The ancient Greek and ancient Roman religion was the belief in gods. They had similar beliefs, but also vast differences. They came from each other and gave their people a form of morality. It was composed of many meaningful gods and goddesses that all played a part in the everyday life of the average Roman and Greek person of that time. They believed in something called polytheism. It is the belief of many gods each given a personality, function, relationship to each other through family and to be the subject of many myths and legends that were to be told for many of years to come. They were to become the basis for a religion that would last for hundreds of years and would yield thousands of followers to believe in the made stories of these enchanted people or gods as they were called.
The Roman mythology was to consist of twelve to thirteen main gods each having a function in the life of the everyday Roman that would require some sort of worshipping. The Roman gods were taken from the beliefs of the Greek gods. They are directly descended from their neighboring religion. The Roman mythology consisted of the high god Jupiter, his wife and sister Juno, son Vulcan, son Mercury, daughter Diana, daughter Venus, son Mars, daughter Minerva, son Apollo, sister Vesta, brother Pluto, brother Neptune and Janus.
Jupiter was the ruler of the gods. He is also known as Zeus to the Greeks. He became ruler of the gods through him drawing that lot from his brothers after they overthrew the Titans. He was the god of sky and rain. He was the keeper of the thunderbolt which he hurled at anyone that displeased. That is how he is portrayed through the Greeks, but through the Romans. He was still the ruler of the gods and used his thunderbolts. They portrayed as the lord of life and death and he never visited mankind on earth.
Neptune was the god of the sea. This is the lot he drew from his brothers. He was worshipped mostly by seaman. He was the creator of the horse and the user of his threepronged spear, the trident. It could shake the ground and break any object at will, but in his Roman sense he was still the god of the sea. It only took longer for him to be noticed as it. He started out as a minor deity of the water, but his importance increased as the number of seamen increased.
Pluto the god of the underworld. This is the lot he drew from his brothers. He is one of the greediest of the gods and is always looking for more ruling subjects. He is the god of wealth also because of all the precious metals mined from the earth. He is also the king of the dead and married to his abducted queen Persephone in the Greek mythology.
Vesta was the goddess of the hearth and the symbol of the home. She was the watcher of households and family activities. She is a virgin goddess and plays no parts in myths. She is known as Hestia in the Greek religion.
Juno was the goddess of marriage and the protectress of women. She was the queen of the heavens. She was the wife and sister to Jupiter. In Greek mythology she was all and the same. She was forced into marrying Zeus because he raped her. To hide her shame she married him. Mars was the god of war, agriculture and of the state. He appeared in three different ways…Mars Sylvanus, the god of vegetation; Mars Gradivus, the god of war and Mars Quirinius, the god of state. (Grolier) In Greek mythology he was also considered the god of war, but not of the others. He was disliked by his parents and was a coward.
Apollo was the god of music, healing and truth. He was the player of the golden lyre, shooter of the silver arrows, teacher of medicine to mankind and god that could not tell a lie. He was the also the carrier of the Sun across the sky by his chariot of winged horses. He was represented in the same way in both the Roman and Greek religions.
Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, art and craft, and war. She was a deity of the dawn. She was originally said to be the daughter of the giant Palla, but was later said to have sprung from the forehead of Jupiter fully armed and grown.
That is said in both religions, but in the Greek religion she is the goddess of the city, handicrafts and agriculture. She is the inventor of the bridle, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. She represented reason, wisdom and purity. Venus was the carrier of four things in the Roman religion as…Venus Felix…bringer of luck…Venus Victrix, bringer of victory…Venus Verticordia, protector of female chastity and Venus ibentina, patroness of sensual pleasure.
In Greek mythology as Aphrodite, she was the goddess of love, desire, and beauty. She is also said to have a magic girdle that makes anyone she wishes to desire her.
Mercury was the messenger of the Roman gods. He darted around quickly with his winged shoes and hat. He was also the god of merchants, science, astronomy, thieves, travelers, vagabonds and of cleverness. In Greek mythology he is also the god of thieves and messenger of the gods. He guides the dead to the underworld and was the inventor of the lyre, pipes, musical scale, astronomy, weights and measures, boxing, gymnastics and the carer of the olive trees.
Diana was at first a minor deity of the forest and woodland, but was later known as a great hunter, patron of women and the goddess of the moon. In Greek mythology Artemis is also the hunter of the Greek gods. She is the protector of the young, goddess of the moon, goddess of chastity, and the overlooker of childbirth even though she was a virgin goddess.
Vulcan was the god of fire and was recommended by the other gods to also bprevent fires. He was ugly and lame and married to the ever pretty goddess Venus, but she was unfaithful and involved in many affairs. He was married to Venus only because she felt sorry for his ugliness. In Greek mythology he was the god of fire and forges and was the smith and armorer of the gods. He used volcanoes to produce his weapons and armor. He is also the god of smiths and weavers. He is also married to Aphrodite. He is still ugly and lame, but is the kindest and the peace lover of the group.
There are many rumors to his lameness. He was either flung from Mount Olympus because Hera was upset with his ugliness and broke his legs as he fell into the sea or he was flung off the mountain as he took Hera's side in an argument with Zeus.
Janus was the god that was not represented in Greek mythology. He was the god of entrances, coming and going, doorways, bridges, ferries, harbors and boundaries. Janus was also the doorkeeper of heaven. He was said to be the supreme god, but was later said to be second to Jupiter. In Greek mythology Poseidon was second in charge. He was asked for blessings before the beginning of the day, month, week and year. He was said to of have two faces that faced each way to see the coming and the going which symbolized how much he knew about the present and the past.
At this time another religion was up and coming. It was Christianity. It was unaccepted by the Roman government. They met without permission which was a major violation of the old laws of the Roman government. In the Jewish religion, it was the same game for them too. The fact that they represented only one god and should be worshipping more. So they got treated as a whole with the Christians since both of their religions were the same in the eyes of the Roman government. So when one of them got persecuted then one of the other would feel the same way too.
The old religion started to lose its touch and Christianity was beginning to gain in popularity. It was easily understood and its teaching of mercy, gentleness, kind-loving and charity towards others even if they were your enemies. It brought upon a knew look on life. It taught them self-discipline, care for the rejected and the belief in the seriousness of sins. It taught of faith in one God and the expectation of life after death causing the grasp of the religion to come easy to people. This later took over the Roman society and became the official religion of Rome.
In all and all the mythology of both Romans and Greeks was surprising similar, but in ways they were very much apart. The Greeks were very much involved in their religion with stories, myths and legends and in depth descriptions of their personality and physical appearance. They all lived the life that is dreamed of by many, but not achieved by much.
They all expressed something with their powers and their ability of ruling over normal mankind. The Romans had nothing to do with any of this. Their religion wasn't as serious as of that of the Greeks. They did not have the mystical life like that of the Greeks, but rather they were represented in statues and worshipped at certain times of the year. This all could not make their time of worship last, but it was rather the end of a great time of religious beliefs. It was the end of a legacy to some and the beginning of the new to others. The age had to come to an end, but it never ended in the lives of some. So today in its own way it plays its part, it is just how in is thought about in the eyes of society and accepted by the people of the day.
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