Roman god lists
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:
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.
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. 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.
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.
The three Roman deities cultivated by major flamens
Twelve Roman deities attended by the minor flamens
Varro gives a list of twenty principal gods of Roman religion:
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. 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." 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. 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. 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).