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Romulus and Remus, the Lupercal, Father Tiber, and the Palatine on a relief from a pedestal dating to the reign of Trajan (AD 98–117).

Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.

The Romans usually treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. The stories are often concerned with politics and morality, and how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism is an important theme. When the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual, augury, and institutions than with theology or cosmogony.

The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, and by the later artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors. In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks (interpretatio graeca), and to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends also have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks.

While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature, Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse. Because Latin literature was more widely known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans often had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical.

Roman pantheon

Most of the Roman deities are the same as in Greek myth, differentiating themselves just by name.

Organisation

The Roman pantheon organization ranges from primordial deities like Terra to guardian gods like the Lares. Jupiter was the king of the Roman gods.

The Twelve Olympians of Roman mythology:

Adopted deities

Roman mythology is known for adopting deities from other mythologies, mainly Greek mythology.

Deity Origin Description
Asclepius Greek God of healing.
Attis Phrygian God of growth, fertility and vegetation.
Bacchus Greek (Dionysos) God of wine.
Bellona Greek (Enyo), or Etruscan Goddess of war and battles.
Bubona Celt (Epona) Goddess of horses and cattle.
Ceres Greek (Demeter) Goddess of corn, agriculture and grain.
Cupid Greek God of love.
Cybele Phrygian (Magna Mater in Latin) The Great Mother.
Dis Celtic God of the underworld and treasure in the form of gems and metals of the earth.
Endovelicus Iberian Celt Hispania The god of health and welfare.
Faunus Greek (Pan) God of the wilds and fertility.
Furies Greek (Erinyes) Goddesses of Vengeance.
Hercules Greek (Heracles) God of victory and commercial enterprise.
Isis Egyptian Goddess of marriage and womanhood.
Janus Italii, Latin or Etruscan (Ani) God of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest, the beginning of planting, at marriages, at births, etc. The month of January is named after him.
Mithras Persian God of the sun.
Ops Greek Goddess of the fertile earth, abundance, sowing, harvest and wealth.
Salus Greek (Hygieia) Goddess of health and prosperity. Festival was celebrated on March 30.
Serapis Graeco-Egyptian God of the sky.
Saturn Greek (Cronos) God of agriculture and the sowing of seeds.
Silvanus Greek (Pan) God of woods and fields.
Sol Greek (Helios) God of the sun.
Sol Invictus Syrian God of the sun.
Somnus Greek (Hypnos) God of sleep.
Tellus Greek (Gaia) Goddess of the earth. Fordicidia, held on April 15 was her festival.
Veiovis Etruscan (Veive) God of healing.
Victoria Greek (Nike) Goddess of victory.

Roman religion

By the end of the Roman empire, Christianity was the official religion for the Romans.

Practices

In ancient Roman myth and religion, priests like the Arval Brethren use to make sacrifices on an annual basis to the Lares and the rest of Roman deities to guarantee good harvests and the health of the Emperor.

Gallery

External Links

References




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