List of Roman deities

From NovaRoma
Jump to: navigation, search

The Roman Pantheon

This is a directory of Roman gods and goddesses, their offspring and consorts, and other minor dieties:[1]


A minor Roman goddess of abundance, prosperity and good fortune. Her attribute is a cornucopia ("horn of plenty") with which she distributes grain and money. After the Roman occupation of France, she remained in French folklore as Lady Hobunde.


A minor Roman goddess of abundance, prosperity and good fortune. Her attribute is a cornucopia ("horn of plenty") with which she distributes grain and money. After the Roman occupation of France, she remained in French folklore as Lady Hobunde.

Acca Larentia

In Roman myth a loose woman and a mistress of Hercules. She married the wealthy Tarutius and after his death she donated his money to the Roman people. In return, Rome celebrated the festival of the Larentalia (possible a feast of the dead in honor of the goddess Larentia) on December 23. In another version, Acca Larentia is the wife of the shepherd Faustulus who raised the twins Romulus and Remus.


A hero of Trojan origin, who founded Segesta on Sicily. In a trial of skill Acested shot his arrow with such force that it took fire. He helped Aeneas when the latter arrived on Sicily after his wanderings.[2]


A loyal friend and companion of Aeneas.[3]


A companion of Aeneas.


The Roman goddess who guides the child back home, after it has left the parental house for the first time.


The Roman god of fair dealing.

Aera Cura

The Roman goddess of the infernal regions.


The Roman personification of eternity. He is symbolized a worm or serpent biting its own tail (similar to the Ouroboros) and by a phoenix rising from its ashes.


The Roman personification of the south-western wind.


A Roman nymph of the sulfuric spring near Tibur (the current Tivoli).


The Roman goddess who feeds the unborn child.


Anchises was the son of Capys, and a cousin of King Priam of Troy. He was loved by Venus, who bore him a son, Aeneas. Anchises was the owner of six remarkable horses, which he acquired by secretly mating his own mares with the divinely-bred stallions of Laomedon. But he was chiefly remembered because of the career of his son. After the fall of Troy, Aeneas escaped from the burning ruins of the city, carrying his father and the household gods (see Lares and Penates) on his shoulders. Anchises then accompanied Aeneas and the band of Trojan refugees who set sail for Italy, where it was prophesied that they would found the city of Rome. Anchises died before the trip was over, and was buried in Sicily. After his death, Anchisessaw his son once more, when Aeneas visited the underworld to learn more about his own destiny.


The protecting deity of ancient Rome and a goddess of secrecy and of the winter solstice. Angerona is shown with a bandaged mouth with a finger to her lips commanding silence. Her feast -- the Divalia or Angeronalia -- was celebrated on December 21.


An early Roman goddess of healing and witchcraft.


A Roman snake-goddess who was especially worshipped by the Marsi, a tribe in central Italy.


The daughter of Belus, and sister of Dido. After Dido's death she fled from Africa to Latium, where she was welcomed by Aeneas. Dido's shade warned her for the jealousy of Lavinia, the wife of Aeneas. After hearing this, she threw herself into the river Numicius and drowned. As a river nymph she was later venerated as Anna Perenna. According to some sources, this name has no connection with Dido's sister.

Anna Perenna

The Roman goddess of the new year. Her festival was celebrated on March 15. The Romans gave various explanations to the origin or her name, amnis perennis ("eternal stream"): she was a river nymph; her name was derived from annis ("year"); she was a moon-goddess of the running year; also, she was equated with Anna, the sister of Dido, who was received in Latium by Aeneas, but drowned herself in a river. In the class-struggle between the patricians and plebeians she chose the side of the plebeians.


An alternative name of Fortuna as protector of the corn supplies.


The Roman goddess of the future.


The five Roman goddesses who had a temple near the Appian aqueducts. They are Concordia, Minerva, Pax, Venus, and Vesta.


A Roman nymph. Two fountains dedicated to her flanked the entrance to the temple of Venus Genitrix on the Forum of Caesar in Rome.


The Roman personification of the North Wind. His Greek counterpart is Boreas.


Aurora is the Roman personification of the dawn. She is also the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Eos. Aurora is seen as a lovely woman who flies across the sky announcing the arrival of the sun. Aurora has two siblings: a brother, the sun, and a sister, the moon. She has had quite a number of husbands and sons. Four of her sons are the four winds (north, south, east, and west). According to one myth, her tears cause the dew as she flies across the sky weeping for one of her sons, who was killed. Aurora is certainly not the most brilliant goddess as she asked Zeus to grant one of her husbands immortality, but forgot to ask for everlasting youth. As a result, her husband soon became aged. Aurora is not one of the better-known goddesses. However, Shakespeare refers to her in his famous play Romeo and Juliet.


Ascanius was the son of Aeneas and Creusa, and the grandson of Venus; he was also called Iulus. He accompanied his father to Italy after the fall of Troy, and fought briefly in the Italian wars. The Julian gens claimed descent from him.


The personification of the south wind which brought fogs and rain or sultry heat. He is equivalent with the Greek Notus. It is the modern sirocco.


The Roman queen of the dead


The Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysus. His festival was celebrated on March 16 and 17. The Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE. Bacchus is also identified with the old-Italian god Liber.


The Roman goddess of war, popular among the Roman soldiers. She accompanied Mars in battle, and was variously given as his wife, sister or daughter. She had a temple on the Capitolinus (inaugurated in 296 BCE and burned down in 48 BCE), where, as an act of war, a spear was cast against the distant enemy. Her festival was celebrated on June 3. Bellona's attribute is a sword and she is depicted wearing a helmet and armed with a spear and a torch. She could be of Etruscan origin, and is identified with the Greek Enyo.

Bona Dea

Bona Dea ("the Good Goddess") is a Roman fertility goddess, especially worshipped by the Roman matrons. She presided over both virginity and fertility in women. She is the daughter of the god Faunus and she herself is often called Fauna. She had a temple on the Aventine Hill, but her secret rites (on December 4) were not held there but in the house of a prominent Roman magistrate. Only women were admitted and even representations of men and beasts were removed. At these secret meetings it was forbidden to speak the words 'wine' and 'myrtle' because Faunus had once made her drunk and beaten her with a myrtle stick. Her festival was observed on May 1. Similarly, no men were allowed to be present here either. She was also a healing goddess and the sick were tended in her temple garden with medicinal herbs. Bona Dea was portrayed sitting on a throne, holding a cornucopia. The snake is her attribute, a symbol of healing, and consecrated snakes were kept in her temple at Rome, indicating her phallic nature. Her image could often be found on coins.


The Roman goddess of horses and cattle. She is equal to the Gaulish goddess Epona, whose cult was later adopted by the Roman army.


The Roman goddess of the hearth and the sister of the fire-breathing giant Cacus. When Heracles returned with the cattle of Geryon, Cacus stole some of the animals and hid them in his cave. According to some sources, out of sympathy for the hero, Caca told Heracles the location of that cave and he killed the giant. Caca was later succeeded by Vesta.


Originally a pre-Roman god of fire, who gradually became a fire-breathing demon. Cacus lived in a cave in the Aventine Hill from where he terrorized the countryside. When Heracles returned with the cattle of Geryon, he passed Cacus' cave and lay down to sleep in the vicinity. At night Cacus dragged some of the cattle to his cave backward by their tails, so that their tracks would point in the opposite direction. However, the lowing of the animals betrayed their presence in the cave to Heracles and he retrieved them and slew Cacus. Other sources claim that Cacus' sister told Heracles the location of his cave. On the place were Heracles slew Cacus he erected an altar, where later the Forum Boarium, the cattle market, was held.


An ancient Italian hero, son of Vulcan. He is regarded as the founder of Praeneste (the current Palestrina).


The Camenae were originally ancient Roman goddesses of wells and springs. Later they were identified with the Greek Muses. In Rome, they were worshipped in a sacred forest at the Porta Capena.


The Roman goddess of birth. She is identified with Carmenta and the goddess Lucina.


A nymph from Latium and the personification of song. She was the wife of king Picus, who was loved by Circe but when he rejected her, Circe transformed him into a woodpecker. After she had wandered for six days without finding him, Canens threw herself from a rock into the Tiber. After one final song she evaporated.


The goddess of thresholds and especially door-pivots (cardo "door-pivot"). Just as Carna she is also a goddess of health. Cardea is the protectress of little children against the attacks of vampire-witches. She obtained the office from Janus in exchange for her personal favors. Ovid says of Cardea, apparently quoting a religious formula: 'Her power is to open what is shut; to shut what is open.


Carmenta is the Roman goddess of childbirth and prophecy, one of the Camenae. Her temple (where it was forbidden to wear leather), was in Rome, next to the Porta Carmentalis. Her festival, the Carmentalia, took place on 11 and 15 January, and was mostly celebrated by women. She is the mother of Euander.


The Roman name of the Dioscuri; from Castor, who seems to have been the first of the twins to be worshipped by the Romans.


The brother of the river-deity Tibertus, and co-founder of the city of Tibur (current Tivoli).


The old-Italian goddess of agriculture, grain, and the love a mother bears for her child. The cult of Ceres was originally closely connected with that of Tellus, the goddess earth. In later mythology, Ceres is identified with the Greek Demeter. She is the daughter of Saturn and the mother of Proserpina. Ceres had a temple on the Aventine Hill, were she was worshipped together with Liber and Libera. Her festival, the Cerealia, was celebrated on April 19. Ceres is portrayed with a scepter, a basket with flowers or fruits, and a garland made of the ears of corn. Another festival was the Ambarvalia, held in May.


A Roman syncretic god with Greek and Egyptian associations, portrayed as a snake with a lion's head.


The Roman goddess of marriage.


The Roman goddess of mercy and clemency.


A Roman river deity.


The goddess who presides of the system of sewers (from the Latin cloaca, "sewer") which drained the refuse of the city of Rome. The main sewer was called Cloaca Maxima.


"Sky". The Roman personified god of the heavens who is identified with the Greek Uranus. His wife is Terra.


The Roman goddess of concord. She was worshipped in many temples, but the oldest was on the Forum Romanum and dates back to 367 BCE and was built by Camilus. The temple also served as a meeting-place for the Roman senate. Concordia is portrayed sitting, wearing a long cloak and holding a sacrificial bowl in her left hand and a cornucopia in her right. Sometimes she can be seen standing between two members of the Royal House who clasp hands.


The Roman god of harvesting the crops.

Consentes Dii

The twelve major gods of the Roman pantheon, identified by the Roman with the Greek Olympians. Six male and six female gods and goddesses. The are: Jupiter and Juno, Neptune and Minerva, Apollo and Diana, Mars and Venus, Vulcan and Vesta, and Mercury and Ceres. Their statues could be found in the hall of the Consentes Dii at the Forum Romanum.


The Roman god who presides over the storing of grain. Since the grain was stored in holes underneath the earth, Consus' altar was also placed beneath the earth (near the Circus Maximus). It was uncovered only during the Consualia, his festival on August 21 and December 15. One of the main events during this festival was a mule race (the mule was his sacred animal). Also on this day, farm and dray horses were not permitted to work and attended the festivities. He is closely connected with the fertility goddess Ops (Ops Consiva). Later he was also regarded as god of secret counsels.


The Roman god of bringing in the crops.


The Roman goddess of wealth and plenty, who carried a cornucopia ("horn of plenty"). She belongs to the retinue of Fortuna.


The Roman god representing the north/north-west wind.


The Roman goddess who protects the infants in their cribs and sends them to sleep.

Cumaean Sibyl

The earliest of the Sibyls. She was believed to have come from the rest, and resided at Cumae. She owned, according to tradition, nine books of prophecies. When the Roman king Targuin (Tarquinius Priscus) wanted to buy those books he thought the price she asked far too high. The Sibyl threw three books into the fire and doubled the price; this she did again with the next three books, and the king was forced the buy the remaining three books for a price four times as high as the original nine.


The son of Venus. This god is often depicted armed with an arrow which makes the victim fall in love. He is also portrayed as a young man with his beloved Psyche, with Venus or with a small group of winged infants (the Amoretti or Amorini). Some traditions say that he was born from a silver egg. His Greek equivalent is Eros. The name is derived from the Latin cupido, "desire".


A goddess who first fashioned humans from clay.


Marcus Curtius, a Roman hero. When one day a gap suddenly appeared on the Forum in Rome, an oracle said that it could only be closed by the most precious thing Rome possessed. The wellbeing of the town depended on it. Curtius sacrificed himself by jumping fully armed and mounted on the finest horse into the gap, which then closed itself. The gap, called the Lacus Curtius is situated at the Forum Romanum. According to other sources, the gap was created when lightning struck, which was then consecrated by the consul Caius Curtius in 445 BCE.[4]

Dea Dia

A Roman goddess of growth, identified with Ceres. Her priests were the Fratres Arvales who honored her in the feast of the Ambarvalia, held in May. During these days, the priests blessed the fields and made offerings to the powers of the underworld.

Dea Tacita

The 'silent goddess'. A Roman goddess of dead.


A Roman goddess of childbirth. Together with Nona and Morta she forms the Parcae (the Roman goddesses of Fate).

Dei Lucrii

The Roman gods of profit. In time they were superceded by Mercury.


Devera is the Roman goddess that rules the brooms used to purify ritual sites.

Di Inferi

The Roman deities of the underworld. They were honored with the Ludi Tauri quinquennales, games which took place every five years on June 25 and 26 and which was held at the Circus Flaminius in Rome. The games were, according to legend, instituted to placate the gods of the underworld who were held responsible for sending a plague during the reign of Tarquinius Superbus (534-510 BCE).


Her name shows that she was one of Italy's original goddesses, but there is little information about her today.


The Roman goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth. She is closely identified with the Greek goddess Artemis. Diana is also a moon-goddess and was originally worshipped on the mountain Tifata near Capua and in sacred forests (such as Aricia in Latium). Her priest lived in Aricia and if a man was able to kill him with a bough broken from a tree in this forest, he would become priest himself 1. Also torch-bearing processions were held in her honor here. Later she was given a temple in the working-class area on the Aventine Hill where she was mainly worshipped by the lower class (plebeians) and the slaves, of whom she was the patroness. Slaves could also ask for asylum in her temple. Her festival coincided with the idus (13th) of August. Diana was originally a goddess of fertility and, just as Bona Dea, she was worshipped mainly by women as the giver of fertility and easy births. Under Greek influence she was equated with Artemis and assumed many of her aspects. Her name is possibly derived from 'diviana' ("the shining one"). She is portrayed as a huntress accompanied by a deer. Diana was also the goddess of the Latin commonwealth.

Dii Mauri

The 'Moorish gods' mentioned in Latin inscriptions in North Africa, who are almost never named. They were supposed to be 'salutares' (redemptory), 'immortales' (immortal), and 'augusti' (exalted).


Literally "the terrible"; a Latin name for the Furies. The name was mainly used in poetry.

Dis Pater

The Roman ruler of the underworld and fortune, similar to the Greek Hades. Every hundred years, the Ludi Tarentini were celebrated in his honor. The Gauls regarded Dis Pater as their ancestor. The name is a contraction of the Latin Dives, "the wealthy", Dives Pater, "the wealthy father", or "Fater Wealth". It refers to the wealth of precious stone below the earth.


Disciplina is the Roman goddess of discipline.


The personified Roman goddess of strife and discord. She belonged to the retinue of Mars and Bellona. She is the Greek Eris.

Dius Fidus

The Roman god of oaths. Dius Fidus is of Sabine origin.


The Roman goddess who escorts the child safely back home.


The Roman god who guides a bride to her new home.


The Roman god who kept a woman in the house of her husband.


A Roman goddess.


The Roman goddess who inspired and guided Numa Pompilius, the successor of Romulus in the kingship of Rome. She is also regarded as his wife. They used to meet in a sacred grove in the midst of which a spring gushed forth and there she taught him wise legislation and the forms of public worship. After his death in 673 BCE she changed into a well in the forest of Aricia in Latium, which was dedicated to Diana. Egeria is one of the Camenae and was also worshipped as a goddess of birth.


The Roman personification of poverty. Virgil mentioned her later as a demon in the underworld.


This goddess personified the idea of openness and generosity.


Endovelicus is a native god of the pre-Roman communities (Iron Age) in Lusitania (south west of Iberia) later adopted by the Romans themselves. As a god he was concerned with the good health and welfare of the people. There are hundreds of inscriptions of him in Portugal and Spain.


An epithet of Venus because of her worship on mount Eryx on Sicily.


A minor Roman deity who was believed to have introduced the Greek pantheon, laws, the alphabet, and other arts and skills in Rome.

Eventus Bonus

Eventus Bonus ("good ending") is the Roman god of success in business, but who also ensured a good harvest. His statue stood on the Capitol in Rome, near the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.


A minor Roman god of infants. Mentioned by Varro, Fabulinus taught Roman children to utter their first word. He received an offering when the child spoke its first words. (From fabulari, to speak.)


The Roman personification of fertility.


The Roman personified goddess of fame, and the personification of popular rumor. What she heard she repeated first in a whisper to few, then louder and louder until she communicated it to all heaven and earth. Mentioned as a daughter of Tellus. Not truly a goddess, she was more a literary conceit. She had as many eyes, ears, and tongues as she had feathers. Virgil mentions Fama ("rumor") as a horrible creature with multiple tongues and tattling mouths. The Greek version is Pheme.[5]


The Roman personification of hunger. Virgil mentioned that Fames lived in the underworld, next to Poverty. Ovid wrote that she lived in the inhospitable Scythia.


A Roman earth-mother and fertility goddess, usually termed the Bona Dea. She is thought to be the wife, sister or daughter of Faunus. Fauna is identified with Terra, Tellus or Ops.


Among the Romans, fauns were wild forest deities with little horns, the hooves of a goat, and a short tail. They accompanied the god Faunus. Fauns are analogous to the Greek satyrs.


The god of wild nature and fertility, also regarded as the giver of oracles. He was later identified with the Greek Pan and also assumed some of Pan's characteristics such as the horns and hooves. As the protector of cattle he is also referred to as Lupercus ("he who wards off the wolf"). One particular tradition tells that Faunus was the king of Latium, and the son of Picus. After his death he was deified as Fatuus, and a small cult formed around his person in the sacred forest of Tibur (Tivoli). On February 15 (the founding date of his temple) his feast, the Lupercalia, was celebrated. Priests (called the Luperci) wearing goat skins walked through the streets of Rome and hit the spectators with belts made from goat skin. Another festival was the Faunalia, observed on December 5.He is accompanied by the fauns, analogous to the Greek satyrs. His feminine counterpart is Fauna. The wolfskin, wreath, and a goblet are his attributes.


The goddess who protects the herds.


In Roman myth, the shepherd who found the twins Romulus and Remus on the Palentine Hill where they were reared by a she-wolf. He took them with him and gave them to his wife Acca Larentia to raise.


The Roman god of the gentle western wind, the herald of spring. Favonius ("favorable") is equal to the Greek Zephyrus.


The goddess who protects against fever. Febris ("fever") had three temples in ancient Rome, of which one was located between the Palatine and Velabrum.


The Roman personification of success. Her temples were closely associated with the person of the emperor and one was located on the Forum Romanum.


The goddess of the mountain city of Ferentinum in Latium. She was protector of the Latin commonwealth.


The Roman goddess who was invoked to secure a bountiful harvest. She was worshipped in Capena, located at the base of Mount Soracte, and Terracina, and had a temple on the Campus Martius in Rome. She was worshipped as the goddess of freedom by slaves, for it was believed that those who sat on a holy stone in her sanctuary were set free. Her festival took place on November 15.


The Roman goddess of good faith and faithfulness. She was worshipped as Fides Publica Populi Romani (loyalty towards the Roman state). In her temple on the Capitol the Roman Senate confirmed state treaties with foreign powers, which were kept there under her protection.


The goddess of blossoming flowers of spring. She had a minor temple on the Quirinalis and was given a sanctuary near the Circus Maximus in 238 BCE. The festival of the Floralia, celebrated on April 28 -May 1, existed until the 4th century CE. Flora is identified with the Greek Chloris.


The Roman god of wells and springs, son of Janus and Juturna. The festival of Fontus took place on October 13. He is also called Fons.


Fornax ("oven") is the personified Roman goddess of the baking of bread.


The Roman personification of good fortune, originally a goddess of blessing and fertility and in that capacity she was especially worshipped by mothers. Her cult is thought to be introduced by Servius Tullius. She had a temple on the Forum Boarium and a sanctuary, the Fortuna Populi Romani, stood on the Quirinalis. In Praeneste she had an oracle where a small boy randomly choose a little oak rod (sors), upon which a fate was inscribed. Some of Fortuna's names include: Primigenia, Virilis, Respiciens, Muliebris, and Annonaria. She is portrayed standing, wearing a rich dress. The cornucopia, rudder, ball, and blindfold are her attributes. Her Greek counterpart is Tyche.


The Roman personification of treachery.


The Roman goddess of lightning.


The Roman goddess of vengeance. They are equivalent to the Greek Erinyes. The Furies, who are usually characterized as three sisters (Alecto, Tisiphone, and Magaera) are the children of Gaia and Uranus. They resulted from a drop of Uranus' blood falling onto the earth. They were placed in the Underworld by Virgil and it is there that they reside, tormenting evildoers and sinners. However, Greek poets saw them as pursuing sinners on Earth. The Furies are cruel, but are also renowned for being very fair.


The Roman goddess of thieves.


An ancient Roman goddess, who was perhaps a spirit of darkness. Her festival, the Furrinalia, continued to be observed on July 25 in later Roman times, despite the fact that her nature had been forgotten. Her priest was called the flamen Furrinalis. It was in the grove of Furrina that Gaius Sempronius Gracchus ordered his slave to kill him.


The hierodules or priests of Cybele, who castrated themselves in identification with the goddess. The Roman name for the Corybantes.


"Double". An epithet of Janus, referring to his two faces.

Genius / Juno

In Roman mythology, the genius was originally the family ancestor who lived in the underworld. Through the male members he secured the existence of the family. Later, the genius became more a protecting or guardian spirit for persons. These spirits guided and protected that person throughout his life. Every man had a genius, to whom he sacrificed on birthdays. It was believed that the genius would bestow success and intellectual powers on its devotees. Women had their own genius, which was called a juno. The juno was the protector of women, marriage and birth. It was worshipped under many names: Virginalis (juno of the virgin), Matronalis (of the married woman), Pronuba (of the bride), Iugalis (of marriage), etc. Juno was also the name for the queen of the gods. However, not only individuals had guardian spirits: families, households, and cities had their own. Even the Roman people as a whole had a genius. The genius was usually depicted as a winged, naked youth, while the genius of a place was depicted as a serpent. (See also: Lares.)


Hercules, the Latin equivalent of Heracles, was the son of Jupiter and Alcmene. His jealous stepmother, Juno, tried to murder the infant Hercules by putting a serpent in his cradle. Luckily for Hercules, he was born with great strength and killed the serpent. By the time Hercules was an adult, he had already killed a lion. Eventually, Juno drove Hercules insane. Due to his insanity, Hercules killed his wife, Megara, and their three children. Hercules exiled himself because of the shame that he had brought on himself through his lack of sanity.Hercules decided to ask the Delphic Oracle what he should do to regain his honor. The Oracle told Hercules to go to Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, and serve him for twelve years. King Eurystheus couldn't think of any tasks that might prove difficult for the mighty son of Jupiter, so Juno came down from her palace on Olympus to help him. Together, the twosome came up with twelve tasks for Juno's mortal stepson to complete. These tasks are now known as the twelve labors of Hercules. Hercules' first labor was to kill the menacing Nemean Lion; Hercules strangled the creature and carried it back to Mycenae. The second task was to overcome the nine-headed snake known as the Hydra; Hercules' cousin Ioloas helped him out by burning the stumps of the heads after Hercules cut off the heads; since the ninth head was immortal, Hercules rolled a rock over it. The third task was to find the golden-horned stag and bring it back alive; Hercules followed the stag around for one full year; he finally captured the stag and took it back alive. The fourth labor was to capture a wild boar that terrorized Mycenae's people; Hercules chased the boar up a mountain where the boar fell in to a snow drift, where Hercules subdued it. The fifth task of Hercules was to clean the Augean stables, where thousands of cattle were housed, in a single day; Hercules diverted two rivers so that they would flow into the Augean stables. The sixth labor was to destroy the man-eating Stymphalian birds; Hercules drove them out of their hiding places with a rattle and shot them with poison-tipped arrows. The sixth task was for Hercules to capture a Cretean savage bull; Hercules wrestled it to the ground and took it back to King Eurystheus. The eighth labor was to capture the four man-eating mares of Thrace; Hercules threw the master of the mares to them; the horses became very tame, so Hercules safely led them back to Mycenae. Hercules' ninth labor was to obtain the girdle of the fierce Amazon warrior queen, Hippolyta; Hippolyta willingly gave her girdle to Hercules, but Juno convinced the Amazons that Hercules was trying to take Hippolyta from them, so Hercules fought them off and returned to his master with the girdle. The tenth labor was to capture the cattle of the monster, Geryon; Hercules killed Geryon, claimed the cattle, and took them back to the king. The eleventh task was to get the golden-apples of the Hesperides; Hercules told Atlas that if he would get the apples for him, he (Hercules) would hold the heavens for him; when Atlas returned from his task, Hercules tricked him into taking back the heavens. The final labor of Hercules was to bring the three-headed watchdog of the underworld, Cerberus, to the surface without using any weapons; Hercules seized two of Cerberus' heads and the dog gave in. Hercules took the dog to his master, who ordered him to take it back. Finally, after twelve years and twelve tasks, Hercules was a free man. Hercules went to the town of Thebes and married Deianira. She bore him many children. Later on in their life, the male centaur, Nessus, abducted Deianira, but Hercules came to her rescue by shooting Nessus with a poison tipped arrow. The dying Nessus told Deianira to keep a portion of his blood to use as a love potion on Hercules if she felt that she was losing him to another woman. A couple of a months later, Deianira thought that another woman was coming between her and her husband, so Deianira washed one of Hercules' shirts in Nessus' blood and gave it to him to wear. Nessus had lied to her, for the blood really acted as a poison and almost killed Hercules. On his funeral pyre, the dying Hercules ascended to Olympus, where he was granted immortality and lived among the gods.


The wife of Romulus. She was, just as her husband, deified after his death.


The son of the goddess Feronia. He had three lives and was killed by Evander.


The Roman goddess of horses. Her image is derived from the Gallic goddess Epona, whose cult was adopted by the Roman soldiers.


The Roman deity of morality and military honor. There were several temples devoted to him in Rome. Honos is depicted as a young warrior bearing a lance and a Cornucopia ("horn of plenty").

Horatus Cocles

A legendary hero from the earliest history of Rome. When the Etruscans lay siege to Rome and occupied the Ianiculus Hill, Cocles defended the bridge that led to the city all by himself, against overwhelming odds. Meanwhile the Romans demolished the bridge behind his back and when they were done, he dove into the water and swam to safety.


The Roman god of the third ploughing. See also Redarator and Vervactor.

Indigites Dii

The group of original, native Roman gods, in contrast to the Novensiles Dii, gods imported from elsewhere. The Indigites Dii were only invoked in special situations. They are the protectors of homes, stables, barns, fields, meadows, et cetera.


The Roman goddess of jealousy.

Inferi Dii

The Roman gods of the underworld.


The Roman gods of herds.


An ancient Italian hero, the son of Penelope and Telegonus. He was king of the Oenotrians or of the Siculi, who are regarded as the first inhabitants of Italy.


A minor Roman goddess. She is the wife of the god Janus.


Janus is the Roman god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, and hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person's life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people. One tradition states that he came from Thessaly and that he was welcomed by Camese in Latium, where they shared a kingdom. They married and had several children, among which the river god Tiberinus (after whom the river Tiber is named). When his wife died, Janus became the sole ruler of Latium. He sheltered Saturn when he was fleeing from Jupiter. Janus, as the first king of Latium, brought the people a time of peace and welfare; the Golden Age. He introduced money, cultivation of the fields, and the laws. After his death he was deified and became the protector of Rome. When Romulus and his associates stole the Sabine Virgins, the Sabines attacked the city. The daughter of one of the guards on the Capitolian Hill betrayed her fellow countrymen and guided the enemy into the city. They attempted to climb the hill but Janus made a hot spring erupt from the ground, and the would-be attackers fled from the city. Ever since, the gates of his temple were kept open in times of war so the god would be ready to intervene when necessary. In times of peace the gates were closed. His most famous sanctuary was a portal on the Forum Romanum through which the Roman legionaries went to war. He also had a temple on the Forum Olitorium, and in the first century another temple was built on the Forum of Nerva. This one had four portals, called Janus Quadrifons. When Rome became a republic, only one of the royal functions survived, namely that of rex sacrorum or rex sacrificulus. His priests regularly sacrificed to him. The month of January (the eleventh Roman month) is named after him. Janus was represented with two faces, originally one face was bearded while the other was not (probably a symbol of the sun and the moon). Later both faces were bearded. In his right hand he holds a key. The double-faced head appears on many Roman coins, and around the 2nd century BCE even with four faces.


The genitive form of the name, and specifically in this form, of the sky god Jupiter.


Protector and special counselor of the Roman state and queen of the gods. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman empire she was called Regina ("queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome. As the Juno Moneta (she who warns) she guarded over the finances of the empire and had a temple on the Arx (one of two Capitoline hills), close to the Royal Mint. She was also worshipped in many other cities, where temples were built in her honor. The primary feast of Juno Lucina, called the Matronalia, was celebrated on March 1. On this day, lambs and other cattle were sacrificed to her. Another festival took place on July 7 and was called Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig"). The month of June was named after her. She can be identified with the Greek goddess Hera and, like Hera, Juno was a majestical figure, wearing a diadem on the head. The peacock is her symbolic animal. A juno is also the protecting and guardian spirit of females.


Jupiter is the supreme god of the Roman pantheon, called dies pater, "shining father". He is a god of light and sky, and protector of the state and its laws. He is a son of Saturn and brother of Neptune and Juno (who is also his wife). The Romans worshipped him especially as Jupiter Optimus Maximus (all-good, all-powerful). This name refers not only to his rulership over the universe, but also to his function as the god of the state who distributes laws, controls the realm and makes his will known through oracles. His English name is Jove. He had a temple on the Capitol, together with Juno and Minerva, but he was the most prominent of this Capitoline triad. His temple was not only the most important sanctuary in Rome; it was also the center of political life. Here official offerings were made, treaties were signed and wars were declared, and the triumphant generals of the Roman army came here to give their thanks. Other titles of Jupiter include: Caelestis (heavenly), Lucetius (of the light), Totans (thunderer), Fulgurator (of the lightning). As Jupiter Victor he led the Roman army to victory. Jupiter is also the protector of the ancient league of Latin cities. His attribute is the lightning bolt and the eagle is both his symbol and his messenger. Jupiter is completely identical with the Greek Zeus.


The Roman goddess of justice, portrayed as a woman holding a cornucopia and scales. Later she is portrayed with a blindfold, holding scales and a sword (or scepter).


The Roman goddess of wells and springs, sister of Turnus (the king of Rutuli) whom she supported in his battle against Aeneas. Jupiter turned her into a nymph and gave her a well near Lavinium in Latium. She also gave her name to a well near the Vesta-temple of the Forum Romanum, called the Lacus Juturnae. The water from this well was used for the state-offerings. Also, the Dioscuri were thought to have watered their horses here. She is the mother of Fontus (Fons) and wife of Janus.


"Youth". An early Roman goddess of youth, equal to the Greek goddess Hebe. Boys offered a coin to her when they wore a man's toga for the first time. The temple of Juventas on the Capitol was more ancient than that of Jupiter. She also had a second temple in the Circus Maximus.


The Roman god of agriculture of whom it was said that he made the crops 'yield milk' (thrive).


Lara is a nymph who betrayed the love affair of Jupiter and Juturna. As punishment, the chief god struck her with dumbness. She is regarded as the mother of the Lares.


The Roman earth-goddess, also called Dea Tacita, the silent goddess. Her festival, called the Larentalia, was observed on December 23. On this day offerings were brought to her in a mundus, a opened groove.


Roman guardian spirits of house and fields. The cult of the Lares is probably derived from the worshipping of the deceased master of the family. It was believed that he blessed the house and brought fertility to the fields. Just like the Penates, the Lares were worshipped in small sanctuaries or shrines, called Lararium, which could be found in every Roman house. They were placed in the atrium (the main room) or in the peristylium (a small open court) of the house. Here people sacrificed food to the Lares on holidays. In contrast to their malignant counterparts the Larvae (Lemures), the Lares are beneficent and friendly spirits. There were many different types of guardians. The most important are the Lares Familiares (guardians of the family), Lares Domestici (guardians of the house), Lares Patrii and Lares Privati. Other guardians were the Lares Permarini (guardians of the sea), Lares Rurales (guardians of the land), Lares Compitales (guardians of crossroads), Lares Viales (guardians of travelers) and Lares Praestitis (guardians of the state). The Lares are usually depicted as dancing youths, with a horn cup in one hand and a bowl in the other. As progenitors of the family, they were accompanied by symbolic phallic serpents.


The Larvae are Roman spirits of deceased family members. These malignant spirits dwell throughout the house and frighten the inhabitants. People tried to reconcile or avert the Larvae with strange ceremonies which took place on May 9, 11, and 13; this was called the "Feast of the Lemures". The master of the house usually performed these ceremonies, either by offering black beans to the spirits or chasing them away by making a lot of noise. Their counterparts are the Lares, friendly and beneficent house spirits.


"God of Latium", an epithet of Jupiter.


The son of Faunus and the nymph Marica. He was the king of Laurentum in Latium and ancestor of the Latini. According to Roman myth he had welcomed Aeneas, who returned from exile, and offered the hero the hand of his daughter Lavinia.[6]


The Roman name of Leto. Leto, the daughter of the Titans Phoebe and Coeus. Known as the hidden one and bright one, her name came to be used for the moon Selene. Hera was jealous of Leto because Zeus, the husband of Hera, had fallen in love with her. From their union Leto bore the divine twins, Artemis and Apollo. Leto found this to be an arduous task, as Hera had refused Leto to give birth on either terra firma or on an island out at sea. The only place safe enough to give birth was Delos because Delos was a floating island. Therefore, Leto did not refute the wishes of Hera. In some versions, Leto was refused by other vicinities because they feared the great power of the god she would bear. To show her gratitude, Leto anchored Delos to the bottom of the Aegean with four columns, to aid its stability. A conflict of legends arises when in one version it says that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, and the birth took place on the island of Ortygia. Then the next day, Artemis helped Leto to cross to the island of Delos, and aided Leto with the delivery of Apollo. Leto, being the mother of Artemis and Apollo, figured as the motive for the slaughter was Niobe's children was that Niobe had been bragging to Leto about bearing fourteen children (in some versions six or seven). Leto had only born two, and to make matters worse, Niobe then had the audacity to say, it must make her more significant than Leto. When the divine twins were told of this insult, they killed all Niobe's children with their deadly arrows. After which Niobe wept for her dead children so much that she turned into a pillar of stone. From one version of how Apollo slew the monster Python, it was said that while Leto was still pregnant with the divine twins, Python tried to molest her. As punishment, Apollo killed him and then took control of the oracle of Delphi. Leto was worshiped throughout Greece, but principally in Lycia (Asia Minor). In Delos and Athens, there were temples dedicated to her, although in most regions she was worshiped in conjunction with her children, Artemis and Apollo. In Egypt there is the Temple of Leto (Wadjet) at Buto, which was described by Herodotus as being connected to an island which floated. On this island (Khemmis) stood a temple to Apollo, but Herodotus dismissed the claim that it floated as merely the legend of Delos brought to Egypt from Greek tradition. The Romans called Leto "Latona".


The Roman goddess of unlawfully obtained profits and therefore a goddess of thieves, imposters and frauds. Her sanctuary in Rome was near the Porta Lavernalis.


The daughter of Latinus and Amata. Although she was engaged to Turnus, king of the Rutuli, she was given by her father to Aeneas as his bride. This resulted in a grim battle between Turnus and Aeneas, which is described by Virgil in one of his last books of the epic 'Aeneas', and which ended with the death of Turnus. Aeneas married Lavinia and she gave birth to Silvius. The city Aeneas founded in Latium, called Lavinium, was named after her.


A monster which lives in the underworld. The name means 'death'.


Levana ("lifter") is the protector of newborn babes. The father recognized his child by lifting it from the ground, where it was placed by the mother.


The old-Italian god of fertility and growth in nature. In later times Liber ("the free one") was equated with Dionysus and became thus a god of viniculture. His feminine counterpart is Libera. Their festival, the Liberia, was observed on March 17.

Liber Pater

The Roman god of fertility, both human and agricultural. He is closely connected with Dionysus.


A Roman goddess, wife of Liber. She is later equated with Proserpina.


The Roman god of generosity.


The Roman goddess of freedom. Originally as goddess of personal freedom, she later became the goddess of the Roman commonwealth. She had temples on the Aventine Hill and the Forum. Libertas was depicted on many Roman coins as a female figure with a pileus (a felt cap, worn by slaves when they were set free), a wreath of laurels and a spear.


The Roman goddess of corpses and the funeral, her name often being a synonym for death itself. In her temple all the necessary equipment for burials were kept. Here, people could rent these attributes as well as grave diggers. Later she was equated with Proserpina.


The Roman goddess of thresholds.


The goddess to whom the Romans offered captured weapons by ritually burning them.


The Roman goddess of childbirth, who eased the pain and made sure all went well. Lucina became later a epithet of Juno, as "she who brings children into the light" (Latin: lux).


The personified goddess of the moon. Later she is identified with Diana and Hecate. Her temple, on the Aventine Hill, was erected in the 6th century BCE but was destroyed by the great fire under Nero's regime. She is equivalent to the Greek Selene.


The Roman god of agriculture and shepherds, also an epithet of Faunus. The Luperci sacrificed two goats and a dog on the festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15. This took place in the Lupercal, a cave were, according to tradition, the twins Romulus and Remus were reared by a wolf. This cave is located at the base of the Palatin Hill. Goats were used since Lupercus was a god of shepherds, and the dog as protector of the flock.

Magna Mater

The Roman name for the Phrygian goddess Cybele, but also an appellation of Rhea. The full name was Magna Mater deorum Idaea: Great Mother of the gods, who was worshipped on Mount Ida. The cult spread through Greece from the 6th to 4th century, and was introduced in Rome in 205 BCE.


The goddess of whom the month of May is probably named after. Offerings were made to her in this month. She is associated with Vulcan and sometimes equated with Fauna and Ops.


The Roman goddess of honor and reverence, and the wife of the god Vulcan. Some sources say that the month of May is named after her. Others say she is the goddess Maia.


Manes or Di Manes ("good ones") is the euphemistic description of the souls of the deceased, worshipped as divinities. The formula D.M. ( = Dis Manibus; "dedicated to the Manes-gods") can often be found on tombstones. Manes also means metaphorically 'underworld' or 'realm of death'. Festivals in honor of the dead were the Parentalia and the Feralia, celebrated in February.


Mania was known as the Roman goddess of the dead. She is also the guardian of the underworld, together with Mantus. Mania -- the name -- is the Greek personification of madness. In addition, she is called the mother or grandmother of ghosts. She is also considered the mother of the Lares and Nanes, the gods of the household.


An Italian nymph, the consort of Faunus and mother of Latinus[7]

According to others, she was the mother of Faunus. She possessed a sacred forest near Minturnae (Minturno) on the border of Latium and Campania[8] . A lake near Minturnae was named after her.


The god of war, and one of the most prominent and worshipped gods. In early Roman history he was a god of spring, growth in nature, and fertility, and the protector of cattle. Mars is also mentioned as a chthonic god (earth-god) and this could explain why he became a god of death and finally a god of war. He is the son of Jupiter and Juno. According to some sources, Mars is the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Ilia (Rhea Silvia). Because he was the father of these legendary founders of Rome, and thus of the Roman people, the Romans styled themselves 'sons of Mars'. His main sanctuaries where the temple on the Capitol, which he shared with Jupiter and Quirinus, the temple of Mars Gradivus ("he who precedes the army in battle") where the Roman army gathered before they went to war, and the temple of Mars Ultor ("the avenger"), located on the Forum Augustus. The Campus Martius ("field of Mars"), situated beyond the city walls, was also dedicated to him. Here the army was drilled and athletes were trained. In the Regia on the Forum Romanum, the 'hastae Martiae' ("lances of Mars") were kept. When these lances 'moved', it was seen as a portent of war. The warlord who was to lead the army into battle had to move the lances while saying 'Mars vigila' ("Mars awaken"). As Mars Gradivus, the god preceded the army and led them to victory. He had several festivals in his honor. On March 1, the Feriae Marti was celebrated. The Armilustrium was held on October 19, and on this day the weapons of the soldiers were ritually purified and stored for winter. Every five years the Suovetaurilia was held. During these fertility and cleansing rites, a pig (sus), a sheep (ovis) and bull (taurus) were sacrificed. The Equirria were on February 27 and March 14, on which horse races were held. The Quinquatrus was on March 19 and the Tubilustrium on March 23, on which weapons and war-trumpets were cleansed. The priests of Mars, who also served Quirinus, were called the Salii ("jumpers"), derived from the procession through the streets of the city which they completed by jumping the entire way and singing the Carmen Saliare. Mars' own priest was called the flamen Martialis.

Mars is portrayed as a warrior in full battle armor, wearing a crested helmet and bearing a shield. His sacred animals are the wolf and the woodpecker, and he is accompanied by Fuga and Timor, the personifications of flight and fear. The month March (Martius) is named after him (wars were often started or renewed in spring). His Greek equivalent is the god Ares.


The three mother-goddess of Roman mythology who oversee fertility. The are lovers of peace, tranquility and children.


The Roman goddess of the dawn. Later she was known as Mater Matuta, the patroness of newborn babes, but also of the sea and harbors. Her temple was situated on the Forum Boarium (the cattle market). Every June 11, the Matralia was celebrated here. This festival was only open to women who were still in their first marriage. She was associated with Aurora and identified with the Greek Eos.


An ancient and poetic name for Mars.[9]


A Roman goddess of wine and health whose name means "healer". Her festival, the Meditrinalia, was observed on October 11.


The Roman goddess who was especially worshipped in volcanic areas and swamps. She is the personification of the poisonous vapors of the earth.


A Roman sea nymph.[10]


The Roman divinity who protects the bees. Her name is derived from mel ("honey").


The Roman goddess of menstruation.


The Roman goddess of mind and consciousness. Her festival was observed on May 8.


A Roman goddess who was particularly worshipped regions with volcanoes or solfataras (volcanic vents emitting hot gases and vapors). She was called upon to protect against damages and poisonous gases).


Mercury is god of trade and profit, merchants and travelers, but originally of the trade in corn. In later times he was equated with the Greek Hermes. He had a temple in Rome near the Circus Maximus on the Aventine Hill which dates back to 495 BCE. This temple was connected to some kind of trade fair. His main festival, the Mercuralia, was celebrated on May 15 and on this day the merchants sprinkled their heads and their merchandise with water from his well near the Porta Capena. During the time of the Roman Empire the cult of Mercury was widely spread, especially among the Celtic and Germanic peoples. The Celts have their Gaulish Mercury, and the Germans identified him with their Wodan. The attributes of Mercury are the caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes) and a purse (a symbol of his connection with commerce). He is portrayed similarly to Hermes: dressed in a wide cloak, wearing talaria (winged sandals) and petasus (winged hat). Mercury is also known as Alipes ("with the winged feet").


Messor ("mower") is the Roman god agriculture, and especially of mowing.


The Roman goddess of wisdom, medicine, the arts, dyeing, science and trade, but also of war. As Minerva Medica she is the patroness of physicians. She is the daughter of Jupiter. In the temple on the Capitoline Hill she was worshipped together with Jupiter and Juno, with whom she formed a powerful triad of gods. Another temple of her was located on the Aventine Hill. The church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva is built on one of her temples. Every year from March 19 - 23 the Quinquatria was held, the primary Minerva-festival. This festival was mainly celebrated by artisans but also by students. On June 13 the minor Quinquatrus was observed. Minerva is believed to be the inventor of numbers and musical instruments. She is thought to be of Etruscan origin, as the goddess Menrva or Menerva. Later she was equated with the Greek Athena.


A Roman goddess of prosperity.


The personified Roman god of death. It is a translation of Thanatos.


The Roman goddess of death. She is one of the Parcae.


"The softener". A surname of the smith-god Vulcan and alluding to the softening of metals in his fiery forge.


A Roman goddess of indistinct origin and of whom is little known. As Murtia she was sometimes equated with Venus. She had a temple in the vale between the Aventine and the Palatine Hill.


The Roman personification of silence, and its goddess.

Mutinus Mutunus

A Roman fertility god who was invoked by women seeking to bear children. He was depicted as ithyphallic or as a phallus. Also the Roman form (Mutinus) of the Greek Priapus.


Naenia is the Roman goddess of funerals.


One of the many Roman goddesses of birth.


Necessitas ("necessity") is a Roman goddess of destiny. She is similar to the Greek Ananke.


A Roman god of the woods.


The god of the sea among the Romans. He was not a very powerful god, and little is known of his origin. When he was first introduced in Rome, he already had all the characteristics of the Greek Poseidon. Despite the fact that his cult grew after his equation with Poseidon, Neptune was far less popular among sailors than Poseidon was among the Greek mariners. Neptune was held in much higher regard as Neptune Equester, the god and patron of horse-racing and horses. One of temples was located near the Circus Flaminius, one of the larger trace-tracks. Another sanctuary was in the Campus Martius (25 BCE) were the Neptunalia was celebrated on July 23. The trident is Neptune's attribute.


A minor Roman goddess, and the consort of Mars.


Roman divinities who were invoked by women in labor and who assisted in giving birth (from the Latin nitor, "give birth to").


The Roman god who was held responsible for making the knots in the stalks of corn.


The Roman goddess of pregnancy. Nona ("ninth") was called upon by a pregnant mother in the ninth month when the child was due to be born. In later times she became associated with the goddesses Morta and Decima and formed the Parcae, the Roman Fates.


The Roman appellation of the nine great gods of the Etruscans.


"Night". The Roman personification of the night[11]


The Roman goddess of the ninth day, on which the newborn child received its name.


The Roman god of ploughing.


The Roman god of harrowing.


The Roman (Sabine) goddess of the earth as a source of fertility, and a goddess of abundance and wealth in general (her name means "plenty"). As goddess of harvest she is closely associated with the god Consus. She is the sister and wife of Saturn. One of her temples was located near Saturn's temple, and on August 10 a festival took place there. Another festival was the Opalia, which was observed on December 9. On the Forum Romanum she shared a sanctuary with the goddess Ceres as the protectors of the harvest. The major temple was of Ops Capitolina, on the Capitoline Hill, where Caesar had located the Treasury. Another sanctuary was located in the Regia on the Forum Romanun, where also the Opiconsivia was observed on August 25. Only the official priests and the Vestal Virgins had access to this altar.


The Roman goddess invoked by parents who became childless, and begged her to grant them children again.


The Roman god of death and the underworld, either a terrible god or a gentle one. He is the god of oaths and punisher of perjurers. Orcus is identical to the Greek Hades, both the god and his domains.


The Roman patron goddess of shepherds and flocks. Pales also presides over the health and fertility of the domestic animals. Her festival is the Palilia (also called the Parilia) and was celebrated by shepherds on April 21, the legendary founding date of Rome. On that day large fires were made through which they drove the cattle. Pales was originally a single deity, variously male or female, with the same characteristics. The name is believed by some to be related to the Greek and Latin word phallus.


The twin sons of Jupiter and the nymph Thalia. They were chthonic deities worshipped at the Palica, near Mount Etna. In early times humans were sacrificed to them and oaths were verified through divine judgement.


The Parcae are the Roman goddess of fate, similar to the Greek Moirae (Fates). Originally there was only one of them, Parca, a goddess of birth. Her name is derived from parere ("create, give birth") but later it was associated with pars (Greek: moira, "part") and thus analogous with the three Greek Moirae. The three Parcae are also called Tria Fata.


A minor Roman goddess of birth. She is concerned with the parturition.


The Roman deity who protects the blossoms.


The Roman goddess who protects children against sudden fright.


Pax ("peace") is the personified Roman goddess of peace, corresponding with the Greek Eirene. Under the rule of Augustus, she was recognized as a goddess proper. She had a minor sanctuary, the Ara Pacis, on the Campus Martius, and a temple on the Forum Pacis. A festival in her honor was celebrated on January 3. Her attributes are the olive branch, a cornucopia, and a scepter.


In Roman mythology, the Penates ("the inner ones") are the patron gods of the storeroom. Later they gradually changed into patron gods for the entire household. Their cult is closely related to that of Vesta and the Lares. They were worshipped at the hearth and were given their part of the daily meals. The Roman state had its own Penates, called Penates Publici. They were rescued by Aeneas from burning Troy and via Lavinium and Longa brought to Rome. Upon their arrival, the Penates were housed in the Temple of Vesta, on the Forum Romanum.


Picumnus is a minor Roman god of growth and the fertility of the fields. He is the patron of matrimony and infants at birth and stimulated their growth. He is also worshipped as Sterquilinus (or Stercutus) because he invented the manuring of the fields.


The ancient Roman deity of agriculture. He also possessed the powers of prophecy. He was changed into a woodpecker by Circe when he did not requite her passion.


The Roman personification of feelings of duty towards the gods, the state and one's family. Her temple at the foot of the Capitoline Hill dates from the beginning of the second century BCE.


Pilumnus is a minor Roman god, the brother of Picumnus and together they stimulated the growth of little children and avert sickness. To ensure to help of these gods, people made an extra bed right after the birth of a child. Pilumnus is also believed to have taught mankind how to grind corn.


Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld and the judge of the dead. Pluto was the son of Saturn. Pluto's wife was Proserpina (Greek name, Persephone) whom he had kidnapped and dragged into the underworld. His brothers were Jupiter and Neptune. People referred to Pluto as the rich one because he owned all the wealth in the ground. People were afraid to say his real name because they were afraid it might attract his attention. Black sheep were offered to him as sacrifices. Pluto was known as a pitiless god because if a mortal entered his Underworld they could never hope to return. Pluto's Greek name is Hades.


Literally, "sender of rain", an epithet of the Roman god Jupiter. During long droughts the ancient Romans called upon Jupiter using that name. It is also an epithet of the Hyades.


The Roman goddess of punishment.


The goddess presiding over fruit trees. She was the beloved of many ancient Roman rustic deities such as Silvanus and Picus until Vertumnus, disguised as an old woman, goaded her into marrying him. Her special priest is the flamen Pomonalis. The pruning knife is her attribute.


The Roman god of ports and harbors, identified with the Greek Palaemon or Melicertes. Originally he was a god of keys and doors and domestic animals. He protects the warehouses where grain is stored, and is as such a god of the harbors. His temple was located near the Forum Boarium. The Portunalia were observed on August 17, and on this festival keys were thrown into the fire to safeguard them against misfortune. His attribute is a key.


The Roman god of plenty.


The Roman goddess of the past.


The Roman goddess associated with the first drink of children or children's potions.


The Roman patron god of gardens, viniculture, sailors and fishermen. He is portrayed wearing a long dress that leaves the genitals uncovered. The Romans placed a satyr-like statue of him, painted red and with an enormous phallus, in gardens as some kind of scarecrow, but also to ensure fruitfulness. The fruits of the fields, honey and milk were offered to him, and occasionally donkeys. He was very popular and in his honor the Priapea was written--a collection of 85 perfectly written poems, sometimes funny but usually obscene. Originally, Priapus was a fertility god from Asia Minor, especially in Lampsacus on the Hellespont, and was the most important god of the local pantheon (see: the Greek Priapus). He was introduced in Greece around 400 BCE but never was very popular. Priapus' attribute is the pruning knife.


The Roman god associated with the bringing out of the harvest from the barns.

Prorsa Postverta

The Roman double-goddess who was called upon by women in labor. She guarded over the position of the child in the womb (forwards or backwards). Some sources mention her as another aspect of Carmenta.


The Roman name for the Greek Persephone. The name is possibly derived from proserpere ("to emerge"), meaning the growing of the grain. Gradually, Libera was equated with her.


The Roman goddess of forethought.


Literally, "modesty". The personified Roman goddess of modesty and chastity.


A Roman goddesses who watched over the pruning of vines and trees.


An old Roman deity whose origin is uncertain, and there is also little known about his cult. He was worshipped by the Sabines, an old Italian people who lived north-east of Rome. They had a fortified settlement near Rome, the Quirinal, which was named after their god. Later, when Rome expanded, this settlement was absorbed by the city, and Quirinus became, together with Jupiter and Mars, the god of the state. The Quirinalis, one of the Roman hills, was named after him. His consort is Hora. He was usually depicted as a bearded man who wears clothing that is part clerical and part military. His sacred plant is the myrtle. His festival, the Quirinalia, was celebrated on February 17. Romulus was also identified with Quirinus, especially in the late-Roman era[12]



Quiritis is a Sabine protective goddess of motherhood.


The Roman god of the second ploughing. See also Imporcitor and Vervactor.


The Roman god of the second ploughing. See also Imporcitor and Vervactor.


The twin brother of Romulus. He was killed by his brother during a quarrel.[13]

Rhea Silvia

The Vestal virgin who became, by Mars, the mother of the twins Romulus and Remus. She is the daughter of king Numitor of Alba Longa, who was dethroned by his brother Amulius. Her uncle gave her to the goddess Vesta so she would remain a virgin for the rest of her life. Amulius had learned from an oracle that her children would become a threat to his power. However, because she had violated her sacred vow, she and her children were cast in the Tiber. The god Tiberinus rescued her and made her his wife.[14]


A Roman goddess of corn. She is probably the feminine form of Robigus.


The Roman god who protected the corn against diseases. Robigus ("wheat rust", "mildew") was worshipped together with Flora. His festival, the Robigalia, took place on April 25. His functions were also attributed to the female goddess Robigo.


The personification of the city of Rome. She is portrayed as a helmed woman sitting on a throne, holding a spear and a sword. Resting against her throne is a shield. Her head was commonly depicted on coins, symbolizing the Roman state. Her temple and the temple of Venus were situated on the Valia Hill in Rome. Hadrianus started building it in 121 CE and the temple was inaugurated around 140 CE by Antonius Pius.


Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars. They were, together with their mother, cast into the Tiber. The god Tiberinus saved Rhea Silvia from drowning, and the brothers were miraculously rescued by a she-wolf. The wolf reared the twins together with her cubs underneath a fig tree (the 'ruminalus ficus'). After a few years they were found by the shepherd Faustulus, who took the brothers home and gave them to his wife Acca Larentia to raise. When they reached maturity they killed Amelius, the brother of their grandfather, and built a settlement on the Palatine Hill. During a quarrel where Remus mocked the height of the walls, Romulus slew Remus and became the sole ruler of the new Rome, which he had named after himself. He took Hersilia as his wife. To enlarge his empire, he allowed exiles and refugees, homicides and runaway slaves to populate the area. The shortage of women he solved by stealing Sabine women whom he invited to a festival. After a few wars, the Sabines agreed to accept Romulus as their king. Upon his death he was taken to the heavens by his father Mars. He is later revered as the god Quirinus.


The Roman protector of nursing mothers and suckling infants, both human and animal. She had a temple near the Ficus Ruminales, the fig tree on the Palatine Hill were Romulus and Remus were reared by a she-wolf. When the tree started to droop in 58 CE this was seen as a bad portent.


A Roman deity associated with reaping.


A Roman divinity who protects the fields (also known as Rusor).


The son of Sancus, the oldest king of the Sabines, who worshipped him as a god.


A Roman sea goddess. The god Neptune wanted to marry her but she ran off and hid from him in the Atlantic ocean. Neptune sent a dolphin to look for her and when the animal found her it brought her back to him. Salacia agreed to marry Neptune and the dolphin was awarded a place in the heavens. Salacia bore Neptune three children. She is identified with the Greek god, Amphitrite.


Salus ("salvation") is the personified Roman goddess of health and prosperity, both of the individual and the state. As Salus Publica Populi Romani ("goddess of the public welfare of the Roman people") she had a temple on the Quirinal, inaugurated in 302 BCE[15]

. Later she became more a protector of personal health. Around 180 BCE sacrificial rites in honor of Apollo, Aesculapius, and Salus took place there[16] . Her attribute was a snake or a bowl and her festival was celebrated on March 30. Salus is identified with the Greek Hygieia.


An ancient Roman deity who presides over oaths and good faith. He is also called Semo Sancus Dius Fidus.


The Roman god of weeding and hoeing.


The Roman god of agriculture concerned with the sowing of the seeds. He is regarded as the father of Jupiter, Ceres, Juno and many others. His wife is the goddess Ops. Jupiter supposedly chased him away and he was taken in by the god Janus in Latium where he introduced agriculture and viniculture. This event heralded a period of peace, happiness and prosperity, the Golden Age. In memory of this Golden Age, each year the Saturnalia was observed on December 17 at his temple on the Forum Romanum. This temple, below the Capitoline Hill, contained the Royal Treasury and is one of the oldest in Rome. The Saturnalia was one of the major events of the year. Originally only one day, it was later extended to seven days. During this festival, business was suspended, the roles of master and slaves were reversed, moral restrictions were loosened and gifts were exchanged. Offerings made in his honor were done with uncovered heads, contrary to the Roman tradition. In contrast to his festival, Saturn himself was never very popular. From the 3rd century on, he was identified with the Greek Cronus, and his cult became only marginally more popular. That he ruled over the Golden Age is an extension to the Greek myth. Saturday is named after him.


The Roman goddess of sowing.


The Roman goddess who brought about a young child's first awareness.


One of the companions of Aeneas. He was the ancestor of the gens Sergia, a renowned Patrician family of Rome, to whom also Catilina belonged[17]



The Roman god of forests, groves and wild fields. As fertility god he is the protector of herds and cattle and is associated with Faunus. He shows many similarities with the Greek Pan (Silvanus also liked to scare lonely travelers). The first fruits of the fields were offered to him, as well as meat and wine--a ritual women were not allowed to witness. His attributes are a pruning knife and a bough from a pine tree.


The son of Aeneas and Lavinia. He was the successor of Ascanius as the king of Alba Longa.[18]



The personified Roman god of the sun, completely identical to the Greek Helios. He was possibly worshipped as Sol Indiges in his temple on the Quirinalis. A second temple was located at the Circus Maximus, near the race-tracks, where he was considered to be the protector of the four-in-hands which joined the races. The emperor Heliogabalus imported the cult of Sol Invictus ("the invincible sun") from Syria and Sol was made god of the state.


The Roman god of sleep, a translation of the Greek Hypnos. Somnus caused the death of Palunurus, the helsman of Aeneas, who fell asleep at the coast of Lucania[19]



A Sabine sun-god who was venerated at Mount Soracte (north of Rome). His priests were called the Hirpi Sorani ("wolfs of Soranus") who celebrated a rite in which they walked barefoot on burning coals. Virgil identified Soranus with Apollo (as Apollo Soranus)[20]

. At the foot of the Soracte was the precinct of Feronia.


A Roman god of luck.


The personified Roman goddess of hope. She had a sanctuary on the vegetable market. Spes is portrayed as a young woman holding a cornucopia and a flower.


The Roman god who was called upon when people removed thorns from the fields. The name is derived from spina ("spine").

Stata Mater

The Roman goddess who guards against fires, and was thus associated with Vulcan. She was at times equated with Vesta. A statue of Stata Mater was located on the Forum.


The Roman god who, together with his wife Statina, watched over the first time a child went away and returned.


An alternative name of Jupiter as the god who halted retreat or flight (stare - standing). In Rome there were two temples of Jupiter Stator. The oldest (on the Velia Hill) was, according to legend, built by Romulus himself during the war against the Sabeans, when the Romans where forced to retreat[21]

. The simple sanctuary of Romulus was replaced by a proper temple in 294 BCE [22] .


A Roman god who took care of the fertilization of farmland (stercus, manure). An alternative name of Saturn or, according to others, Picumnus.


The Roman goddess who incites passion in women (especially in the Bacchae). She is equated with the Greek Semele.


The Roman goddess of strength and vigor, of Sabine origin. She was worshipped in Rome at the beginning of the new year. Her sanctuary was in the Via Sacra.


The goddess of persuasion, and especially in love. She is a follower of Venus.


The Roman god of weeding.


The Roman god of nightly thunder (Jupiter is the god of thunder during daytime). Sammunas' temple stood at the Circus Maximus and on June 20 cakes were offered to him. Probably of Etruscan or Sabean origin. A Roman or Estruscan marital demon who was called upon when the bride was taken to the house of the groom. He is supposed to have been a friend of Romulus and played a part in the stealing of Sabine women. The term 'Talassio' was used when the bride entered her new house[23]


"Earth". The personified Roman goddess of the earth. She is also a fertility goddess, known as Bona Dea.

Terra Mater

The Roman 'mother earth', the goddess of fertility and growth. Her most prominent festival was the Fordicidia on April 15 where cows being with young were sacrificed. Another festival was the Feriae Sementivae ("the sowing feast in January") where offering where made to her and Ceres before harvesting.


The Roman god of the river Tiber. When Aeneas and his Trojan exiles arrived in Latium, the god assisted them. Later Tiberinus also appeared to Aeneas to give him advise. The Volturnia was his festival. His is the father of Ocnus with Manto. There existed a cult of Tiberinus in the early days of Rome, but practically nothing is known about it now.


The god of the river Anio, a tributary of the Tiber. Legend has it that he founded the Italian city Tibur (Tivoli).


In Roman mythology, Trivia is the personified deity of crossroads, derived from the Latin trivium ("meeting of three roads"). She was represented with three faces, and sometimes identified with the Greek Hecate.


A title given to Mars when, after defeating the murderers of Julius Caesar at Philippi, Augustus built a temple to him in the Forum at Rome.


Ulysses, the Latin equivalent of the Greek Odysseus, was the king of Ithaca, a Greek island. He was married to Penelope and they had a son named Telemachus. He was one of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War. The Greeks fought the Trojans for ten years, but Ulysses came up with a plan to burn down Troy and save Helen, the wife of Melanos, the Spartan king. He had the Greek army build a wooden horse that he and nineteen other soldiers could fit in. All of the Greek warships left the shores of Troy and left the horse behind. The Trojans thought that it was a gift from the Greeks, so the people of Troy brought it through the gates of the city. Late that night, Ulysses and the nineteen soldiers snuck out of the wooden horse and let the newly arrived Greek army through the gates. The Greeks burned down Troy and saved Helen, but Ulysses still had a long journey ahead of him. Ulysses and his men set sail for Ithaca. After a few weeks of sailing, Ulysses and his men ran out of food. They landed on an island, to look for food and water. They found a whole cave full of food, but they soon found out that the food belonged to a one-eyed giant called a cyclops. Ulysses and his men tricked the cyclops and escaped with the food. Unfortunately for Ulysses, the cyclops was a son of Neptune, the God of the Sea. Once again, Ulysses' men ran out of food, so they landed on another island. The sailors divided into two groups, Ulysses and some of the crew stayed with the ship, while the others went to look for food. The next morning, one of the "food-searchers" came running bck to the boat. The sailor told Ulysses of a sorceress named Circe who had turned the other crew members into hogs. At once, Ulysses ran with the sailor to Circe's palace, but on the way, Mercury came with a gift from one of the gods. It was a magical flower that would act a shield on Ulysses from Circe's magic. Ulysses met with Circe. Circe tried to use her magic on him, but it didn't work, so she gave in and turned the back into humans. Plus, she warned Ulysses of the dangers to come. With lots of food, Ulysses and his men left the island. Thanks to Circe, Ulysses overcame the next dangers. He overcame the dooming song of the Sirens by plugging the ears of he and his crew. The sailors came upon the six-headed monster called Scylla. Though all of his crew were eaten by Scylla, Ulysses escaped, only to be washed ashore by a storm where a princess found him and took him to her father. The king gave Ulysses his fastest ship to use to sail home with. When, Ulysses reached Ithaca, he deceived the men that wanted to marry his wife, and killed them. Ulysses finally reclaimed his throne.


A Sabean goddess of agriculture. She was worshipped in a sacred forest near Reate (the current Reati).


Veiovis (Vediovis) is one of the oldest of the Roman gods. He is a god of healing, and was later associated with the Greek Asclepius. He was mostly worshipped in Rome and Bovillae in Latium. On the Capitoline Hill and on the Tiber Island temples were erected in his honor. In spring, goats were sacrificed to avert plagues. Veiovis is portrayed as a young man, holding a bunch of arrows (or lightning bolts) in his hand, and is accompanied by a goat. He is probably based on the Etruscan god Veive.


The Roman goddess of love and beauty, but originally a vegetation goddess and patroness of gardens and vineyards. Later, under Greek influence, she was equated with Aphrodite and assumed many of her aspects. Her cult originated from Ardea and Lavinium in Latium. The oldest temple known of Venus dates back to 293 BCE, and was inaugurated on August 18. Later, on this date the Vinalia Rustica was observed. A second festival, that of the Veneralia, was celebrated on April 1 in honor of Venus Verticordia, who later became the protector against vice. Her temple was built in 114 BCE. After the Roman defeat near Lake Trasum in 215 BCE, a temple was built on the Capitol for Venus Erycina. This temple was officially opened on April 23, and a festival, the Vinalia Priora, was instituted to celebrate the occasion. Venus is the daughter of Jupiter, and some of her lovers include Mars and Vulcan, modeled on the affairs of Aphrodite. Venus' importance rose, and that of her cult, through the influence of several Roman political leaders. The dictator Sulla made her his patroness, and both Julius Caesar and the emperor Augustus named her the ancestor of their (Julian) family: the 'gens Julia' was Aeneas, son of Venus and the mortal Anchises. Ceasar introduced the cult of Venus Genetrix, the goddess of motherhood and marriage, and built a temple for her in 46 BCE. She was also honored in the temple of Mars Ultor. The last great temple of Venus was built by the emperor Hadrianus near the Colusseum in 135 CE. Roman statues and portraits of Venus are usually identical to the Greek representations of Aphrodite.


The Roman god of the first ploughing. See also Imporcitor and Redarator.


Veritas ("truth") is the Roman goddess of truth. She is a daughter of Saturn.


Verminus ("worm-god") is the Roman god of the worms in cattle.


The Roman divinity of seasons, changes and ripening of plant life. He is the patron of gardens and fruit trees. He has the power to change himself into various forms, and used this to gain the favor of the goddess Pomona. Vertumnus' cult was introduced in Rome around 300 BCE and a temple was built on the Aventine Hill in 264 BCE. The Vertumnalias, observed on August 13, is his festival. A statue of Vertumnus stood at the Vicus Tuscus.


On of the most popular and mysterious goddesses of the Roman pantheon. Vesta is the goddess of the hearth, equated with the Greek Hestia. There is not much known of her origin, except that she was at first only worshipped in Roman homes, a personal cult. Her cult eventually evolved to a state cult. One myth tells that her service was set up by king Numa Pompilius (715-673 BCE). In her temple on the Palatine Hill, the sacred fire of the Roman state burned, which was maintained by the Vestal Virgins. At the start of the new Roman year, March 1, the fire was renewed. The sacred fire burned until 394 CE. Vesta's temple was situated on the Forum Romanum and was built in the third century BCE. None of her temples, however, contained a statue of the goddess. Her festival is the Vestalia, which was observed from June 7 - 15. On the first day of this festival, the 'penus Vestae', the inner sanctum of the Vesta temple which was kept closed the entire year, was opened for women who came to bring offerings bare-footed. The temple was ritually cleansed on the last day. The ass is Vesta's sacred animal, whose braying supposedly kept the lascivious Priapus away. Vesta is portrayed as a stern woman, wearing a long dress and with her head covered. Her right hand rests against her side and in her left hand she holds a scepter.

Vestius Alonieus

A god who was revered in north-west Hispania. He had a military function and was associated with the bull.

Vica Pota

An ancient Roman goddess of victory. She had a temple at the base of the Velia, Rome.[24]


The Roman personification of Victory, worshipped as a goddess, especially by triumphant generals returning from battle. She was held in higher regard by the Romans then her counterpart Nike by the Greeks and when in 382 CE her statue was removed by the emperor Gratianus there was much resistance in the heathen reactionary circles.


Viduus ("divider") is the Roman deity who separates soul from the dead body.


A minor Roman deity who is mainly mentioned as the consort of Diana. He was worshipped in the sacred forest of Egeria, near Aricia in Latium, and identified with the resurrected Hippolytus.


The Roman goddess to whom spouses made offering when they had domestic problems.


The Roman god of courage and military prowess.


The Roman god who gave life to the child in the mother's womb.


A river deity associated with the river Volturnus in Campania (Italy), but it could also be an ancient name for the Tiber. The Volturnalia was observed on August 27.


The Roman protective goddess of the nursery.


The Roman god of fire, especially destructive fire, and craftsmanship. His forge is located beneath Mount Etna. It is here that he, together with his helpers, forges weapons for gods and heroes. Vulcanus is closely associated with Bona Dea with whom he shared the Volcanalia, observed on August 23. This festival took place during the height of the Mediterranean drought and the period of highest risk of fire. On the banks of the river Tiber, fires were lighted on which living fish were sacrificed. His temples were usually located outside the cities, due to the dangerous nature of fire. In 215 BCE his temple on the Circus Flaminius was inaugurated. In Ostia he was the chief god as the protector against fire in the grain storages. He is identified with the Greek Hephaestus.


The Roman god of the East Wind, equal to the Greek Eurus.


  1. Micha F. Lindemans, Micha F., Ryan Tuccinardi, Risa Gordon, Mitchell Mendis, James Hunter, and Liz Gunner. Encyclopediae Mythica: Roman Mythology. M.F. Lindemans, Ed. 1995.
  2. Virgil I, 550; V, 36, 61, 73. Aeneid V, 525.
  3. Virgil I, 188, 312; VI, 34, 158.
  4. Livius VII, 6.
  5. Thebaid (2.205, 4.32, 9.32)
  6. Virgil VII, 45, 52, 69, 96.
  7. Virgil VII, 47.
  8. Livius XXVII, 37,2
  9. Virgil VIII, 630.
  10. Virgil V, 825.
  11. (Virgil V, 721).
  12. Virgil I, 292
  13. Livius I, 5
  14. Livius I, 3
  15. Livius X, 1, 9
  16. Livius XL, 19
  17. (Virgil IV, 288)
  18. Virgil VI, 763
  19. Virgil V, 838
  20. Aeneid XI, 785
  21. Livius I, 12
  22. Livius X, 36
  23. Livius I, 9,12[25]

Personal tools