Ancient Roman gods and goddessesQUESTION: Were the ancient Roman gods and goddesses based on real people?ANSWER:
No, the ancient Roman gods and goddesses were not based on real people. Rather, they were based on the mythology of ancient Greece. The Romans adopted many of the Greek gods and goddesses and renamed them. For example, Jupiter, the father of the ancient Roman gods and goddesses is the Greek god, Zeus. His wife, Juno, the queen of heaven, is the Greek goddesses Hera.
Other similarities between the ancient Roman gods and goddesses and their Greek counterparts include:
- Hermes (Greek)/Mercury (Roman) - the messenger god and god of science, travelers and rogues
- Ares (Greek)/Mars (Roman) - the god of war; Aphrodite (Greek)/Venus (Roman) - the goddess of love
There are many other ancient Roman gods and goddesses which have ancient Greek counterparts. The Iliad,
the Aeneid, and the Odyssey,
ancient epic poetry, provide us with some of the information we have on ancient Roman and Greek gods and goddesses as well as their mythical heroes like Hercules. Other sources of information were found in the ruins of the ancient Roman and Greek temples where people gathered to worship these ancient Roman gods and goddesses.