Lots of gods in Roman mythology are the same as Greek gods. So if you’re thinking of naming your pet after a certain god, you can choose between the Roman or Greek version. The Romans had thousands of gods. Every time they expanded their territory and found out about a new god that they liked, they “adopted” them. They were especially taken with Greek mythology and made it part of their own divine landscape. So, the highest Greek god Zeus is the same as the Roman Jupiter. The Greek god of war, Ares, became Mars for the Romans - and Aphrodite is Venus.
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|Apollo||God of poetry, music, and oracles|
|Aurora||Goddess of the dawn|
|Ceres||Goddess of the harvest|
|Cupid||God of love|
|Diana||Goddess of the hunt|
|Epona||Goddess of horses|
|Fortuna||Goddess of fortune|
|Hercules||God of strength|
|Janus||Double-faced or two-headed god of beginnings and endings|
|Juno||Queen of the gods, goddess of matrimony|
|Jupiter||King of the gods, god of storms, lightning and sky|
|Mars||God of war|
|Mercury||Messenger of the gods and bearer of souls to the underworld|
|Minerva||Goddess of wisdom, war and the arts|
|Neptune||God of freshwater and the sea|
|Pluto||God of the underworld|
|Venus||Goddess of love and beauty|
|Vesta||Goddess of the hearth and family|
|Vulcan||God of the forge, fire and blacksmiths|
Even if Greek mythology was considerably more detailed, we’ve still come up with a few divine beings that come from Roman mythology:
• Caladrius – the white bird
In Roman mythology, there is a bird that lives in royal buildings and sits at the bedsides of ill people. If the bird refused to see a sick person, this was not a good sign for their health. If it looked the person in the eye, the person would recover completely. People believed that the bird could absorb the illness into itself and fly away with it.
• Faun – half human, half goat
A faun is a forest and meadow spirit in Roman mythology. It looks like a cross between a human and a goat. It has hooves instead of feet and the legs of a goat. Its upper body is human but it has horns on its head. There is a mythological creature in Greek mythology that is very similar to the faun: the satyr. If you’ve read or seen “The Chronicles of Narnia”, you’ll know about fauns - especially Mr Tumnus. They say that fauns like to play the panpipes and mostly live in groups.
• Picus – the woodpecker
The god Picus wasn’t always a woodpecker, but was turned into one by the gods, who were angry about his loyalty to his wife. You can find the word picus in biology. Lots of woodpeckers have it in their scientific names. Like the European green woodpecker, or picus viridis.
Animals in Ancient Rome
When it came to real animals: the Romans were especially fascinated by exotic animals. In public arenas, people could marvel at elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes, ostriches and many other animals. They were often part of gladiator fights (gladiator comes from the Latin word “gladius”, meaning “sword”). The Romans also had pets, but they were usually kept for their usefulness instead of just as friends and companions. Cats were there to catch mice, dogs protected the house and horses carried soldiers into battle.