ROMAN MYTHOLOGY

Roman Mythology can be described as the mythological beliefs of Ancient Rome.

Roman mythology can best be described in two sections:
Early Roman Mythology is Roman in culture and nature. The second section of Roman Mythology comes later, and consists of borrowings from Greek mythology.

The Romans had no sequential narratives about their gods comparable to the Titanomachy or the seduction of Zeus by Hera until their poets began to adopt Greek models in the later part of the Roman Republic. What the Romans did have, however, were:
a highly developed system of rituals, priestly colleges, and pantheons of related gods. a rich set of historical myths about the foundation and rise of their city involving human actors, with occasional divine interventions.

Roman mythology had its own unique way of thinking about their gods. Roman mythology had a distinct and complex interlocking between gods and humans. Religion of the early Romans found itself later on being constantly added to by extra beliefs.

The absorption of neighboring local gods took place as the Roman state conquered the surrounding territory. The Romans commonly granted the local gods of the conquered territory the same honors as the earlier gods. In many instances the newly acquired deities were formally invited to take up their abode in new sanctuaries at Rome.

Religion in ancient Rome combined several different cult practices and embraced more than a single set of beliefs. The Romans originally followed a rural animistic tradition, in which many spirits were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the cosmos and human activities, such as ploughing. The early Romans referred to these as numina. Another aspect of this animistic belief was ancestor, or genius, worship, with each family honoring their own dead by their own rites. Rome had a strong belief in gods. When they took over Greece, they inherited the Greek gods but fused them with their Roman counterparts. Based heavily in Greek and Etruscan mythology, Roman religion came to encompass and absorb hundreds of other religions, developing a rich and complex mythology.

Roman Festivals:
There were only a few Roman religious festivals known from ancient times. Some of these survived to the end of the pagan empire. Many new festivals were introduced to mark the naturalization of new gods. In fact so many festivals were eventually introduced that the work days on the calendar were outnumbered. Among the more important of the Roman religious festivals were the Saturnalia, the Lupercalia, the Equiria, and the Secular games.

Human Sacrifice:
Most ancient Roman sacrifices were animals. But the Romans still made some human sacrifices as part of tradition. Slaves, prisoners of war and others were sometimes buried alive in a belief it would placate the Manes and the Fates in certain circumstances. After the Battle of Cannae, male and female couples of Greek and Gaelic slaves were buried alive to placate the gods.

Major Roman Mythology Deities:

Apollo : god of the sun, poetry, music.
Bona Dea : goddess of fertility.
Bacchus : god of wine and sensual pleasures.
Carmenta : Roman goddess of childbirth and prophecy.
Ceres : goddess of the harvest.
Cybele : earth mother
Diana : goddess of the hunt, the moon, virginity, and childbirth.
Flora : goddess of flowers.
Fortuna : goddess of fortune.
Janus : two-headed god
Juno : Queen of the Gods and goddess of matrimony
Jupiter : King of the Gods
Mars : god of war
Mercury : messenger of the gods, bearer of souls to the underworld
Minerva : roman goddess of wisdom and war
Neptune : god of the sea
Ops : goddess of plenty
Pluto : King of the Dead
Pomona : goddess of fruit trees
Portunes : god of keys, doors, and livestock.
Volturnus : roman god of water.
Saturn : god of harvest
Venus : goddess of love and beauty
Vesta : goddess of the Roman state.
Vulcan : Roman god of the forge, fire, and blacksmiths.

Minor Roman Mythology Deities:

Abeona : protects children the first time they left home.
Abundantia : goddess of prosperity
Acca Larentia : goddess of cornfields.
Acis : river god near the Etna.
Adeona : goddess who protected children
Aeolus : god of storms and winds
Aera Cura : goddess associated with underworld
Aequitas : Roman goddess of fair trade and honest merchants
Aesculapius : god of health and medicine
Aeternitas : goddess and personification of eternity
Alemonia or Alemona : responsible for nourishing the unborn child
Angerona : goddess who relieved men from pain and sorrow
Angita : healing and magic
Anna Perenna : goddess of the "circle of the year"
Antevorta : goddess of the future
Arimanius : underworld god.
Aurora : goddess of the dawn
Averna : goddess of the underworld.
Averruncus : Roman god of childbirth.
Bellona or Duellona : war goddess
Bona Dea : goddess of fertility
Bromius : Roman god of wine.
Bubona : goddess of cattle
Caelus : god of the sky
Candelifera : goddess of childbirth
Cardea : goddess of health
Carmenta : Roman mythology goddess of childbirth and prophecy
Carna : goddess of the heart
Ceres : Roman goddess of growing plants
Cinxia : goddess of marriage
Clementia : goddess of forgiveness
Clitunno : god of the Clitunno River
Concordia : goddess of agreement
Consus : protects grain storage
Convector : oversees bringing in of the crops
Cuba : goddess who helps babies sleep
Cunina : protectors of infants
Cupid : god of love and son of Mars and Venus.
Cura : goddess who created humans from clay
Cybele : Roman goddess of mountains, nature, wild animals
Dea Dia : goddess of growth
Dea Tacita : The Silent Goddess
Decima : measurer of the thread of life
Dei Lucrii : early gods of wealth
Deverra : protected midwives and women in labor
Diana : virgin goddess of the hunt
Dius Fidus : god of oaths
Disciplina : personification of discipline
Discordia : goddess of discord
Dis Pater : god of wealth and the underworld
Domiduca : protects children on their home
Domiducus : goddess who brought brides to their husbands houses.
Domitius : god who kept wives in their husbands homes
Edusa : goddess of child nourishmen
Edesia : goddess of food
Egeria : water nymph/goddess
Empanda : goddess of generosity
Epona : protector of horses, donkeys, mules
Eventus Bonus : Roman god of success
Fabulinus : god of children and their first words
Facunditas : god of the harvest
Fama : goddess of fame
Fauna : goddess of vegetation.
Faunus : god of flocks
Faustitas : god who protected livestock
Febris : goddess who protected people against sickness
Felicitas : goddess of good luck
Ferentina : protector of the Latin commonwealth
Feronia : goddess of fountains and woods
Fides : goddess of loyalty
Flora : goddess of flowers and the season of spring
Fontus : god of wells and springs
Fornax : goddess of bread and baking
Fortuna : goddess of good luck
Fraus : goddess of treachery
Fulgora : personification of lightning
Furrina : Roman goddess
Glycon : snake god
Hercules : god of strength
Hermus : river god
Herulus : god of the darkness
Hippona : goddess of horses
Honos : god of military honors
Imporcitor : god responsible for the harrowing of the fields
Insitor : responsible for owing of the crops
Intercidona : minor goddess of childbirth
Inuus : god of fertility
Invidia : goddess of jealousy
Justitia : goddess of justice
Juturna : goddess of fountains, wells, and springs
Juventas : goddess of youth
Lactanus or Lactans : god that makes crops prosper
Lares : household gods
Laverna : patroness of thieves
Levana : goddess of newborn babies
Liber : roman god of fertility
Libera : a goddess of the earth.
Liberalitas : goddess generosity
Libertas : goddess of freedom
Lima : goddess of thresholds
Lua : goddess to whom soldiers sacrificed captured weapons
Lucina : goddess of childbirth
Luna : goddess of the moon
Lupercus : god of shepherds.
Manes : souls of the dead
Mania : ruler of the underworld.
Mantus : ruler of the underworld
Mater Matuta : goddess of dawns
Mellona : goddess of bees
Messor : minor agricultural god
Minerva : crafts and wisdom
Mithras : was popular with soldiers
Moneta : minor goddess of prosperity
Muta : goddess of silence.
Mutinus Mutunus : god of fertility
Necessitas : Roman mythology goddess of destiny
Nemesis : goddess of revenge
Nemestrinus : god of woods and forests
Nerio : ancient war goddess
Nixi : goddesses of childbirth
Nodutus : made knots in stalks of wheat
Nona : minor goddess
Nox : goddess of night
Obarator : minor god of agriculture
Occator : for growth and harvesting of the crops
Orchadis : for the olive groves
Ops : goddess of fertility
Orbona : goddess of children
Orcus : punisher of broken oaths
Palatua : guarded the Palatine Hill
Pales : deity of shepherds, flocks and livestock
Parcae : personifications of destiny
Partula : goddess of childbirth
Patalena : goddess of flowers
Paventia : goddess who comforted frightened children
Pax : goddess of peace
Penates : household gods
Picumnus : minor god of fertility
Pietas : goddess of duty
Pilumnus : protection of infants at birth
Poena : goddess of punishment
Pomona : roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards
Porus : god and personification of plenty
Porrima : goddess of the future
Postverta : goddess of the past
Potina : Roman goddess of childrens drinks
Priapus : god of the shade
Promitor : minor agricultural god
Prorsa Postverta : goddess of women in labor
Proserpina : goddess of springtime
Providentia : goddess of forethought
Pudicita : goddess and personification of chastity.
Puta : goddess of pruning vines
Quiritis : goddess of motherhood.
Redarator : minor god of agriculture
Robigo : protected crops
Robigus : protected crops
Roma : personification of the Roman state
Rumina : goddess who protected breastfeeding mothers
Runcina : minor goddess of agriculture
Rusina : protector of farmland
Rusor : minor agricultural god
Salus : goddess of public welfare
Sancus : god of loyalty
Sarritor : minor god of agriculture
Securita or Securitas : goddess of security
Semonia : goddess of sowing
Sentia : goddess who oversaw childrens development
Silvanus : minor god of woodlands and forests
Sol Invictus : Roman sun god
Somnus : god of sleep
Sors : god of luck
Spes : goddess of hope
Spiniensis : minor agricultural god
Stata Mater : protected against fires
Sterquilinus : god of fertilization.
Strenua : goddess of strength and endurance
Suadela : goddess of persuasion
Summanus : god of nocturnal thunder
Tempestes : goddess of storms
Terra or Tellus : goddess of the earth and land
Tiberinus : river god
Tibertus : god of the river Anio
Tranquillitas : goddess of peace and tranquility
Trivia : goddess of magic
Ubertas : minor agricultural god
Unxia : minor goddess of marriage
Vacuna : protected the farmers sheep
Vagitanus : minor god of children
Venti : the winded
Vertumnus : god of the seasons
Vervactor : minor agricultural god
Vesta : virgin goddess
Vica Pota : goddess of victory
Victoria : goddess of victory
Viduus : god who separated soul and body after death
Virbius : a forest god, the reborn Hippolytus
Viriplaca : goddess of marital strife
Volumna : Roman mythology goddess of nurseries
Volturnus : god of the waters
Voluptas : goddess of pleasure

Vervain
Was a sacred plant to the ancient Romans. It was believed the Vervain was able to repel the enemy during times of war. Vervain was associated with Mars and was worn by Ambassadors in their missions to other nations. Vervain was also sacred to the Druids who used it in spells.

Heracles
Was a legendary hero. He gained fame for his great strength and bravery. He was the son of Zeus. However his mother was a mortal, Alcmene. Hera, the wife of Zeus, was angry at Heracles. She sent two serpents to kill him as a child. But Heracles, even strong and brave as a child, killed the serpents. As an adult, Hercules consulted the Delphic Oracle who told him to go into service for King Eurystheus. During this time he performed the "twelve labors of Heracles".

Janus
Was the Roman God who gave his name to the month of January. Janus presided over openings, beginnings and doorways. Janus was often depicted with two faces because he could look backward and forward at the same time. Janus was originally a household spirit. Those praying to the Gods always mentioned Janus first. The arch of Janus was opened when Rome went to war and stayed that way until the army came home.

Vesta
Originally started out as a household spirit. She was later personified and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins. June 9 was the feast day for Goddess Vesta.

Genius
Was the guardian spirit of the family. Eventually over time the Genius came to be the guardian of places and even institutions.

Penates
A group of household Spirits. These Spirits oversaw the household supplies and made sure there was never want in the house.

Mithraism
Originally came from the Middle East and India. Mithras was very popular among Roman soldiers. Mithras was a soldier God of life, the Sun and fertility, and was a mediator between Heaven and Earth. Mithraism promised life after death.

Cybele
Was a Mother Earth Goddess who was popular among women. Cybele`s lover Attis castrated himself and bled to death. The initiation rites for Cybele`s priests required them to castrate themselves. Roman celebrations were on the cycle of the seasons and life after death.

Necessatis
Was the Roman Goddess of Destiny for humankind. She was the counterpart of Greek Goddess Themis. Necessatis was also the mother of the three Fates.

Lupercalia
This was a fertility festival in ancient Rome that was held on February 15 and was sacred to Lupercus. It included rites that protected the domestic animals from wolves. There were also purification ceremonies that aided in the renewal of life and nature.

Larvae
Were the souls of dead people who were restless due to violence committed while alive on Earth. The Larvae are similar to a type of poltergeist. It was believed the Larvae caused madness in the living.

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Fortuna
Was the Roman Goddess of good fortune and happiness. On certain lucky people of her choice she bestowed large fortunes. However, on those that had fallen from her grace she bestowed poverty. Fortuna was also regarded as the Goddess of chance.

Saturn
The God of harvest and agriculture. Saturn is also the husband of Ops. His very famous harvest festival, the Saturnalia, was held every year in December.

Vestal Virgins
Were priestesses who dedicated themselves to serving Vesta, the Goddess of the Earth. The Vestals entered training at between 6 to 10 years old. The period of training took ten years. They then remained in full service for 10 years. During this time they tended the sacred fire on the altar of Vesta, carried water from the fountain, and and served as custodians of the Palladium from Troy. After this the Vestals spent another 10 years in training the vestal students. Only after this were they free to renounce their vow of celibacy and marry. The Vestal Virgins were held in very high esteem in Rome. It is believed the first Vestal Virgins were selected by Aeneas.

Manes
Were the spirits of the dead who resided in the underworld. Three times a year festivals were held in their honor. On these occasions the Manes would come back to haunt the living. In the underworld the Manes were ruled by Goddess Mania.

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