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Major Deities

  • Apollo: Topic Page
    In Greek and Roman mythology, the god of sun, music, poetry, prophecy, agriculture, and pastoral life, and leader of the Muses. MORE
  • Ceres
    In Roman mythology, the goddess of corn, representing the fertility of the earth as its producer; patron of the corn trade. MORE
  • Diana
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    In Roman mythology, the goddess of chastity, hunting, and the Moon; daughter of Jupiter and twin of Apollo. Her Greek equivalent is the goddess Artemis. MORE
  • Juno
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    In Roman mythology, the principal goddess, identified with the Greek Hera. The wife of Jupiter and queen of heaven, she was concerned with all aspects of women's lives and also regarded as a patroness of commerce. MORE
  • Jupiter
    From Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth
    Jupiter ('sky-father'), in Roman myth, was an amalgam of the Etruscan god Tinia ('thunderer') and the Greek Zeus. MORE
  • Mars
    From Who's Who in Classical Mythology
    The Roman god of war, identified with Ares; though originally he had been a god of more general characteristics or specifically of agriculture. MORE
  • Mercury
    From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    The Roman counterpart of the Greek hermes, son of maia and jupiter, to whom he acted as messenger. MORE
  • Minerva
    From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    The Roman goddess, possibly of Etruscan origin, of wisdom and the patroness of the arts and trades. MORE
  • Neptune
    From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
    In Roman religion, the god of water. Neptune was originally the god of fresh water, but by 399 BC he was identified with the Greek god Poseidon and thus became a deity of the sea. MORE
  • Venus
    From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    The Roman goddess of beauty and sensual love, identified with aphrodite, in some accounts said to have sprung from the foam of the sea, in others to have been the daughter of jupiter and dione, a nymph. MORE
  • Vesta
    From Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth
    Vesta ('hearth'), in Roman myth, was one of the four Hesperides who tended the Golden Apples of Immortality. MORE
  • Vulcan
    From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
    Ancient Roman god of fire. He was the counterpart of the Greek Hephaestus. MORE

Terms & Concepts

  • Augury
    From Chamber's Dictionary of the Unexplained
    The art or practice of interpreting signs and omens, such as the flight or cries of birds, to gain knowledge of secrets or to predict the future. MORE
  • Bona Dea Festival
    From Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary
    The ancient Roman festival known as the Bona Dea, or Maia Maiesta Festival, was celebrated only by women; no men were allowed to observe or participate in the festivities. MORE
  • Cybele: Topic Page
    In Phrygian mythology, an earth goddess, Great Mother of the Gods; identified by the Greeks of Asia Minor with the Titan Rhea, mother of Zeus; and honoured in Rome. MORE
  • Divination
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Practice of foreseeing future events or obtaining secret knowledge through communication with divine sources and through omens, oracles, signs, and portents. MORE
  • Haruspex
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    In ancient Rome, Etruscan priest who practised divination. They were especially popular in the early days of the republic. MORE
  • Imperial Cult
    From Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World
    Under the tetrarchy the relationship between emperor and gods was reformalized. The 3rd century emphasis on the protection of the emperor by one particular god changed with the creation of two senior and two junior emperors: the former were called “Jovius” (of Jupiter) and the latter “Herculius” (of Hercules). MORE
  • Mithraism
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    Mystery religion based on the worship of the Persian god of light, Mithras, and the religious ideals of redemption and salvation; baptism in blood was the pledge. MORE
  • Mystery Religions
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    Any of various cults of the ancient world that were open only to the initiated. MORE
  • Orphism
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    Ancient Greek mystery religion of which the Orphic hymns, poems attributed to the legendary poet Orpheus, formed a part. The cult dates from the 6th or 7th century BC, but the poems are of a later date. MORE
  • Polytheism: Topic Page
    Belief in a plurality of gods in which each deity is distinguished by special functions. Polytheistic worship does not imply equal devotion or importance to each deity. MORE
  • Sacrifice: Topic Page
    A type of religious offering, or gift to a superior or supreme being, in which the offering is consecrated through its destruction. MORE
  • Shrine: Topic Page
    Place regarded as holy due to an association with a divine figure, relic, or event. Shrines are important places in most religions, and are often a focus of worship or meditation. MORE
  • Vestal Virgin
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    One of the six priestesses of the Roman goddess Vesta, who served in her temple in Rome. Their lives were dedicated to the goddess and they kept the sacred flame burning permanently in the shrine. MORE
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