collectives.

Spatial tripartition Edit

Varro grouped the gods broadly into three divisions of heaven, earth, and underworld:

  • di superi, the gods above or heavenly gods, whose altars were designated as altaria. [10]
  • di terrestres, "terrestrial gods," whose altars were designated as arae.
  • di inferi, the gods below, that is, the gods of the underworld, infernal or chthonic gods, whose altars were foci, fire pits or specially constructed hearths.

More common is a dualistic contrast between superi and inferi.

Di indigetes and novensiles Edit

The di indigetes were thought by Georg Wissowa to be Rome's indigenous deities, in contrast to the di novensides or novensiles, "newcomer gods". No ancient source, however, poses this dichotomy, which is not generally accepted among scholars of the 21st century. The meaning of the epithet indiges (singular) has no scholarly consensus, and noven may mean "nine" (novem) rather than "new".

Triads Edit

Groupings of twelve Edit

Lectisternium of 217 BC Edit

A lectisternium is a banquet for the gods, at which they appear as images seated on couches, as if present and participating. In describing the lectisternium of the Twelve Great gods in 217 BC, the Augustan historian Livy places the deities in gender-balanced pairs: [13]

Divine male-female complements such as these, as well as the anthropomorphic influence of Greek mythology, contributed to a tendency in Latin literature to represent the gods as "married" couples or (as in the case of Venus and Mars) lovers. [ citation needed ]

Dii Consentes Edit

Varro uses the name Dii Consentes for twelve deities whose gilded images stood in the forum. These were also placed in six male-female pairs. [14] Although individual names are not listed, they are assumed to be the deities of the lectisternium. A fragment from Ennius, within whose lifetime the lectisternium occurred, lists the same twelve deities by name, though in a different order from that of Livy: Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Jove, Neptunus, Vulcanus, Apollo. [15]

The Dii Consentes are sometimes seen as the Roman equivalent of the Greek Olympians. The meaning of Consentes is subject to interpretation, but is usually taken to mean that they form a council or consensus of deities.

Di Flaminales Edit

The three Roman deities cultivated by major flamens [16] Edit

Twelve Roman deities attended by the minor flamens Edit

Di selecti Edit

Varro [18] gives a list of twenty principal gods of Roman religion:

Sabine gods Edit

Varro, who was himself of Sabine origin, gives a list of Sabine gods who were adopted by the Romans:

Elsewhere, Varro claims Sol Indiges, who had a sacred grove at Lavinium, as Sabine but at the same time equates him with Apollo. [21] Of those listed, he writes, "several names have their roots in both languages, as trees that grow on a property line creep into both fields. Saturn, for instance, can be said to have another origin here, and so too Diana." [22] Varro makes various claims for Sabine origins throughout his works, some more plausible than others, and his list should not be taken at face value. [23] But the importance of the Sabines in the early cultural formation of Rome is evidenced, for instance, by the bride abduction of the Sabine women by Romulus's men, and in the Sabine ethnicity of Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, to whom are attributed many of Rome's religious and legal institutions. [24] Varro, however, says that the altars to most of these gods were established at Rome by King Tatius as the result of a vow (votum). [25]


The theology of Neptune may only be reconstructed to some degree, as since very early times he was identified with the Greek god Poseidon: his presence in the lectisternium of 399 BC is a testimony to the fact. [8] Such an identification may well be grounded in the strict relationship between the Latin and Greek theologies of the two deities. [9] It has been argued that Indo-European people, having no direct knowledge of the sea as they originated from inland areas, reused the theology of a deity originally either chthonic or wielding power over inland freshwaters as the god of the sea. [10] This feature has been preserved particularly well in the case of Neptune who was definitely a god of springs, lakes, and rivers before becoming also a god of the sea, as is testified by the numerous findings of inscriptions mentioning him in the proximity of such locations. Servius the grammarian also explicitly states Neptune is in charge of all the rivers, springs, and waters. He also is the lord of horses because he worked with Minerva to make the chariot. [11]

He may find a parallel in Irish god Nechtan, master of the well from which all the rivers of the world flow out and flow back to.

Poseidon on the other hand underwent the process of becoming the main god of the sea at a much earlier time, as is shown in the Iliad. [12]

In the earlier times, it was the god Portunus or Fortunus who was thanked for naval victories, but Neptune supplanted him in this role by at least the first century BC when Sextus Pompeius called himself "son of Neptune." [13] For a time he was paired with Salacia, the goddess of the saltwater. [14]

Neptune was also considered the legendary progenitor god of a Latin stock, the Faliscans, who called themselves Neptunia proles. In this respect he was the equivalent of Mars, Janus, Saturn and even Jupiter among Latin tribes. Salacia would represent the virile force of Neptune. [15]

Neptunalia Edit

The Neptunalia was the festival of Neptune on July 23, at the height of summer. The date and the construction of tree-branch shelters [16] suggest a primitive role for Neptune as god of water sources in the summer's drought and heat. [17]

The most ancient Roman calendar set the feriae of Neptunus on July 23, two days after the Lucaria of July 19 and 21 and two days before the Furrinalia of July 25.

Georg Wissowa had already remarked that festivals falling in a range of three days are complementary. Dumézil elaborated that these festivals in some way were all related to the importance of water during the period of summer heat (canicula) and drought, when river and spring waters are at their lowest.

Founding his analysis on the works of Palladius and Columella Dumézil argues that while the Lucaria were devoted to the dressing of woods, clearing the undergrown bushes by cutting on the 19, then by uprooting and burning on the 21, [18] the Neptunalia were devoted to works of conservation and draining of superficial waters, thus corresponding to the Lucaria of 19, that required only work above the ground.

Then the Furrinalia of July 25, sacred to Furrina goddess of springs and wells, were devoted to those waters which had to be captured by drilling, i.e. required the work of man, thereby corresponding to the Lucaria of 21, which equally entailed human action upon the soil.

The Furrinalia are explained by Dumézil on the grounds of the hydraulic works prescribed by Palladius on this day, i.e. the drilling of wells to detect and capture underground water: the visible and the hidden waters are thus dealt with on separate, albeit next, occasions: the Neptunalia and Furrinalia. This complementarity between Neptunalia and Furrinalia corresponds to that between the first and second Lucaria, forming in fact two complementary couplets.

In recorded times the Neptunalia were spent in outings under branch huts (umbrae, casae frondeae), in a wood between the Tiber and the Via Salaria, drinking springwater and wine to escape the heat. It looks the Neptunalia were a time of general, free and unrestrained merrymaking, during which men and women mixed without the usual Roman traditional social constraints. [19] This character of the festival as well as the fact that Neptune was offered the sacrifice of a bull would point to an agricultural fertility context. [20]

Temples Edit

In Rome Neptune had only one temple. It stood near the Circus Flaminius, the Roman racetrack, in the southern part of the Campus Martius. It already existed in 206 BC. [21] It appears on a coin struck by Gn. Domitius Ahenobarbus around 40 BC doubtless because of a restoration carried out by this personage. It contained a famous sculpture of a marine group by Scopas Minor. [22] [23] The Basilica Neptuni, was built on the Campus Martius and dedicated by Agrippa in honour of the naval victory of Actium. [24] This building substituted the older temple, which in its turn substituted a more ancient altar. [25]

Sacrifices Edit

Neptune is one of only four Roman gods to whom it was appropriate to sacrifice bulls, the other three being Apollo, Mars and Jupiter, although Vulcan was also allowed the offering of a red bull and a red bull calf. [26] The wrong offering would require a piaculum if due to inadvertency or necessity. The type of offering implies a stricter connection between the deity and the worldly realm. [27]

Paredrae Edit

Paredrae are entities who pair or accompany a god. They represent the fundamental aspects or the powers of the god with whom they are associated. In Roman religion they are often female. In later times under Hellenising influence they came to be considered as separate deities and consorts of the god. [28] However this misconception might have been widespread in earlier folk belief. [29] In the view of Dumézil, [30] Neptune's two paredrae Salacia and Venilia represent the overpowering and the tranquil aspects of water, both natural and domesticated: Salacia would impersonate the gushing, overbearing waters and Venilia the still or quietly flowing waters. [31] Dumézil's interpretation has though been varied as he also stated that the jolt implied by Salacia's name, the attitude to be salax lustful, must underline a feature characteristic of the god. [32]

Salacia and Venilia have been discussed by scholars both ancient and modern. Varro connects the first to salum, sea, and the second to ventus, wind. [33] Festus writes of Salacia that she is the deity that generates the motion of the sea. [34] While Venilia would cause the waves to come to the shore Salacia would cause their retreating towards the high sea. [35] The issue has been discussed in many passages by Christian philosopher St. Augustine. He devotes one full chapter of his De Civitate Dei to mocking the inconsistencies inherent in the theological definition of the two entitites: since Salacia would denote the nether part of the sea, he wonders how could it be possible that she be also the retreating waves, as waves are a phenomenon of the surface of the sea. [35] Elsewhere he writes that Venilia would be the "hope that comes", one of the aspects or powers of the all encompassing Jupiter understood as anima mundi. [36]

Servius in his commentary to the Aeneid also writes about Salacia and Venilia in various passages, e.g. V 724: "(Venus) dicitur et Salacia, quae proprie meretricum dea appellata est a veteribus": "(Venus) is also called Salacia, who was particularly named goddess of prostitutes by the ancient". Elsewhere he writes that Salacia and Venilia are indeed the same entity. [37]

Among modern scholars Dumézil with his followers Bloch and Schilling centre their interpretation of Neptune on the more direct, concrete, limited value and functions of water. Accordingly, Salacia would represent the forceful and violent aspect of gushing and overflowing water, Venilia the tranquil, gentle aspect of still or slowly flowing water.

Preller, Fowler, Petersmann and Takács attribute to the theology of Neptune broader significance as a god of universal worldly fertility, particularly relevant to agriculture and human reproduction. Thence they interpret Salacia as personifying lust and Venilia as related to venia, the attitude of ingratiating, attraction, connected with love and desire for reproduction. Ludwig Preller remarked a significant aspect of Venilia mentioning that she was recorded in the indigitamenta also as a deity of longing, desire. He thinks this fact would allow to explain the theonym in the same way as that of Venus. [38] Other data seem to point in the same direction: Salacia would be the parallel of Thetis as the mother of Achilles, while Venilia would be the mother of Turnus and Iuturna, whom she mothered with Daunus king of the Rutulians. According to another source Venilia would be the partner of Janus, with whom she mothered the nymph Canens loved by Picus. [39] These mythical data underline the reproductive function envisaged in the figures of Neptune's paredrae, particularly that of Venilia in childbirth and motherhood. A legendary king Venulus was remembered at Tibur and Lavinium. [40]

Poseidon was connected to the horse since the earliest times, well before any connection of him with the sea was attested, and may even have originally been conceived under equine form. Such a feature is a reflection of his own chronic, violent, brutal nature as earth-quaker, as well as of the link of the horse with springs, i.e. underground water, and the psychopompous character inherent in this animal. [41]

There is no such direct connection in Rome. Neptune does not show any direct equine character or linkage.

Relation to Consus Edit

On the other hand, Roman god Consus was associated with horses: his underground altar was located in the valley of the Circus Maximus at the foot of the Palatine, the place of horse races. On the day of his summer festival (August 21), the Consualia aestiva, it was customary to bring horses and mules in procession crowned with flowers and then hold equine races in the Circus. [42] According to tradition this occasion was chosen to enact the abduction of the Sabine (and Latin) women. The episode might bear a reflection of the traditional sexual licence of such occasions. [43] On that day the flamen Quirinalis and the vestal virgins sacrificed on the underground altar of Consus. The fact the two festivals of Consus were followed after an equal interval of four days by the two festivals of Ops (Opeconsivia on August 25 and Opalia on December 19) testifies to the strict relationship between the two deities as both pertaining to agricultural plenty, or in Dumezilian terminology to the third function. In Dumézil's view this fact shows the radically different symbolic value of the horse in the theology of Poseidon and of Consus. Tertullian (De Spectaculis V 7) states that according to Roman tradition Consus was the god who had advised Romulus on the abduction of the Sabines. [44]

Perhaps under the influence of Poseidon Ίππιος Consus, whose festival entailed horse races, was reinterpreted as Neptunus equestris and for his underground altar also identified with Poseidon Ένοσίχθων. Moreover, the etymology of Poseidon, understood as from Posis lord, husband and De grain or Earth, may have contributed to the identification of Consus with Neptune. [45] The archaic and arcane character of his cult, which required the unearthing of the altar, are signs of the great antiquity of this deity and of his chthonic character. On the basis of Augustine (De Civitate Dei IV 8 about the role of Tutilina in assuring the safety of stored grain), Dumézil interprets its name as derived from verb condere to hide, store, as a verbal noun in -u parallel to Sancus and Janus, meaning god of stored grains. [46] A direct identification of Consus with Poseidon in spite of all the data pointing to it is the fact that Poseidon is nowhere worshipped on underground shrines or altars. [47]

Martianus Capella places Neptune and Consus together in region X of Heaven: it might be that he followed an already old interpretatio graeca of Consus or he might be reflecting an Etruscan idea of a chthonic Neptune which is apparent in the recommendation of the De Haruspicum Responso [48] stating the need of expiations to Neptune for the prodigy of the cracking sounds heard underground in the ager latiniensis. Etruscans were particularly fond of horse races. [49]

Nethuns is the Etruscan name of the god. In the past it has been believed that the Roman theonym derived from Etruscan but more recently this view has been rejected. [50] [51]

Nethuns was certainly an important god for the Etruscans. His name is to be found on two cases of the Piacenza Liver, namely case 7 on the outer rim and case 28 on the gall-bladder, (plus once in case 22 along with Tinia). This last location tallies with Pliny the Elder's testimony that the gall-bladder is sacred to Neptune. [52] Theonym Nethuns recurs eight times on columns VIII, IX and XI of the Liber Linteus (flere, flerchva Nethunsl), requiring offerings of wine. [53]

On a mirror from Tuscania (E. S. 1. 76) Nethuns is represented while talking to Uśil (the Sun) and Thesan (the goddess of Dawn). Nethuns is on the left hand side, sitting, holding a double ended trident in his right hand and with his left arm raised in the attitude of giving instructions, Uśil is standing at the centre of the picture, holding in his right hand Aplu's bow, and Thesan is on the right, with her right hand on Uśil's shoulder: both gods look intent in listening Nethuns's words. The identification of Uśil with Aplu (and his association with Nethuns) is further underlined by the anguiped demon holding two dolphins of the exergue below. The scene highlights the identities and association of Nethuns and Aplu (here identified as Uśil) as main deities of the worldly realm and the life cycle. Thesan and Uśil-Aplu, who has been identified with Śuri (Soranus Pater, the underworld Sun god) make clear the transient character of worldly life. [54] The association of Nethuns and Uśil-Aplu is consistent with one version of the theory of the Etruscan Penates (see section below).

In Martianus Capella's depiction of Heaven Neptune is located in region X along with the Lar Omnium Cunctalis (of everybody), Neverita and Consus. The presence of the Lar Omnium Cunctalis might be connected with the theology of Neptune as a god of fertility, human included, while Neverita is a theonym derived from an archaic form of Nereus and Nereid, before the fall of the digamma. [55] For the relationship of Neptune with Consus see the above paragraph. Martianus's placing of Neptune is fraught with questions: according to the order of the main three gods he should be located in region II, (Jupiter is indeed in region I and Pluto in region III). However, in region II are to be found two deities related to Neptune, namely Fons and Lymphae. Stephen Weinstock supposes that while Jupiter is present in each of the first three regions, in each one under different aspects related to the character of the region itself, Neptune should have been originally located in the second, as is testified by the presence of Fons and Lymphae, and Pluto in the third. The reason of the displacement of Neptune to region X remains unclear, but might point to a second appearance of the triads in the third quarter, which is paralleled by the location of Neth in case 7 of the Liver. [56] It is however consistent with the collocation in the third quadrant of the deities directly related to the human world. [57]

Bloch remarks the possible chthonic character and stricter link of Nethuns with Poseidon to which would hint a series of circumstances, particularly the fact that he was among the four gods (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Tellus in order) the haruspices indicated as needing placation for the prodigy related in Cicero's De haruspicum responso 20, i.e. a cracking sound perceived as coming from the underground in the ager latiniensis.

Neptune and the Etruscan Penates Edit

Among ancient sources Arnobius provides important information about the theology of Neptune: he writes that according to Nigidius Figulus Neptune was considered one of the Etruscan Penates, together with Apollo, the two deities being credited with bestowing Ilium with its immortal walls. In another place of his work, book VI, Nigidius wrote that, according to the Etrusca Disciplina, his were one among the four genera, types of Penates: of Iupiter, of Neptune, of the underworld and of mortal men. According to another tradition related by a Caesius, [58] also based on the same source, the Etruscan Penates would be Fortuna, Ceres, Genius Iovialis and Pales, this last one being the male Etruscan god (ministrum Iovis et vilicum, domestic and peasant of Jupiter). [59]

The etymology of Latin Neptunus is unclear and disputed. [60] The ancient grammarian Varro derived the name from nuptus i.e. "covering" (opertio), with a more or less explicit allusion to the nuptiae, "marriage of Heaven and Earth". [61]

Among modern scholars Paul Kretschmer proposed a derivation from Indo-European *neptu- "moist substance". [62] Similarly Raymond Bloch supposed it might be an adjectival form in -no from *nuptu-, meaning "he who is moist". [63]

Georges Dumézil objected that words deriving root *nep- are not attested in Indo-European languages other than Vedic and Avestan. He proposed an etymology that brings together Neptunus with the Indian and Iranian theonyms Apam Napat and Apam Napá as well as with the Old Irish theonym Nechtan, all meaning "descendant of the waters". By using the comparative approach the Indo-Iranian, Avestan and Irish figures would show common features with the Roman historicised legends about Neptune. Dumézil thence proposed to derive the nouns from an Indo-European root népōts-, "descendant, sister's son". [64] [65] His former student, the Estonian Indo-Europeanist Jaan Puhvel supposes that the name ultimately might have meant "child (neve, nephew) of the water", as part of an Indo-European "Fire in the Water"-myth. [66]

A different etymology grounded in the legendary history of Latium and Etruria was proposed by the 19th-century scholars Ludwig Preller, Karl Otfried Müller and Wilhelm Deeke: the name of the Etruscan deity Nethuns or Nethunus (NÈDVNVZ) would be an adjectival form of the toponym Nepe(t) or Nepete (presently Nepi), town of the ager Faliscus near Falerii. The district was traditionally connected to the cult of the god. Messapus and Halesus, the eponymous hero of Falerii, were believed to be his own sons. Messapus led the Falisci and others to war in the Aeneid. [67] Nepi and Falerii have been famed since antiquity for the excellent quality of the water of their springs, scattered in meadows. Nepet, however, might be considered a hydronymic toponym of pre-Indo-European origin, from an appellative meaning "damp wide valley, plain", cognate with pre-Greek νάπη, "wooded vale, chasm". [68]

Fertility deity and divine ancestor Edit

More recently, in his lectures delivered on various occasions in the 1990s, German scholar Hubert Petersmann proposed an etymology from the Indo-European rootstem *nebh- related to clouds and fogs, plus suffix -tu denoting an abstract verbal noun, and adjectival suffix -no which refers to the domain of activity of a person or his prerogatives. The Indo-European root *nebh-, having the original meaning of "damp, wet", has given Sanskrit nābhah, Hittite nepis, Latin nubs, nebula, German Nebel, Slavic nebo etc. The concept would be close to that expressed in the name of Greek god Όυράνος (Uranus), derived from the root *h2wórso-, "to water, irrigate" and *h2worsó-, "the irrigator". [69] [70] This etymology would be more in accord with Varro's.

Petersmann proposes a rather different interpretation of the theology of Neptune. [71] Developing his understanding of the theonym as rooted in IE *nebh, he argues that the god would be an ancient deity of the cloudy and rainy sky in company with and in opposition to Zeus/Jupiter, god of the clear bright sky. Similar to Caelus, he would be the father of all living beings on Earth through the fertilising power of rainwater. This hieros gamos of Neptune and Earth would be reflected in literature, e.g. in Vergil Aen. V 14 pater Neptunus. The virile potency of Neptune would be represented by Salacia (derived from salax, salio in its original sense of salacious, lustful, desiring sexual intercourse, covering). Salacia would then represent the god's desire for intercourse with Earth, his virile generating potency manifesting itself in rainfall. While Salacia would denote the overcast sky, the other character of the god would be reflected by his other paredra Venilia, representing the clear sky dotted with clouds of good weather. The theonym Venilia would be rooted in a not attested adjective *venilis, from IE root *ven(h) meaning 'to love, desire', realised in Sanskrit vánati, vanóti, he loves, Old Island vinr friend, German Wonne, Latin Venus, venia. Reminiscences of this double aspect of Neptune would be found in Catullus 31. 3: "uterque Neptunus". [72]

In Petersmann's conjecture, besides Zeus/Jupiter (rooted in IE *dei(h), 'to shine', who originally represented the bright daylight of fine weather sky), the ancient Indo-Europeans venerated a god of heavenly damp or wet as the generator of life. This fact would be testified by Hittite theonyms nepišaš (D)IŠKURaš or nepišaš (D)Tarhunnaš - "the lord of sky wet", that was revered as the sovereign of Earth and men. [73] Even though over time this function was transferred to Zeus/Jupiter who became also the sovereign of weather, reminiscences of the old function survived in literature: e.g. in Vergil Aen. V 13-14 reading: "Heu, quianam tanti cinxerunt aethera nimbi?/ quidve, pater Neptune, paras?": "What, why have so many clouds enringed the sky? What are you preparing, father Neptune?". [74] The indispensability of water for its fertilizing quality and its strict connexion to reproduction is universal knowledge. [75] Takács too points to the implicit sexual and fertility significance of both Salacia and Venilia on the grounds of the context of the cults of Neptune, of Varro's interpretation of Salacia as eager for sexual intercourse and of the connexion of Venilia with a nymph or Venus.

Müller and Deeke had already interpreted the theology of Neptune as that of a divine ancestor of a Latin stock, namely the Faliscans, as the father of their founder heroes Messapus and Halesus. Sharing this same approach Fowler considered Salacia the personification of the virile potency that generated a Latin people, parallel with Mars, Saturn, Janus and even Jupiter among other Latins. [76]

The French Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research divers (headed by Michel L'Hour) discovered a lifesize marble statue of Neptune, in the Rhône River at Arles it is dated to the early fourth century. [77] The statue is one of a hundred artifacts that the team excavated between September and October 2007. [77] [78]

Etruscan representations of the god are rare but significative. The oldest is perhaps the carved carnelian scarab from Vulci of the 4th century BC: Nethuns kicks a rock and creates a spring. (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Medailles).

Another Etruscan gem (from the collection of Luynes, inscribed Nethunus) depicts the god making a horse spring out of the earth with a blow of his trident. [79]

A bronze mirror of the late 4th century in the Vatican Museums (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco: C.S.E. Vaticano 1.5a) depicts the god with Amymone, daughter of Danaus, whom he prevents being assaulted by a satyr and to whom he will teach the art of creating springs.

A bronze mirror from Tuscania dated to 350 BC also in the Vatican Museums (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco E. S. 1. 76). Nethuns is talking to Usil and Thesan. In the lower exergue is an anguiped demon who holds a dolphin in each hand (identification with Aplu-Apollo is clear also because Uśil holds a bow). Nethuns holds a double-ended trident, suggesting he might be one of the gods who can wield lightningbolts. [80]


Two events dedicated to Minerva were marked on the Roman Calendar. The first was known as the Quinquatria, celebrated by students and artisans on March 19-23, just after the Ides of March, made famous by the assassination of Julius Caesar and subsequent play by William Shakespeare. On June 13, a shorter observance called the minor Quinquatrus was celebrated. The Quintratrus was also the time of school holidays and when fees for schooling became due. Thus, Minerva was seen as a patron of schoolchildren as well as the skilled workers they would someday become. Minerva shared her festivals with the war god Mars. She was often identified with Nerio, the Sabine goddess who became the consort of Mars.

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Roman Gods A-Z: features 13 different Roman Gods: Apollo, Ceres, Diana, Juno, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Venus, Vesta, and Vulcan. There is a picture and short half-page introduction of each god.

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The name Minerva stems from Proto-Italic *meneswo' ('intelligent, understanding'), and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *menos ('thought'). Helmut Rix (1981) and Gerhard Meiser (1998) have proposed the PIE derivative *menes-ueh₂ ('provided with a mind, intelligent') as the transitional form. [8]

Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, who had been swallowed by Jupiter, and burst from her father's head, fully armed and clad in armour. [9] Jupiter raped the titaness Metis, which resulted in her attempting to change shape (or shapeshift) to escape him. Jupiter then recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Saturn, and in turn, Saturn had Caelus.

Fearing that their child would be male, and would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly. The Titaness gave birth to Minerva and forged weapons and armour for her child while within Jupiter's body. In some versions of the story, Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter's mind as the source of his wisdom. Others say she was simply a vessel for the birth of Minerva. The constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and in full battle armour.

Minerva is a prominent figure in Roman mythology. She appears throughout many famous myths. Many of the stories of her Greek counterpart Athena are attributed to Minerva in Roman mythology, such as that of the naming of Athens [10] resulting from a competition between Minerva and Neptune, [11] in which Minerva created the olive tree. [2]

Minerva and Arachne Edit

Arachne was a mortal highly proficient in weaving and embroidery. Not only were her finished works that were beautiful, but also her process, so much so that nymphs would come out of their natural environments to watch her work. Arachne boasted that her skills could beat those of Minerva, and if she were wrong she would pay the price for it. This angered Minerva, and she took the form of an old woman to approach Arachne, offering her a chance to take back her challenge and ask forgiveness. [11] When Arachne refused, Minerva rid herself of her disguise and took Arachne up on her challenge. Arachne began to weave a tapestry which showed the shortcomings of the gods, while Minerva depicted her competition with Neptune and the gods looking down with disgust on mortals who would dare to challenge them. [11] Minerva's weaving was meant as a final warning to her foe to back down. Minerva was insulted by the scenes which Arachne was weaving, and destroyed it. She then touched Arachne on the forehead which made her feel shame for what she had done, leading her to hang herself. Minerva then felt bad for the woman, and brought her back to life. However, Minerva transformed her into a spider as punishment for her actions, and hanging from a web would forever be a reminder to Arachne of her actions which offended the gods. This story also acted as a warning to mortals not to challenge the gods. [2]

Minerva and Medusa Edit

Medusa was once a beautiful human, a priestess of Minerva. Later on, Minerva found out that Neptune and Medusa were kissing in a temple dedicated to Minerva herself. Because of this Minerva turned her into a monster, replacing her hair with hissing snakes and removing her charm. Medusa turned any living creature she looked upon into stone. When Perseus approached Medusa he used her reflection in his shield to avoid contact with her eyes, and then beheaded her. [10] He delivered the severed head to Minerva, who placed its image on her Aegis. [2]

Taming of Pegasus Edit

When Perseus beheaded Medusa some of the blood spilled onto the ground, and from it came Pegasus. Minerva caught the horse and tamed it before gifting the horse to the Muses. It was a kick from the hoof of Pegasus which opened the fountain Hippocrene. [11] When Bellerophon later went to fight the Chimera he sought to use Pegasus in the fight. In order to do this he slept in Minerva's temple, and she came to him with a golden bridle. When Pegasus saw Bellerophon with the bridle the horse immediately allowed Bellerophon to mount, and they defeated the Chimera. [2]

Turning Aglauros to Stone Edit

Metamorphoses by Ovid tell the story of Minerva and Aglauros. When Mercury comes to seduce mortal virgin Herse, her sister Aglauros is driven by her greed to help him. Minerva discovers this and is furious with Aglauros. She seeks the assistance of Envy, who fills Aglauros with so much envy for the good fortune of others that she turns to stone. Mercury fails to seduce Herse. [11]

Minerva and Hercules Edit

Minerva assisted the hero Hercules. In Hyginus' Fabulae she is said to have helped him kill the Hydra (30.3). [10]

Minerva and Odysseus Edit

Minerva assisted the hero Odysseus. Hyginus describes in his work Fabulae that Minerva changes Odysseus' appearance in order to protect and assist him multiple times (126). [10]

Inventing the Flute Edit

Minerva is thought to have invented the flute by piercing holes into boxwood. She enjoyed the music, but became embarrassed by how it made her face look when her cheeks puffed out to play. Because of this she threw it away and it landed on a riverbank where it was found by a satyr. [12]

Minerva was worshipped at many locations in Rome, most prominently as part of the Capitoline Triad. She was also worshipped at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the "Delubrum Minervae", a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the neuter plural, Quinquatria, the fifth day after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an artisans' holiday. This festival was of deepest importance to artists and craftsmen as she was the patron goddess of crafting and arts. [13] According to Ovid (Fasti 3.809) the festival was 5 days long, and the first day was said to be the anniversary of Minerva's birth, so no blood was to be shed. The following four days were full of games of "drawn swords" in honour of Minerva's military association. [14] Suetonius tells us (Life of Domitian 4.4) that Domitian celebrated the Quinquatria by appointing a college of priests who were to stage plays and animal games in addition to poetry and oratory competitions. [15] A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, as Minerva was thought to have invented the flute. [12] In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine Hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic.

As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and physicians. As Minerva Achaea, she was worshipped at Lucera in Apulia where votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple. [16] [17]

We know due to the Acta Arvalia that a cow was sacrificed to Minerva on October 13 58 AD along with many other sacrifices to celebrate the anniversary of Nero coming to power. On January 3 81 AD, as a part of the New Year vows, two cows were sacrificed to Minerva (among many others) to secure the well-being of the emperor Titus, Domitian Caesar, Julia Augusta, and their children. On January 3 87 AD there is again record of a cow being sacrificed to Minerva among the many sacrifices made as a part of the New Year vows. [18]

In Fasti III, Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works" [14] due to all of the things she was associated with. Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, and when she eventually became equated with the Greek goddess Athena, she also became a goddess of battle. Unlike Mars, god of war, she was sometimes portrayed with sword lowered, in sympathy for the recent dead, rather than raised in triumph and battle lust. In Rome her bellicose nature was emphasized less than elsewhere. [19]

According to Livy's History of Rome (7.3), the annual nail marking the year, a process where the praetor maximus drove a nail into to formally keep track of the current year, happened in the temple of Minerva because she was thought to have invented numbers. [20] [21]

There is archaeological evidence to suggest that Minerva was worshipped not only in a formal civic fashion, but also by individuals on a more personal level. [21]

Roman coinage Edit

Minerva is featured on the coinage of different Roman emperors. She often is represented on the reverse side of a coin holding an owl and a spear among her attributes. [22]

During the Roman occupation of Britain, it was common for carpenters to own tools ornamented with images of Minerva to invoke a greater amount of protection from the goddess of crafts. Some women would also have images of her on accessories such as hairpins or jewellery. She was even featured on some funerary art on coffins and signet rings. [23]

Bath Edit

During Roman rule Minerva became equated with the Celtic goddess Sulis, to the degree where their names were used both together and interchangeably. [23] and was believed to preside over the healing hot springs located in Bath. [24] Though Minerva is not a water deity, her association with intellectual professions as Minerva Medica she could also be thought of as a healing goddess, the epigraphic evidence present makes it clear that this is how Minerva was thought of in Bath. [24]

Some of the archaeological evidence present in Bath leads scholars to believe that it was thought Minerva could provide full healing from things such as rheumatism via the hot springs if she was given full credit for the healing. [23]

The temple of Sulis Minerva was known for having a miraculous altar-fire which burned coal as opposed to the traditional wood. [23]

Carrawburgh Edit

There is evidence of worship of Minerva Medica in Carrawburgh due to archaeological evidence such as a relief depicting her and Aesculapius. [24]

Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā ('She who measures'), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is presumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools, justice and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva burst from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus), who had devoured her mother (Metis) in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent her birth.

By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning "mind", perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- 'mind' (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne/μνημοσύνη and mnestis/μνῆστις: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind).

The Etruscan Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva.

Universities and educational establishments Edit

As a patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms at educational institutions. Listings of this can be found on Minerva in the emblems of educational establishments.

Societies and governments Edit

  • The Seal of California depicts the Goddess Minerva. Her birth fully-grown parallels California becoming a state without first being a territory. [25]
  • The U.S Military Medal of Honor for the Army, Navy/Marine Corps, and Coast Guard depicts Minerva in the center of it. The Air Force uses the head of the Statue of Liberty instead. [26]
  • According to John Robison'sProofs of a Conspiracy (1798), the third degree of the Bavarian Illuminati was called Minerval or Brother of Minerva, in honor of the goddess of learning. Later, this title was adopted for the first initiation of Aleister Crowley's OTO rituals. is a global four-year undergraduate program.
  • Minerva Hospital for Women and Children is a first-class hospital in Chengdu, China.
  • The Max Planck Society, association of research institutes mainly in Germany. is a leading private tuition and homeschooling agency, based in London, UK.

Public monuments, and places Edit

  • A statue of Minerva is the center of the Pioneer Monument in San Francisco's Civic Center created by Frank Happersberger in 1894.
  • A small Roman shrine to Minerva stands in Handbridge, Chester. It sits in a public park, overlooking the River Dee.
  • An imposing bronze statue of Minerva stands on the rooftop of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain. [27]
  • A statue to Minerva was designed by John Charles Felix Rossi to adorn the Town Hall of Liverpool, where it has stood since 1799. It remains extant and was restored as part of the 2014 renovations conducted by the city. [28][29]
  • The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, Mexico, located at the crossing of the López Mateos, Vallarta, López Cotilla, Agustín Yáñez, and Golfo de Cortez avenues, features the goddess standing on a pedestal, surrounded by a large fountain, with an inscription that says "Justice, wisdom and strength guard this loyal city".
  • A bronze statue of Minerva stands in Monument Square (Portland, Maine). "Our Lady of Victories Monument" dedicated in 1891, features a 14-feet-tall bronze figure by Franklin Simmons atop a granite pedestal with smaller bronze sculptures by Richard Morris Hunt. [30][31]
  • A sculpture of Minerva by Andy Scott, known as the Briggate Minerva, stands outside Trinity Leeds shopping centre.
  • Minerva is displayed as a statue in Pavia, Italy, near the train station, and is considered as an important landmark in the city.
  • Minerva is displayed as a cast bronze statue in the Minneapolis Central Library, rendered in 1889 by Jakob Fjelde. [32]
  • Minerva is displayed as a bronze statue in Frederick Ruckstull's 1920 Altar to Liberty: Minerva monument near the top of Battle Hill, the highest point of Brooklyn, New York, in Green-Wood Cemetery.
  • Minerva is displayed as an 11-ft statue in Jean-Antonin Carlès's 1895 "James Gordon Bennett Memorial" in New York City's Herald Square. [33]
  • A statue of Minerva is displayed at Wells College outside of Main Building. Each year, the senior class decorates Minerva at the beginning of the fall semester. Minerva remains decorated throughout the school year then during the morning of the last day of classes and after singing around the Sycamore tree, the senior class takes turns kissing the feet of Minerva, believed to be good luck and bring success and prosperity to all graduation seniors. [34][35][36]
  • A statue of Minerva stands atop the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. There is also a mosaic tile of Minerva in the foyer of the building as well as a whole theatre name after her, called the 'Minerva Space'. [37]
  • A bronze statue of Minerva stands on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina. It was commissioned in 2003 by the Class of 1953 and created by sculptor James Barnhill.

Literature Edit

She is remembered in De Mulieribus Claris, a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, composed in 1361–62. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature. [38] Poet Elizabeth Carter is famously portrayed in an outfit inspired by Minerva, and also wrote poems in her honour.

Vulcan, Neptune, Mercury and Minerva, Herculaneum - History

When a person is leaving the Mutable Cross and is about to mount the Fixed, the effects of Vulcan are very noticeable. Vulcan rules that process which

Vulcan forges new tools for the expression of consciousness. Past patterns of behaviour are dissolved in favour of a growing awareness, which leads ultimately to detachment from the desires and compulsion of form.

We can summarise the effects of this particularly small but esoterically powerful planet by liking its effects to the earth element and the First Ray of Will Power. It is the stimulating effect of Vulcan which creates the need to penetrate thorough our material existence in order to detach ourselves from identification with the form life. The Soul centred individual can then utilise matter in order to shape those tools necessary for the externalisation of the Soul force. For example when there is a war matter is all too often used against humankind, and the power of this planet is inverted through the improper use of will. On a higher level of manifestation Vulcan&rsquos establishes the link between humanity and the Plan. This is due to Vulcan&rsquos First Ray energy, manifesting through it&rsquos Fourth Ray ruler Taurus, and the relationship that the latter has to the Fourth Kingdom of Nature.

Although Vulcan has an effect of the mass consciousness, through its function as a tool to unfetter humanity from its attachment to material forms, its purpose in terms of the evolutionary process is more specific, which is the primary use as a vehicle of transfer from the Mutable to the Fixed Cross. When on the Mutable Cross, the totally personality centred individual is not aware of the unconscious influence of Vulcan working to create detachment through the loss of visible objects and relationships. But when the evolving person is consciously beginning to put together the relationships existing between essence and form the perception of Vulcan&rsquos effects changes accordingly. At this point one is actively cultivating the first stages of conscious detachment of the form life, therefore in this respect Vulcan now serves as the agent which assists us in this transition of values.

Once Vulcan has done its work and the individual is firmly anchored on the Fixed Cross of Discipleship, we can then say that for all intents and purposes, Vulcan becomes a

. Its primary function in the reorientation of consciousness has been completed and one would then tend to move more into the domain and influence of Uranus as also discussed under the Moon section.

The Soul centred individual can now utilise the energies of the crisis producing presence of Vulcan in order to effect this necessary transformation, and would be carried out within the greater context undertaken by such a Soul centred person.

The effects of Vulcan are only experienced by those who have mounted the Fixed Cross or who are very close to doing so. The conscious application of Vulcan&rsquos energy can only said to be utilised by one firmly anchored on the Path, and who is spiritually active in the service of humanity. It can also been seen that, due to Vulcan&rsquos proximity to the Sun and/or Mercury, the unfolding evolutionary process of a Son or Daughter of Mind is very much associated with the positive destructive force of this tiny planet. Once Vulcan has done its work, the energies of Uranus (in the creation of new archetypes for the expression of the Loving Will/Power of Creation) will supersede in the life.

One should note that the position of Vulcan in the natal chart is always conjunct the Sun and very often conjunct Mercury as well. It is within 8 degrees 20 minutes of the position of the Sun. One should also be aware that Vulcan is not always in the same sign as the Sun.

(For example in my own chart my Sun is at 4 degrees 39 in Pisces yet my Vulcan is at 26 degrees 42&rsquo in Aquarius (forming a trine to Uranus at 26 degrees 32&rsquo Gemini trine the South Node at 27 degrees Libra>. He is also conjunct my Venus at 21 degrees Aquarius (rather apt since they were husband and wife in mythological terms ) yet he is not conjunct my Mercury at 8 degrees 11&rsquo Aquarius.. )

Solarfire astrology software provides Vulcan calculations for the natal chart yet if you want a site on the web then Astrodienst at www.astro.com is the best free chart providing service on the web. If you go there and follow the links then select Extended chart Selection, Scroll down to Additional Objects and under that is a box to enter &ldquoadditional asteroids or hypothetical planets&rdquo. Enter h55 (the code for Vulcan) and the position will then show on the chart.

The following link will show Vulcan in the Signs pointing out the nature of Vulcan when operating at the point of transition from the Mutable to the Fixed Cross and its effects when operating through the life of the Soul centred individual who has securely mounted the Fixed Cross.

The artwork used on this page is by the wonderful artist Kagaya and is of course copyrighted to him. You can visit the Kagaya gallery by clicking either on the large picture above or on the link below and the site will open in a separate window..

Man cannot discover new oceans
Until he has courage to lose sight of the shore

Roman Gods

Principle Roman Gods and Goddesses
Who are all the Roman gods and what are the Roman gods and goddess names? The names of the principle Roman gods and the 'Dei Consentes', the Council of Gods, were Jupiter (aka Jove), Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Vulcan & Apollo.

Roman Gods: Jupiter, who was also called Jove
Jupiter was the king of the Roman gods and of the sky and the heavens. Jupiter was the patron god of the Roman state ruling over laws and social order. Jupiter was the brother of Vesta, Pluto, Neptune and Ceres. He married his sister Juno and together they had three children Mars, Juventia and Vulcan. His symbols were the the aegis (a protective shield) the oak tree, the eagle, the bull and the thunderbolt. The largest temple in Rome was dedicated to the god Jupiter and situated on the Capitoline Hill.

Roman Gods: Juno
Juno was the Queen of the Roman gods and the goddess of the marriage. women, especially in association with childbirth. She married her brother Jupiter and together they had three children: Mars, Juventia and Vulcan. Juno is represented by the Romans with a spear in her hand, and sometimes with a patera (a shallow dish).

Roman Gods: Neptune
Neptune was the name of the god of the sea. He was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. The brother of Jupiter, Vesta, Pluto and Ceres

The Roman god Neptune in his chariot drawn by Hippocamps (Horses of the sea)

Roman Gods: Mars
Mars was the Roman god of war and the son of Jupiter and Juno. As Mars Gradivus, the god of war preceded the Roman armies and led them to victory. The name of Gradivus was one of the gods by whom a general or soldiers might swear an oath to be valorous in battle. The priests of Mars, the war god, were called the Salii who wore the full war-dress (trabea and tunica picta) and were was first instituted by Numa Pompilius.

Roman Gods: Venus
Venus was the goddess of love and beauty and the daughter of Jupiter and Dione. The name Venus derives from the Latin word 'vanati' meaning "desires, loves, wins". Venus had many children by her lovers including Cupid, god of love by Mars, the god of war. The Veneralia was the Ancient Roman festival of Venus Verticordia and was held on April 1.

Roman Gods: Mercury
Mercury was the messenger of the gods. He was also the Roman god of finance, gymnasts, thieves, gamblers, merchants and commerce. He had a temple and a sacred fount near the Porta Capena. A famous temple was erected to Mercury near the Circus Maximus.

Roman Gods: Bacchus
Bacchus was the Roman god of wine and merry-making and the son of the Jupiter and Semele. The name of his festival was 'Bacchanalia' which held between March 15 and 16 and been used to refer to any forms of drunken revelry. Bacchanalia were held in in the grove of Simila, near the Aventine Hill in Rome. The Latin word 'orgia' originally meant "secret rites" and from which the modern word 'orgy' is derived.

Roman Gods: Minerva
Minerva was the name of the goddess of wisdom, the daughter of Jupiter. Her symbols and weapons reflected her strategic approach and her preparation for war and were symbols of victory. Minerva was a member of the Capitoline Triad which consisted of three major gods - Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The most important temples in Rome were dedicated to the triad of gods and situated on the Capitoline Hill.

Roman Gods: Ceres
Ceres was the goddess of agriculture. The sister of Vesta, Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter. The mother of Proserpina (by Jupiter) who was abducted by Pluto and carried off into the Underworld. Her name originates from the Latin word 'Cerealis' meaning "of grain" from which we derive the modern word 'cereal'.

Roman Gods: Vulcan
Vulcan was the name of the Roman god of fire and metal-working and the son of Jupiter and Juno. His name derives from the Latin word 'Vulcanus' meaning "fire, flames, volcano". Vulcan was highly honored by the Romans who debated the most important issues of the republic in his temple.

Roman Gods: Pluto
Pluto was the Roman god of the Underworld and the brother of Jupiter, Vesta, Neptune and Ceres. Animal Sacrifices were made to Pluto at the Roman Colosseum where a marble altar was set in the middle of the arena, complete with a burning fire. As the god of Death the name of Pluto was used in Roman curse tablets.

Roman Gods: Diana
Diana was the name of the goddess of the hunt and the moon. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Latona and the twin sister of Apollo. As an emblem of chastity she was especially venerated by young maidens, they sacrificed their hair to her before marrying. Her name was first known as Diviana meaning "to shine".

Roman Gods: Apollo
Apollo was the name of the god of the sun, music, healing, archery and prophecy. The son of Jupiter and Latona, twin of Diana. As the the source of harmony he was called Liber Pater and carried a shield to show he was the protector of mankind, and their preserver in health and safety.

Roman Gods: Cupid
Cupid was the name of the Roman god of erotic love and beauty.. His name derives from the Latin word 'Cupido' meaning "desire, love". Cupid had two different types of arrows which explains this Roman god's association with both romantic and erotic love. His daughter called Voluptus was the spirit of pleasure, desire, and enjoyment.

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