Bellum ingens in tenebris
THE STATE GODS
Numerous state gods existed. The most important
included the following:
Jupiter is the Roman version of the Greek deity
Zeus. He is wielder of lightning, king of the gods,
giver of courage, and patron of oaths and treaties.
When Romans swore an oath “by Jupiter,” they took
it very seriously. There were many temples devoted
to different aspects of Jupiter.
Mars is identified with the Greek deity Ares, god
of war. He was also the father of Romulus and Remus
founders of Rome. His sacred animals were the
Quirinus was the name given to Romulus after
death. He was believed to have been demi-god
patron deity of Rome, a god of community and
Ceres was the ancient Italian goddess of corn and
agriculture, identified with the Greek deity Demeter
Her following was large and influential, and ma)
well have actual priest characters under the political
Juno was a version of the Greek deity Hera, th
Queen of Heaven and patron of women, marriage
and childbirth. She was also patron of coinage. The
temple to Juno Moneta (“giver of timely warnings”)
in Rome housed the state mint, and gives us our
Mercury was the same as the Greek deity Hermes,
god of thieves, travel, and merchants. His most
important role in Rome was as god of trade. The
merchant’s guild were headquartered in his temple.
Venus was a version of the Greek love goddess
Aphrodite. She was very popular in Rome, especially
as patron of illicit love, with several temples.
Diana was a version of the Greek deity Artemis
goddess of women, hunting, and the moon. In
she was also the protector of slaves. The high priest
of her major temple had to be an escaped slave who
had slain his predecessor in single combat!
Vulcan was a version of the Greek Hephaestus
god of fire and the forge. He was also god of earthquakes and volcanoes; at 13th level, his priests add
the granted power to dispel an earthquake or eruption
as it begins, once per week. His temples were
restricted to beyond city limits!
Neptune was the god of the sea, the Roman version
of the Greek deity Poseidon. He was served by
priests but was primarily important to sailors and
fishermen. He was also associated with horses, and
his priests took part in processions at the circus.
Bellonu was the chief Roman goddess of foreign
wars, and her blessing was sought to make sure that
Rome never entered an ”unjust” war. She was not
directly associated with any Greek gods; use the statistics
for Mars. Her temple was on the Campus Martius
and was often used a meeting place of the Senate
outside the city walls, especially for formal declarations
Vesta was the goddess of Rome’s hearthfire, identified
with the Greek deity Hestia. A sacred hearth fire
was kept in the temple of Vesta in Rome. It was
tended by six Vestal Virgins selected from young girls
of noble family. Each Virgin served for 30 years. They
had to remain chaste and prevent the fire going out or
Rome’s luck would turn bad. If they failed in their
vows, they could be buried alive. The Vestal Virgins
had no special political or priestly powers, but (during
the Empire) they were sometimes covertly
involved in palace politics. If a condemned man he could not be slain.
Hercules was the roman version Heracles. Unlike Heracles, he was actively
worshiped, serving as patron of the circus, and he
had several major temples. Use the Hercules description
in Legends and Lore, but add the God of Strength
attributes from The Complete Priest.
Apollo was identical to the Greek deity, worshiped
as god of the sun, healing, and music. But his position
was mostly superseded by the imported cult of
Aesculupius was worshiped for very practical reasons:
His priests were considered to be the best healers
of the day. Aesculapius was not quite part of the
state religion, but he was given official sanction
when his cult came to Rome in 203 B.C. According to
myth, Aesculapius was a Greek hero who was taught
medicine by the centaur Chiron. He was struck by a
thunderbolt from Zeus for daring to restore a man to
life, but he was later elevated into godhood. His
symbol was the snake, and a sacred snake was released
to find the ground where new temples would
be built. Even more than the priests of Apollo, the
priests of Aesculapius were renowned for their
miraculous healing power.
Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter.
From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, and the crafts. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva”, which symbolized her association with wisdom and knowledge.
Castor and Pollux were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri or Dioskouroi.4 Their mother was Leda, but they had different fathers; Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, while Pollux was the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters or half-sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.
Castor And Pollux
In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini5 or Castores.6 When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo’s fire, and were also associated with horsemanship.The Dioscuri were regarded as helpers of humankind and held to be patrons of travellers and of sailors in particular, who invoked them to seek favourable winds.9 Their role as horsemen and boxers also led to them being regarded as the patrons of athletes and athletic contests.10 They characteristically intervened at the moment of crisis, aiding those who honoured or trusted them.11
(/ˈhɛkətiː/; Greek Ἑκάτη Hekátē) is a goddess in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key1 and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.23 She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace.4 She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.Hecate also came to be associated with ghosts, infernal spirits, the dead and sorcery. Shrines to Hecate were placed at doorways to both homes and cities with the belief that it would protect from restless dead and other spirits. Likewise, shrines to Hecate at three way crossroads were created where food offerings were left at the new moon to protect those who did so from spirits and other evils.
Fortuna (Latin: Fortūna, equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good or bad luck: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Lady Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness. She was also a goddess of fate: as Atrox Fortuna, she claimed the young lives of the princeps Augustus’ grandsons Gaius and Lucius, prospective heirs to the Empire.1