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Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome

Part 1: Basic Outline & Dii Consentes

 

It is important to mention that Ancient Romans were polytheists, i.e. they believed in many gods. In the beginning, these Roman gods were considered as faceless and extremely powerful. It is only later on that they became anthropomorphised beings, i.e. Ancient Romans started imagining them as humans. These beliefs primarily came from Ancient Greece. This is also why many of Roman gods have their corresponding Greek counterpart. The entire collection of all these gods is called Pantheon.

Although there are far too many gods to be listed, we still have to note the magnificent twelve: the twelve great gods and goddesses also known as “Dii Consentes” (this is the name that Varro gave to these deities) whose statues stand in the Forum. There are six gods and six goddesses, namely:

 

Roman                                  Greek

Apollo                                   Apollo

Ceres                                    Demeter

Diana                                     Artemis

Juno                                      Hera

Jupiter                                  Zeus

Mars                                      Ares

Mercury                               Hermes

Minerva                               Athena

Neptune                              Poseidon

Venus                                   Aphrodite

Vesta                                   Hestia

Vulcan                                  Hephaestus

 

Other notable gods are:

Roman                                  Greek

Bacchus                                Dionysus

Cupid                                    Eros

Pluto                                     Hades

Proserpina                          Persephone

Saturn                                   Cronus

 

You will note that many of these Roman gods are actually the names of the planets. This is because our culture had always had access to the Roman culture. However, this was unfortunately not the case with the Greek culture, primarily because of the alphabet. Thus, for many years, the influence of the Greek culture could only be felt through Latin translations of Greek works.

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