The city of Rome, which eventually became the hub of all things Roman, is saturated with mythology even from its very inception in which historians place around 750 BC. Roman mythology is largely based on the belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities, which is known as Polytheism.
Polytheism was widely accepted and practiced during Rome's early history. Leaders looked to the gods for guidance and wisdom. Many men and women dedicated their lives to serving these gods in their temples. The word comes from the Greek words poly theoi, meaning "many gods." In polytheistic belief, gods are perceived as complex beings of greater or lesser status, with individual skills, needs, desires and histories. These gods are not seen as being omnipotent, but rather human-like, having specific skills and abilities.
Gods and Goddesses
- Apollo- god of the sun and music
- Bacchus- god of wine
- Ceres- goddess of the earth
- Cupid- god of love
- Diana- goddess of the moon and hunting
- Fortuna- goddess of luck
- Janus- two-headed Roman god of gates, doors, and new beginnings
- Juno- queen of the gods
- Jupiter- king of the gods, Jupiter is the supreme god of the pantheon.
- Maia- goddess of growth
- Mars- god of war
- Mercury- messenger of the gods
- Minerva- goddess of wisdom
- Neptune- god of the sea
- Pluto- king of the underworld
- Proserpina- queen of the underworld
- Saturn- god of agriculture
- Uranus- god of the heavens
- Venus- goddess of love
- Vesta- goddess of hearth
- Vulcan- god of smithing
Romulus and Remus
According to Roman mythology the god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia bore twin sons named Romulus and Remus.
Numitor who was their grandfather and king of the ancient Italian city of Alba Longa. Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia was made a Vestal Virgin by Amulius, Numitor's brother. Making her a Vestal Virgin, or consecrated to the Roman goddess Vesta making her not allowed to marry enabled the god Mars to come down into the temple and have sex with her. Later Silvia gave birth to her two sons, Romulus and Remus.
Amulius feared that these newly born twins would conspire and attempt to overthrow his seat of power. He had them placed in a trough and thrown into the River Tiber. The levels were higher in the river as it was a time of flooding and eventually the two boys landed ashore and were found by a she-wolf who looked after them. The she-wolf was helped by a woodpecker that brought food, both animals are considered sacred by the mythical god Mars.
The twins, according to Roman myth, Romulus and Remus were then discovered by Faustulus, a shepherd who brought the children to his home. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the boys as their own. Upon reaching adulthood, Romulus and Remus killed Amulius and reinstated Numitor, their grandfather as King of Alba Longa. They then decided to found a town of their own and ended up choosing the place where the she-wolf had nursed them. Romulus began to build walls on the Palatine Hill, yet Remus jabbed his brother as he thought they were to low. To prove his point Remus leaped over the walls to prove his point and Romulus in anger killed him and continued on building up the new city. Naming it Roma (Rome) after his own name the first citizens were outlaws and fugitives which Romulus gave settlement to on the Capitoline Hill.
- Review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony Craig Blomberg, Ph.D. January 2007
- The Significance of Mircea Eliade for Christian Theology by Joseph G. Muthuraj
- Classical Mythology, Ninth Edition Online Resources by Oxford University Press as a companion to the book