List of Roman deities

The Roman deities most familiar today are those the Romans identified with Greek counterparts (see interpretatio graeca), integrating Greek myths, iconography, and sometimes religious practices into Roman culture, including Latin literature, Roman art, and religious life as it was experienced throughout the Empire. Many of the Romans' own gods remain obscure, known only by name and sometimes function, through inscriptions and texts that are often fragmentary. This is particularly true of those gods belonging to the archaic religion of the Romans dating back to the era of kings, the so-called "religion of Numa", which was perpetuated or revived over the centuries. Some archaic deities have Italic or Etruscan counterparts, as identified both by ancient sources and by modern scholars. Throughout the Empire, the deities of peoples in the provinces were given new theological interpretations in light of functions or attributes they shared with Roman deities.

An extensive alphabetical list follows a survey of theological groups as constructed by the Romans themselves.[1] For the cult pertaining to deified Roman emperors (divi), see Imperial cult.

Roman god lists

The so-called "Venus in a bikini", from the house of Julia Felix, Pompeii, Italy actually depicts her Greek counterpart Aphrodite as she is about to untie her sandal, with a small Eros squatting beneath her left arm, 1st-century AD [2]

Triads

Groupings of twelve

Lectisternium of 217 BC

A lectisternium is a banquet for the gods, at which they appear as images seated on couches, as if present and participating. In describing the lectisternium of the Twelve Great gods in 217 BC, the Augustan historian Livy places the deities in gender-balanced pairs:[5]

Divine male-female complements such as these, as well as the anthropomorphic influence of Greek mythology, contributed to a tendency in Latin literature to represent the gods as "married" couples or (as in the case of Venus and Mars) lovers.[citation needed]

Di Consentes on an altar

Dii Consentes

Varro uses the name Dii Consentes for twelve deities whose gilded images stood in the forum. These were also placed in six male-female pairs.[6] Although individual names are not listed, they are assumed to be the deities of the lectisternium. A fragment from Ennius, within whose lifetime the lectisternium occurred, lists the same twelve deities by name, though in a different order from that of Livy: Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Jove, Neptunus, Vulcanus, Apollo.[7]

The Dii Consentes are sometimes seen as the Roman equivalent of the Greek Olympians. The meaning of Consentes is subject to interpretation, but is usually taken to mean that they form a council or consensus of deities.

Di Flaminales

The three Roman deities cultivated by major flamens

Twelve Roman deities attended by the minor flamens

Di selecti

Varro[9] gives a list of twenty principal gods of Roman religion:

Sabine gods

Livia, wife of Augustus, dressed as the goddess Ops

Varro, who was himself of Sabine origin, gives a list of Sabine gods who were adopted by the Romans:

Elsewhere, Varro claims Sol Indiges, who had a sacred grove at Lavinium, as Sabine but at the same time equates him with Apollo.[12] Of those listed, he writes, "several names have their roots in both languages, as trees that grow on a property line creep into both fields. Saturn, for instance, can be said to have another origin here, and so too Diana."[13] Varro makes various claims for Sabine origins throughout his works, some more plausible than others, and his list should not be taken at face value.[14] But the importance of the Sabines in the early cultural formation of Rome is evidenced, for instance, by the bride abduction of the Sabine women by Romulus's men, and in the Sabine ethnicity of Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, to whom are attributed many of Rome's religious and legal institutions.[15] Varro, however, says that the altars to most of these gods were established at Rome by King Tatius as the result of a vow (votum).[16]