The Roman pantheon is the collection of all the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the ancient Romans. They were often borrowed or adapted from the cultures that the Romans conquered, such as the Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Egyptians. Some of the most famous Roman deities are Jupiter, the king of the gods and the god of thunder and justice; Juno, his wife and the goddess of marriage and childbirth; Mars, the god of war and agriculture; Venus, the goddess of love and beauty; Mercury, the messenger of the gods and the god of commerce and travel; Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and crafts; Neptune, the god of the sea and earthquakes; Pluto, the god of the underworld and wealth; Diana, the goddess of hunting and the moon; Apollo, the god of music, poetry, prophecy, and healing; Ceres, the goddess of grain and agriculture; Bacchus, the god of wine and festivities; Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home; Janus, the god of beginnings and endings; and many more. The Romans believed that these gods and goddesses influenced every aspect of their lives, from politics to personal affairs. They built temples, altars, statues, and shrines to honor them, and offered sacrifices, prayers, festivals, and games to please them.
king and queen of the Gods
In ancient Roman mythology, the king and queen of the gods and goddesses were Jupiter and Juno. They were the counterparts of the Greek Zeus and Hera, and they ruled over the celestial and earthly realms. Jupiter was the god of the sky, thunder, lightning, and justice, while Juno was the goddess of marriage, childbirth, and women. They had a tumultuous relationship, marked by Jupiter's frequent affairs and Juno's jealousy and schemes. Despite their conflicts, they also collaborated to protect the Roman state and its people from external and internal threats. They were worshipped in many temples throughout Rome and the provinces, and they were often invoked in prayers, sacrifices, and festivals.
roman timeline of wars and victories
The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful and influential civilizations in history. Its rise and fall spanned over a thousand years, marked by wars and victories that shaped its political and cultural legacy. Here is a brief overview of some of the major events in the Roman time frame of wars and victories.
The origins of Rome are shrouded in myth and legend, but according to tradition, the city was founded by Romulus in 753 BCE on the Palatine Hill. The early Roman kings expanded the city's territory and influence, but they were overthrown by the aristocratic republicans in 509 BCE. The Roman Republic was governed by two consuls elected annually by the citizens, and a senate that represented the wealthy elite. The Republic faced many external enemies, such as the Etruscans, the Gauls, the Samnites, and the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Rome fought several wars with these rivals, often with mixed results. The most famous example is the Pyrrhic War (280-275 BCE), in which Rome defeated King Pyrrhus of Epirus, but at a great cost of lives and resources.
The Republic reached its peak of power and glory in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, when it conquered most of the Mediterranean world and beyond. Rome fought three Punic Wars (264-146 BCE) against its archenemy Carthage, eventually destroying the city and annexing its territories in North Africa and Spain. Rome also defeated the Macedonian and Seleucid kingdoms, gaining control of Greece and Asia Minor. Rome also expanded into Gaul, Britain, Germany, and Egypt. The Republic's success brought immense wealth and prestige, but also corruption and social unrest. The gap between the rich and the poor widened, and civil wars erupted between rival factions of generals and politicians. The most famous of these conflicts was the one between Julius Caesar and Pompey, which ended with Caesar's victory and dictatorship in 44 BCE. Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators who feared his ambition, but his death triggered another civil war between his supporters and enemies. His adopted son Octavian emerged as the victor and became the first emperor of Rome under the name Augustus in 27 BCE.
The Roman Empire was a period of stability and prosperity for most of its subjects. Augustus and his successors reformed the administration, the army, the law, the religion, and the culture of Rome. They also maintained peace and security along the borders, known as the Pax Romana. The empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan (98-117 CE), who added Dacia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Arabia to the Roman domains. However, the empire also faced many challenges and crises, such as invasions by barbarians, civil wars between rival emperors, epidemics, famines, corruption, inflation, and social decay. The empire was divided into two halves by Diocletian (284-305 CE), who hoped to improve its governance and defense. Constantine I (306-337 CE) reunited the empire briefly, but also legalized Christianity, which became the dominant religion of Rome. The empire was permanently split into two after his death: the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.
The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 CE, when a Germanic chief named Odoacer deposed the last emperor Romulus Augustulus. The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, survived for another thousand years until 1453 CE, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. The Byzantine Empire preserved much of the Roman legacy in law, art, literature, architecture, and religion. It also faced many enemies and challenges, such as Persians, Arabs, Bulgars, Crusaders, Mongols, Turks, Slavs, Normans, Venetians, and others. The Byzantine Empire reached its zenith under Justinian I (527-565 CE), who reconquered some of the lost western territories and codified Roman law in his Corpus Juris Civilis. However, his reign also saw devastating wars, plagues, riots, and schisms. The Byzantine Empire's capital, Constantinople, was one of the most splendid and influential cities in history, until it fell to the Ottomans in 1453 CE.
God and Goddess of war
According to Wikipedia, the Roman god and goddess of war are Mars and Bellona. Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the main deity of the Roman army. He was also associated with agriculture, spring, and fatherhood. Bellona was originally known as Duellona, and was sometimes considered the sister or wife of Mars. She was also identified with the Greek goddess Enyo, who accompanied Ares in battle.
Mars and Bellona were both worshipped by the Romans as protectors of the state and its military interests. They had temples and festivals dedicated to them, and their symbols included weapons, shields, helmets, and torches. Mars was often depicted as a bearded warrior in armor, while Bellona was shown as a fierce woman with a whip or a sword.
Gods and Goddesses of death and healing
The ancient Romans had a rich and complex mythology that involved many gods and goddesses, each with their own domains and attributes. Among them, there were some deities who were associated with healing and death, two aspects of life that often intertwined in the Roman world.
One of the most prominent gods of healing was Apollo, who was also the god of the sun, music, poetry, prophecy, and archery. Apollo was the son of Jupiter and Leto, and the twin brother of Diana, the goddess of the hunt and the moon. Apollo was revered as a source of light, wisdom, and healing, and he had many temples and shrines throughout the Roman Empire. He was often depicted as a handsome young man with a laurel wreath on his head, holding a lyre or a bow and arrow. Apollo was the patron of medicine and healing arts, and he taught his son Asclepius, the god of medicine, the secrets of his craft. Asclepius became so skilled that he could even resurrect the dead, which angered Jupiter, who struck him down with a thunderbolt. Asclepius was then placed among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.
Another god of healing was Mars, who was also the god of war, courage, and strength. Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Mars was worshipped as a protector of the Roman people and their army, and he had many festivals and rites dedicated to him. He was usually portrayed as a bearded warrior in full armor, holding a spear and a shield. Mars was also associated with healing because he could heal the wounds of his soldiers and grant them vigor and vitality. He was sometimes invoked as Mars Salutaris, Mars the Healer, or Mars Pater, Mars the Father.
The most prominent goddess of death was Proserpina, who was also the goddess of spring and the underworld. Proserpina was the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, and Jupiter. She was abducted by Pluto, the god of the underworld, who made her his wife and queen. Proserpina spent half of the year in the underworld with Pluto, and half of the year on earth with her mother. This cycle explained the seasons: when Proserpina was in the underworld, Ceres mourned for her daughter and caused winter to come; when Proserpina returned to earth, Ceres rejoiced and caused spring to come. Proserpina was seen as a mediator between life and death, and she had the power to grant eternal life or eternal punishment to the souls of the dead.
Another goddess of death was Libitina, who was also the goddess of funerals and corpses. Libitina was an ancient Roman deity whose origin and nature are obscure. She had a temple in Rome where all deaths were registered and where funeral equipment was stored. She was also associated with Venus Libitina, a form of Venus who presided over sensual pleasures and erotic death. Libitina was sometimes depicted as a winged woman holding a wreath or a torch.
God and Goddess of love
The Roman god and goddess of love were Cupid and Venus, respectively. Cupid was the son of Mercury, the god of communication, and Venus, the goddess of beauty and desire. He was depicted as a winged boy with a bow and arrows, which he used to make people fall in love. Venus was the daughter of Jupiter, the king of the gods, and Dione, an ancient goddess of the sky. She was the patron of love, marriage, and fertility, as well as art, music, and gardens. She was often portrayed as a beautiful woman with a graceful figure, accompanied by doves, swans, or roses.
A toga is a type of garment that was worn by the ancient Romans. It consisted of a long piece of cloth, usually wool, that was draped around the body in various ways. The toga was a symbol of Roman citizenship and social status, and it was worn by men and women of different classes and occupations. The toga was also used for ceremonial occasions, such as religious rites, public speeches, and triumphal processions. The toga had different styles and colors depending on the wearer's rank and role in society. For example, the toga praetexta was a white toga with a purple border that was worn by magistrates, priests, and young boys. The toga candida was a bright white toga that was worn by candidates for public office. The toga picta was a purple toga embroidered with gold that was worn by victorious generals and emperors. The toga pulla was a dark-colored toga that was worn by mourners and people in disgrace. The toga virilis was a plain white toga that was worn by adult male citizens.
God and Goddess of wine and festival
The Roman god and goddess of wine and festival were Liber and Libera, respectively. They were associated with the Greek god Dionysus and goddess Persephone, who were also patrons of wine, fertility, and vegetation. Liber and Libera were celebrated in the Liberalia, a festival held on March 17th, which marked the coming of age for young men. During the festival, people would wear wreaths of ivy, drink wine, and offer sacrifices of cakes and honey to the deities. Liber and Libera were also invoked for protection against diseases of the vine and the fertility of the crops.
Roman gladiators were professional fighters who participated in violent and often deadly spectacles for the entertainment of the public. They were usually slaves, prisoners of war, or criminals who had no choice but to risk their lives in the arena. Gladiators were trained in special schools called ludus, where they learned various weapons and fighting techniques. They were also subjected to harsh discipline and brutal punishments if they disobeyed or performed poorly.
Gladiators fought in different types of matches, depending on their status, skills, and equipment. Some of the most common categories were:
- Murmillo: A heavily armed gladiator who wore a helmet with a fish-shaped crest, a large shield, and a sword. He often fought against a Thracian or a Hoplomachus.
- Thracian: A lightly armed gladiator who wore a helmet with a griffin motif, a small shield, and a curved sword called sica. He often fought against a Murmillo or a Hoplomachus.
- Hoplomachus: A gladiator who imitated a Greek hoplite, wearing a helmet with a plume, a small round shield, a spear, and a dagger. He often fought against a Murmillo or a Thracian.
- Retiarius: A gladiator who resembled a fisherman, wearing no helmet or armor, and armed with a net, a trident, and a dagger. He often fought against a Secutor or a Scissor.
- Secutor: A gladiator who chased the Retiarius, wearing a helmet with small eye holes, a large shield, and a sword. He was also known as the "pursuer" or the "follower".
- Scissor: A gladiator who wore a metal tube over his arm, ending in a blade that resembled a pair of scissors. He often fought against a Retiarius or a Secutor.
Gladiators usually fought in pairs, but sometimes they also participated in group battles or animal hunts. The outcome of the fights was decided by the editor, who was the sponsor of the show and had the final authority. The editor could be influenced by the crowd's reaction or by his own preferences. If a gladiator was wounded or defeated, he could ask for mercy by raising his finger or dropping his weapon. The editor could then spare him or order his execution by giving a thumbs up or down gesture.
Gladiators were admired by some people for their courage and skill, but they were also despised by others for their low social status and violent profession. Some gladiators became famous and wealthy, while others died young and unknown. Gladiators had a short and uncertain life expectancy, but they also had a chance to win glory and freedom.
The chariot was a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses, that was used for ancient warfare, hunting, racing and transport. The earliest known chariots date back to the Sintashta culture in modern-day Russia, around 2000 BCE, and were spread by the Indo-Iranian migrations. The chariot was a fast, light and open vehicle with two wheels and a floor with a guard at the front and sides. The chariot was pulled by two or more horses that were hitched side by side. The number of horses determined the name of the chariot in ancient Rome: a biga had two horses, a triga had three and a quadriga had four. Chariot racing was one of the most popular and dangerous sports in ancient Rome, staged at the Circus Maximus arena, where up to 200,000 spectators could watch 24 races per day. The charioteers raced seven laps around a 2,000-foot-long sand track, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and risking crashes at the hairpin turns. The winner received a palm branch, a wreath and prize money, and became a celebrity in Roman society.
The Trojan Horse was a cunning strategy devised by the Greeks to end the decade-long Trojan War. According to legend, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse and hid some of their best warriors inside it. They then pretended to abandon the siege and sailed away, leaving the horse as a supposed gift for the Trojans. The Trojans, unaware of the hidden danger, brought the horse into their city and celebrated their apparent victory. However, at night, the Greek soldiers emerged from the horse and opened the gates for the rest of their army, which had secretly returned. The Greeks then sacked and burned Troy, thus winning the war.
Roman sundials were devices that indicated the time of day by the position of the shadow of a gnomon (a vertical rod or a triangular blade) on a horizontal or inclined surface. The Romans adopted the sundial technology from the Greeks, who had developed it from the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. The first sundial in Rome was brought as a war trophy in 293 BCE, but it was not accurate for the local latitude. The first sundial designed for Rome was built in 164 BCE, and it used seasonal hours that varied in length according to the season. Roman sundials were usually marked with 12 divisions for the daylight hours, but some had 24 divisions for both day and night hours. Some sundials were portable and could be adjusted for different latitudes by changing the angle of the gnomon or the dial plate. Sundials were widely used in the Roman Empire for public and private purposes, such as scheduling meetings, religious ceremonies, agricultural activities, and leisure activities. Sundials were also symbols of culture, status, and power, as they demonstrated the Roman mastery of astronomy, mathematics, and engineering.