A

Aurora the Roman personification of the dawn, a lovely woman who flies across the sky announcing the arrival of the sun.

B

Bacchus god of fertility and wine associated with various religious cults. Worshippers, through music, dancing, and drinking, and through eating flesh and blood of sacrificial animals, attempted to merge their identities with nature.

Bellona the goddess of war, popular among the Roman soldiers. She accompanied Mars in battle, and was variously given as his wife, sister or daughter.

C

Ceres the old-Italian goddess of agriculture, grain, and the love a mother bears for her child. She is the daughter of Saturn and the mother of Proserpina.

Cupid the god of love and the son of Venus.

Cybele great mother of the gods, ancient Oriental and Greco-Roman deity, primarily a nature goddess, responsible for maintaining and reproducing the wild things of the earth. As guardian of cities and nations, however, she was also entrusted with the general welfare of the people.

D

Decima a goddess of childbirth. Together with Nona and Morta she forms the Parcae (the Fates).

Diana the goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth. Her priest lived in Aricia and if a man was able to kill him with a bough broken from a tree in this forest, he would become priest himself.

Dis Pater the ruler of the underworld and fortune. The name is a contraction of the Latin Dives, "the wealthy", Dives Pater, "the wealthy father", or "Fater Wealth". It refers to the wealth of precious stone below the earth.

Discordia the personified goddess of strife and discord. She belonged to the retinue of Mars and Bellona.

F

Faunus the god of wild nature and fertility, also regarded as the giver of oracles. As the protector of cattle he is also referred to as Lupercus ("he who wards off the wolf").

Flora the goddess of blossoming flowers of spring.

Fortuna the personification of good fortune, originally a goddess of blessing and fertility and in that capacity she was especially worshipped by mothers.

Furies the goddesss of vengeance, usually characterized as three sisters (Alecto, Tisiphone, and Magaera), the children of Gaia and Uranus.

I

Isis goddess, mother of supreme god of Egypt Horus, nature goddess whose worship gradually extended throughout the lands of the Mediterranean world. The functions of many goddesses were attributed to her, so that eventually she became the prototype of the beneficent mother goddess, the bringer of fertility and consolation to all. Her symbol was a throne and later the cow, and she was frequently represented with a cow's head or cow's horns.

J

Janus in Roman religion the animistic spirit of doorways (ianuae) and archways (iani); the Janus Geminus was a shrine of Janus at the north side of the Forum; the doors of this shrine were left open in time of war and were kept closed when Rome was at peace

Juno supreme goddess and goddess of matrimony, wife of Jupiter; on the Capitol stood the temple of Juno Moneta, in Republican times the early mint.

Jupiter chief god of the Romans; in Rome especially venerated as Jupiter Capitolinus, guardian of the city; often called Jupiter Optimus Maximus, "the best and the greatest".

Justitia the goddess of justice.

Juventas an early Roman goddess of youth. Boys offered a coin to herwhen they wore a man's toga for the first time.

L

lares guardian spirits, household gods, beneficent spirits of ancestors, worshiped in close connection with the penates.

Lucifer ("light-bearer") is the personification of the planet Venus as the morningstar, and son of Aurora.

Lupa Capitolina "Capitoline" she-wolf who saved Romulus and Remus from drowning in the Tiber; its sculpture (nowadays in the Conservatory Palace) stood on the Capitol high up on a column

M

Mars the god of war; the son of Jupiter and Juno and the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Ilia (Rhea Silvia). The Romans called themselves the "sons of Mars."

Matuta, Mater Matuta, the Roman goddess of the dawn, the patroness of newborn babes and also of the sea and harbors

Mercurius messenger of the gods and god of merchandise, merchants, trade and profit.

Minerva the goddess of wisdom, medicine, the arts, dyeing, science and trade, but also of war. As Minerva Medica she is the patroness of physicians. She is the daughter of Jupiter.

Mithra the god of light and wisdom of Persia and India, closely associated with the sun whose cult expanded through the Middle East into Europe to become a worldwide religion. Mithraism found widest favor among the Roman legions, for whom Mithra (or Mithras in Latin and Greek) was the ideal divine comrade and fighter. The fundamental aspect of the Mithraic system was the dualistic struggle between the forces of good and evil. The ethics of Mithraism were rigorous; fasting and continence were strongly prescribed.

Morta the goddess of death, one of the Parcae (the Fates) with Nona and Decima.

N

Neptunus (Neptune) god of the sea, brother of upper god Jupiter, as Neptune Equester, the god and patron of horse-racing and horses.

Nona the goddess of pregnancy. Nona ("ninth") was called upon by a pregnant mother in the ninth month when the child was due to be born. One of the Parcae (the Fates) with Morta and Decima.

O

Osiris legendary ruler of predynastic Egypt and god of the underworld, who brought knowledge of agriculture and civilization. His worship was one of the great cults of ancient Egypt, gradually spreading throughout the Mediterranean world. Identified variously with the waters of the Nile, the grain of the earth, the moon, and the sun, Osiris was the great symbol of the creative forces of nature and the imperishability of life.

P

penates household gods, primarily guardians of the storeroom, worshipped in connection with the lares; also public gods, protectors of the community and state.

Q

Quirinus name taken by Romulus upon diefication; in later times equivalent of Mars

S

Salus ("salvation") the personified goddess of health and prosperity, both of the individual and the state (as Salus Publica Populi Romani, "goddess of the public welfare of the Roman people").

Saturnus the god of agriculture concerned with sowing or seed, the father of Jupiter, Ceres, Juno and many others.

Sol the personified god of the sun.

Somnus the god of sleep. A temple was located at the Circus Maximus, near the race-tracks, where he was considered to be the protector of the four-in-hands which joined the races.

Stimula the goddess who incites passion in women.

T

Tellus the goddess of the earth.

V

Venus goddess of love and ancestor of the Julian family; she was assisted by her son or Cupid

Vertumnus Etruscan god of the seasons; his worship was introduced in Rome in 267 BC

Vesta goddess of the hearth and open fireplaces.

Victoria the personification of Victory, worshipped as a goddess, especially by triumphant generals returning from battle.

Vulcanus ancient Roman god of fire, especially destructive fire, and craftsmanship. His forge is located beneath Mount Etna.