Qreek and Roman Deities

Ancient Greek religion was the polytheistic worship of twelve anthropomorphic, ageless, immortal deities on Mount Olympus, usually Zeus and his wife, Hera; Poseidon, god of the sea; Apollo, a sun god of music, healing, culture, and oracles; Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt who oversaw the maturation of the young; Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, especially important as the patron goddess of Athens; Hermes, the messenger god who guided all travelers, including the dead whom he conducted into the realm of the god of the underworld, Hades; Ares, the god of war; Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Demeter, goddess of grain, whose daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades and then became the queen of the underworld; Dionysus, god of wine and religious ecstasy; and Hephaestus, the god of fire. Zeus was their leader and there were thousands of local gods. Religion was everywhere in the Greek world and there was no distinction between religious and secular. The pan-Hellenic or national festivals of athletic and musical competitions were dedicated to the gods who presided over all community life. The pantheon of gods in the Roman world was modeled upon that of the Greek and similarly implicated with cultural and political life. By the end of the third century B.C.E., the Romans had imported and asimilated the Greek pantheon: Jupiter, like Zeus, was the Father of the gods; Juno, goddess of fertility and matrons, was similar to Hera; Neptune, like Poseidon, was the god of the seas and waters; Apollo remained unchanged; like Artemis, Diana was associated with the moon and hunting as the goddess of woods and nymphs, female divinities who live in mountains, trees, caves or other natural settings; Minerva, a city goddess like Athena, formed the Capitoline Triad with Jupiter and Juno, a trio of divinities brought to Rome by the Etruscans; Mercury corresponded to Hermes as the god of trade and travel; Mars was identified with Ares as a god of war; Venus was the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite; Ceres, a goddess of grain, was compared to Demeter, while Bacchus, god of wine was the Roman counterpart of Dionysus; and Vulcan, god of fire and forges, had attributes similar to the Greek fire god Hephaestus.

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