Who were the main Roman gods?

Before Rome became the central hub of Christianity, the ancient Romans were a polytheistic civilisation who worshipped Roman Gods and Goddesses.

They believed that these gods and goddesses helped found their land and continued to help shape their lives on a daily basis. Out of the huge assortment of Gods and Goddess’, there were the main twelve deities that formed the Council of 12. These were the main Romans gods that gave the ancient Romans the confidence to conquer, succeed, and prosper.

  • Jupiter/ Zeus

    The King of all gods, Jupiter, equivalent to the Greek Zeus, is the god of the sky, lighting, and thunder. He was said to have two brothers and three sisters. When their father Saturn passed away, the three sons Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto divided the world up, with Jupiter claiming the heavens. The Romans saw him as the protector for all laws and the state, with his time being at the place of state business and sacrifices. He was renowned for having many sons and daughters, each with a collection of different women.

  • Juno/ Hera

    The Queen to all the Deities, Juno, the wife (and sister) of Jupiter. She was the protector of Rome, differing from her Greek counterpart but instead of being a jealous queen, Juno was a beloved goddess of marriage, looking over women (particularly those who were married) and protecting them. On the 1st of March, there was a large festival dedicated to Juno and was one of the most anticipated events in ancient times.

  • Neptune/ Poseidon

    The God of the Sea, Neptune, the ruler of both fresh and sea water. He also went under the name Neptune Equester, becoming the ruler of Horses and Horse Racing. He was said to be a very good-looking god, with bright blue eyes like the sea and flowing green hair. His anger was famous, with large storms and rough waters due to Neptune’s fury.

  • Minerva/ Athena

    Minerva is the ‘goddess of thousands of works,’ known to rule over wisdom, poetry, crafts, and more. She was to have believed to come out of Jupiter’s forehead after he had swallowed her mother. Most believe that Minerva was Jupiter’s favourite offspring, as she was a powerful force for both humans and gods. 

  • Mars/ Ares

    The God of War, defender of the state borders and city, and although compared to the Greek equivalent Ares, Mars was seen as a much more complex being. He was the offspring of Jupiter and Juno, the king and queen of all the god and was depicted as a tall and handsome being. However, his beauty was not unnoticed by himself, being quite a cocky individual and at times very mean, always loving the bloodshed of war. He was said to be the father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

  • Venus/ Aphrodite

    The Goddess of beauty, love, desire, sex, victory, and fertility. Her father and mother are unknown as it was said one day she just simply appeared. The word ‘Venus’ also meant ‘sexual love’ in Latin, giving her a core concept of desire and sex. She was married to Vulcan but had a long love affair with Mars which resulted in four children.

  • Apollo / Apollo

    With even the same name as its Greek God counterpart, Apollo was the God of Sun, Music and Prophecy. The Romans thought him to be one of the most complex and beloved deities to Romans, even having an entire cult dedicated to him, named the Cult of Delphi. He was a gentle god, having a mortal mother and one of the many sons of King Jupiter.

  • Diana/ Artemis

    The Goddess of the Hunt; the possessor of nature and the moon. She was Apollo’s twin, and although she is similar to the Greek Goddess Artemis, her origins can actually be traced back to indigenous Italic, or older Indo-European. She was a very private Goddess, with her main job being to bring out the moon. The size of the moon depended on Diana’s mood, with the smaller the size, the laziest and moodier Diana was.

  • Vulcan/Hephaestus

    Vulcan, the God of Fire, ranging from Blacksmiths to Craftsmanship. Any forgery and metal work involved Vulcan, with his most celebrated craft being weapons. He was known to be always making something, a seen as a great builder much like many of the Romans at that time. He was the son of Juno and Jupiter and married to Venus. 

  • Mercury/Hermes

    Many would recognise this God easily by his winged sandals. He was a very popular God within the heavenly world, being very loyal, bright, and playful to others. As he was so trustworthy, he was always sent out to fix issues and happenings, with him being especially at getting himself and others out of tricky positions. He was seen as the God of many things, including trade, profit, travel, trickery, and communication. Watching over the shopkeepers, merchants, travellers and even thieves of Rome. He was also known to be the guide for dead souls into the underworld.

  • Ceres/Demeter

    The second sister of Jupiter, Ceres was the Goddess of the harvest and agriculture, as well as being the Goddess of fertility. When Ceres was unhappy, all the Roman crops died, with her tears being the leaves that fell from the trees and bushes. The reason for the seasonal changes is due to Ceres’ mood. Her beloved daughter Proserpina was tricked by the king of the underworld and forced to remain in the underworld 6 months every year. During the Winter and Autumn time, Ceres’ daughter is forced to remain away from her, making Ceres sulk and cry and let no crop grow. When Proserpina is able to come home, Ceres rejoices, making sure every flower bloom for her daughter’s return, transforming this time into spring and summer.

  • Vesta/Hestia

    The last sister of Jupiter, Vesta was the goddess of Hearth and Home. She had an entire cult devoted to her, named the vestal virgins. It was said she once gave the Emperor of Rome an everlasting flame to protect Rome from harm. However, she stated that this flame must never to go out, as it would make her extremally anger and Rome would be defenceless. This formed the all women cult of roman virgin women to dedicate 30 years of their life to maintaining this flame to always burn for Rome’s safety.

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