Roman mythology and Greek mythology are very similar, but there are still some differences between the two.
A lot of the main gods overlap with the Greek gods but don’t share the same names. Instead, a lot of their Roman counterparts are named after our planets. The Romans picked these names to bestow on some of the gods and goddesses because these planets are bright enough to be seen from earth. The brightest planet, Venus, was given to the Roman counterpart of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Once again, there are many similarities between the two but they are different belief systems completely. The Roman gods and goddesses were described and thought of as much more “intense” and “proper.” They were more hardcore, you could say, then the Greek gods and goddesses.
Anyways, I am getting ahead of myself. Before I say anymore, let’s jump into the blog post!
Here is your beginner’s guide to Roman mythology.
The Gods & Goddesses
Jupiter – Roman counterpart of Zeus, god of sky & thunder, husband of Juno
Juno – Roman counterpart of Hera, goddess of childbirth, wife of Jupiter
Neptune – Roman counterpart of Poseidon, god of the sea & earthquakes
Pluto – Roman counterpart of Hades, god of the underworld & riches (I’ve always wanted to discuss the pure irony of Hades’s counterpart being Pluto since in the past couple of years, it was deemed not an actual planet! Just like Hades was banished from Olympus and in some ways, considered to not be an Olympian anymore)
Minerva – Roman counterpart of Athena, goddess of wisdom, medicine, poetry, arts & handicrafts
Venus – Roman counterpart of Aphrodite, mother of Roman people, goddess of love, beauty, desire, and more, born in the sea from the cut up parts of Uranus (considered to be first Olympian)
Mars – Roman counterpart of Ares, god of war, guardian of agriculture
Diane – Roman counterpart of Artemis, twin to Apollo, goddess of the hunt, moon, and birth
Apollo – Roman counterpart of Apollo, god of music and healing
Vulcan – Roman counterpart of Hephaestus, god of fire and volcanoes, banished from the heavens by mother, Juno, for being “ugly”
Mercury – Roman counterpart of Hermes, god of thieves, trickery, profit and trade
Ceres – Roman counterpart of Demeter, goddess of agriculture, grain, and women, daughter is Proserpine (Persephone) who is the wife of Hades after she ate a pomegranate seed, trapping her in the underworld during wintertime
The Legend of Romulus and Remus, the Founders of Rome
Twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, were the children of Rhea Silvia and Mars (god of war).
When their mother discovered she was pregnant with them, she was condemned to death because she betrayed her vows of celibacy. However, because her children’s father was a god, King Amulius feared they would face his wrath and instead, imprisoned Rhea Silvia and sentenced the babies to death by exposure. He had a servant place a basket with the twins inside on the River Tiber, never to be seen again.
As you can expect, things did not work out exactly in the king’s favour. Eventually the twins were discovered by a she-wolf (Lupa) who brought them to a kind shepherd and his wife who then raised the boys. (In some versions, she raised them herself, training them into warriors)
When the boys were older, the king who ordered them to death had shepherds arrive at their farm and a fight broke out. Remus was captured and brought to the kingdom ruled by King Amulius. Immediately, Romulus set out to free his brother, killing the terrible king in the process. Afterwards, the twins were offered the kingdom as their own but they had different dreams. They wanted to start city of their own.
So, they thanked the people and set off with the hope of building their own kingdom from the ground up.
It was not an easy process, however, as the twins did not always get along. They both were headstrong and opinionated. They had different opinions of where to start their new city and when they could not settle on a place, they went off on their separate ways.
Over time, the twins gained their own supporters and one day, one of Romulus’ supporters murdered Remus.
With only Romulus left, he then became the founder of Rome (Roma), naming it after himself.
And thus, the legend of Romulus and Remus.
I hope you enjoyed this intro to Roman mythology! Don’t worry if you finished this post wanting more because there will be a part 2!
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5 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to: Roman Mythology”
I hope this one gets a part 2!
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Thanks! Glad you liked it 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I’m so fascinated with mythology. I feel like Greek mythology seems to be more well-known, even though Roman seems to be more ingrained in our western society — for example the names of the planets. And really interesting point about the connection between Pluto/Hades!
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Of course! I am also fascinated with mythology and even though I’ve been studying Greek mythology for a long time, I am still learning new things each time I research for a new blog post. If you are interested, I have other posts on Greek and Aztec mythology. Thanks for reading 🙂