Chapter 26.docx - Chapter 26 Roman Mythology and Saga Roman...

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Chapter 26: Roman Mythology and Saga Roman religion and mythology had their roots among pre-Roman Italian peoples, for example, the Sabines and Etruscans. Italian gods were not originally anthropomorphic like Greek gods, with whom they became identified: o SATURNUS (CRONUS) o JUPITER (ZEUS) o JUNO (HERA) o VESTA (HESTIA) o MINERVA (ATHENA) o CERES (DEMETER) o DIANA (ARTEMIS) o VENUS (APHRODITE) o MARS (ARES) o MERCURIUS (HERMES) o NEPTUNUS (POSEIDON) o VULCANUS (HEPHAESTUS) o LIBER (DIONYSUS) o DIS PATER (HADES or PLUTO) Non-Italian gods whose names changed from the Greek included the following: o HERCULES (HERACLES) o CASTOR and POLLUX (CASTOR and POLYDEUCES) o AESCULAPIUS (ASCLEPIUS) o APOLLO kept the same name at Rome. Janus o The god JANUS was the god of beginnings, associated originally with water and bridges. The doors of his temple were closed only in time of peace. o He was also the god of doors, entrances, and archways, and was identified with Portunus, god of harbors. o He was portrayed with two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward. Mars o Originally an agricultural god, MARS gave his name to March, the first month of the year in the pre-Julian calendar. His consort was Nerio, a Sabine fertility goddess. o He became the Roman god of war, sometimes with the title of Gradivus and sometimes associated with the Sabine war god QUIRINUS [ o Among other Roman deities of war was Bellona. o Animals associated with Mars were the wolf and the woodpecker The woodpecker was said to have been a Latin king, Picus, who was turned into a bird by Circe, while his wife, Canens, wasted away into a voice. Jupiter o The Italian sky-god was JUPITER, whose principal temple was dedicated on the Capitoline Hill at Rome in 509 B.C. There he was worshiped as Jupiter Optimus Maximus, “Best and Greatest,” and shared his temple with Minerva and Juno. o The triumphus , the procession celebrating a Roman general’s victories, had this temple as its terminus. o Like Zeus, Jupiter had the thunderbolt as his special weapon, and the place where lightning had struck had to be purified by an expiatory ritual.
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o Jupiter caused a shield to fall from heaven into Rome as a talisman of Roman power. o Along with eleven other ancilia, it was kept in the Regia, the official quarters of the Pontifex Maximus, the head of Roman state religion. o As Jupiter Latiaris, Jupiter was chief god of the Latin tribes, and as the god associated with Fides, he was identified with the Sabine god Dius Fidius, who also was identified with a Latin diety, Semo Sancus. o As Jupiter Indiges, Jupiter was worshiped beside the river Numicus, about twenty miles to the south of Rome. o The Di Indigetes were a group of gods whose functions are not known, and Aeneas was deified as Indiges after his death beside the Numicus.
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