It was once believed that the god Jupiter in Roman (Zeus in Greece) was in charge of cosmic Justice, and in ancient Rome, in their courts of law people swore by Jove to witness the oath. In Roman mythology, Jupiter or Jove was the king of the gods, and the god of sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon.
He was called Iuppiter (or Diespiter) Optimus Maximus (“Father God the Best and Greatest”) As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he ruled over laws and social order.
The largest temple in Rome was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill. Here, Romans worshipped him alongside Juno and Minerva, forming the Capitoline Triad [a group or union of three persons or things] .
Jupiter was worshipped at Capitoline Hill in the form of a stone, known as Iuppiter Lapis or the Jupiter Stone, which was sworn upon as an oath stone. Temples to Jupiter Optimus Maximus or the Capitoline Triad as a whole were commonly built by the Romans at the center of new cities in their colonies.
When Hadrian built Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus was erected in the place of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.
Iuppiter originated as a vocative compound of the Old Latin vocative *Iou and pater (“father”) and came to replace the Old Latin nominative case *Ious. Jove is a less common English formation based on Iov-, the stem of oblique cases of the Latin name. Linguistic studies identify the form *Iou-pater as deriving from the Indo-European vocative compound *Dyēu-pəter (nominative: *Dyēus-pətēr meaning “O Father Sky-god” [father in heaven]
Older forms of the deity’s name in Rome were Djeus-pater (“day/sky-father”), then Diéspiter. Djeus is the etymological equivalent of ancient Greece’s Zeus and of the Teutonics’ Ziu, gen. Ziewes. The Indo-European deity is thus the god from which Zeus and the Indo-Aryan Vedic Dyaus Pita are derived.
The name of the god was also adopted as the name of the planet Jupiter, and was the original namesake of Latin forms of the weekday now known in English as Thursday but originally called Iovis Dies in Latin, giving rise to Deus in Portuguese, jeudi in French, jueves in Spanish, joi in Romanian, giovedì in Italian, dijous in Catalan, Xoves in Galego, Joibe in Furlan, Djeus,in Greek.
Jupiter was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad Jupiter with sister/wife Juno and also the father of the god Mars with Juno. Therefore, Jupiter is the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.
Jupiter was venerated in ancient Roman religion, and is still venerated in Roman Neopaganism. He is a son of Saturn, along with brothers Neptune and Pluto. He is also the brother/husband of Ceres (daughter of Saturn and mother of Proserpina), brother of Veritas (daughter of Saturn), and father of Mercury.
Jupiter was given many names as follows:
- Jupiter Caelestis (“heavenly”)
- Jupiter Elicius (of weather and storms)
- Jupiter Feretrius (“who carries away the spoils of war”; called upon to witness solemn oaths – cf. “by Jove”). The epithet or “numen” is probably connected with ferire, the stroke of ritual as illustrated in foedus ferire, of which the silex, a quartz rock, is evidence in his temple on the Capitoline hill, which is said to have been the first temple in Rome, erected and dedicated by
- Romulus to commemorate his winning of the spolia opima from Acron, king of the Caeninenses, and to serve as a repository for them.
- Iuppiter Feretrius was therefore equivalent to Iuppiter Lapis, the latter used for a specially solemn oath
- Jupiter Fulgurator or Fulgens (“of the lightning”)
- Jupiter Lucetius (“of the light”)
- Jupiter Optimus Maximus (” the best and greatest”)
- Jupiter Pluvius (“sender of rain”)
- Jupiter Stator (from stare meaning “standing”)
- Jupiter Summanus (sender of nocturnal thunder)
- Jupiter Terminalus or Terminus (defends boundaries).
- Jupiter Tonans (“thunderer”)
- Jupiter Victor (led Roman armies to victory)
By synchronisation or geography:
- Jupiter Ammon (Jupiter was equated with the Egyptian deity Amun after the Roman conquest of Egypt)
- Jupiter Brixianus (Jupiter equated with the local god of the town of Brescia in Cisalpine Gaul (modern North Italy)
- Jupiter Capitolinus, the Jupiter Optimus Maximus, venerated in all the places in the Roman Empire with a Capitol (Capitolium)
- Jupiter Dolichenus (from Doliche in Syria, originally a Baal weather and war god), since Vespasian popular among the Roman legions as god of war and victory, esp. on the Danube (Carnuntum). Stands on a bull, a thunderbolt in the left, a double ax in the right hand.
- Jupiter Indiges (Jupiter “of the country” – a title given to Aeneas after his death, according to Livy)
- Jupiter Ladicus (Jupiter equated with a Celtiberian mountain-god and worshipped as the spirit of Mount Ladicus)
- Jupiter Laterius or Latiaris (“God of Latium”)
- Jupiter Parthinus or Partinus (Jupiter was worshiped under this name on the borders of north-east Dalmatia and Upper Moesia, perhaps being associated with the local tribe known as the Partheni)
- Jupiter Poeninus (Jupiter was worshiped in the Alps under this name, around the Great St Bernard Pass, where he had a sanctuary)
- Jupiter Solutorius (a local version of Jupiter worshipped in Spain; he was syncretised with the local Iberian god Eacus)
- Jupiter Taranis (Jupiter equated with the Celtic god Taranis)
- Jupiter Uxellinus (Jupiter as a god of high mountains)
- The largest temple in Rome was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill. Here, Romans worshipped him alongside Juno and Minerva, forming the Capitoline Triad.
- Jupiter was also worshipped at Capitoline Hill in the form of a stone, known as Iuppiter Lapis or the Jupiter Stone, which was sworn upon as an oath stone.
- Temples to Jupiter Optimus Maximus or the Capitoline Triad as a whole were commonly built by the Romans at the center of new cities in their colonies.
The temple was rebuilt in marble after fires had worked total destruction in 83BCE, when the cult image was lost, and the Sibylline Books kept in a stone chest. Fires followed in 69CE, when the Capitol was stormed by the supporters of Vitellius and in 80CE.
In front of the steps was the altar of Jupiter (ara Iovis). The large square in front of the temple (the Area Capitolina) featured a number of temples dedicated to minor divinities, in addition to other religious buildings, statues and trophies.
Its dilapidation began in the fifth century when Stilicho carried off the gold-plated doors, and Narses removed many of the statues in 571CE.
Zeus (pronounced /ˈz(j)uːs/; Ancient Greek: Ζεύς; Modern Greek: Δίας) is the King of the Gods in Greek Mythology. Zeus was viewed as a king who oversaw the universe.
He is also called the “Father of Gods and men“, according to Hesiod’s Theogony. He ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus in ways representative as both a father as head of the family and a king. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology.
His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical “cloud-gatherer” also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.
Zeus, poetically referred to by the vocative Zeu pater (“O, father Zeus”), is a continuation of *Di’ēus, the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph’tēr (“Sky Father”). The god is known under this name in Sanskrit (cf. Dyaus/Dyaus Pita)
Latin (cf. Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the PIE vocative *dyeu-phtēr), deriving from the basic form *dyeu- (“to shine”, and in its many derivatives, “sky, heaven, god”).
In Germanic and Norse mythology (cf. *Tīwaz > OHG Ziu, ON Týr), together with Latin deus, dīvus and Dis (a variation of dīves), from the related noun *deiwos.
To the Greeks and Romans, the god of the sky was also the supreme god, whereas this function was filled out by Odin among the Germanic tribes. Accordingly, they did not identify Zeus/Jupiter with either Tyr or Odin, but with Thor (Þórr). Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology
The major center where all Greeks converged to pay honor to their chief god was Olympia. Their quadrennial festival featured the famous Games. There was also an altar to Zeus made not of stone, but of ash, from the accumulated remains of many centuries’ worth of animals sacrificed there.
Zeus played a dominant role, presiding over the Greek Olympian pantheon. He fathered many of the heroes and was featured in many of their local religious observances. Though the Homeric “cloud collector” was the god of the sky and thunder like his Near-Eastern counterparts, he was also the supreme cultural artifact; in some senses, he was the embodiment of Greek religious beliefs and the archetypal Greek deity.
Aside from local epithets that simply designated the deity to doing something random at some particular place, the epithets or titles applied to Zeus emphasized different aspects of his wide-ranging authority:
Zeus Olympios emphasized Zeus’s kingship over both the gods in addition to his specific presence at the Panhellenic festival at Olympia.
A related title was Zeus Panhellenios (‘Zeus of all the Hellenes’), to whom Aeacus’ famous temple on Aegina was dedicated.
As Zeus Xenios, Zeus was the patron of hospitality and guests, ready to avenge any wrong done to a stranger.
As Zeus Horkios, he was the keeper of oaths. Exposed liars were made to dedicate a statue to Zeus, often at the sanctuary of Olympia.
As Zeus Agoraeus, Zeus watched over business at the agora and punished dishonest traders.
As Zeus Aegiduchos or Aegiochos he was the bearer of the Aegis with which he strikes terror into the impious and his enemies. Others derive this epithet from αίξ (“goat”) and οχή and take it as an allusion to the legend of Zeus’ suckling at the breast of Amalthea.
As Zeus Meilichios, “Easy-to-be-entreated”, he subsumed an archaic chthonic daimon propitiated in Athens, Meilichios.
As Zeus Tallaios, or “Solar Zeus“, he was worshiped in Crete.
In addition to the Panhellenic titles and conceptions listed above, local cults maintained their own idiosyncratic ideas about the king of gods and men.
The Hellenistic writer Euhemerus apparently proposed a theory that Zeus had actually been a great king of Crete and that posthumously his glory had slowly turned him into a deity. The works of Euhemerus himself have not survived, but Christian patristic writers took up the suggestion with enthusiasm. [In aspect of Roman and Greek dieties, Djeus to Jesus, led to secrecy]
The oracle of Ammon at the oasis of Siwa in the Western Desert of Egypt did not lie within the bounds of the Greek world before Alexander’s day, but it already loomed large in the Greek mind during the archaic era.
Herodotus mentions consultations with Zeus Ammon in his account of the Persian War. Zeus Ammon was especially favored at Sparta, where a temple to him existed by the time of the Peloponnesian War
After Alexander [the Great] made a trek into the desert to consult the oracle at Siwa, the figure arose of a Libyan Sibyl.
Zeus and foreign gods: Zeus was equivalent to the Roman god Jupiter and associated in the syncretic classical imagination with various other deities, such as the Egyptian Ammon and the Etruscan Tinia. He (along with Dionysus) absorbed the role of the chief Phrygian god Sabazios in the syncretic deity known in Rome as Sabazius.
Hercules is the Roman name for the mythical Greek demigod Heracles, son of Jupiter (the Roman equivalent of Zeus), and the mortal Alcmena. Early Roman sources suggest that the imported Greek hero supplanted a mythic Italic shepherd called “Recaranus” or “Garanus”, famous for his strength, who dedicated the Ara Maxima that became associated with the earliest Roman cult of Hercules.
While adopting much of the Greek Heracles’ iconography and mythology as his own, Hercules adopted a number of myths and characteristics that were distinctly Roman. With the spread of Roman hegemony, Hercules was worshiped locally from Spain through Gaul.
Hercules’s Latin name is not directly borrowed from Greek Heracles but is a modification of the Etruscan name Hercle, which derives from the Greek name via syncope Heracles translates to “The Glory of Hera”. An oath invoking Hercules (Hercle! or Mehercle!) was a common interjection in Classical Latin.
Marcus Antonius identified himself with Hercules, and even invented a son of Hercules, called Anton, from whom Antonius claimed descent. In response, his enemy Octavianus identified with Apollo. Some early emperors took up the attributes of Hercules (e.g. Traianus)
Later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, went further and often identified or compared themselves with him and supported his cult; Maximianus styled himself “Herculius”. The cult of Hercules spread through the Roman world. In their gardens, wealthy Romans would often build altars to Hercules, who was regarded as the benefactor of mankind.
In Roman Egypt, what is believed to be the remains of a Temple of Hercules are found in the Bahariya Oasis.
In Aeneid, Vergilius relates a myth about Hercules’ defeating the monstrous Cacus, who lived in a cave under the Palatine Hill (one of the eventual Seven Hills of Rome). Also referred to as Palaestina, the Romans adopted the myths of Heracles including his twelve labors, essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking Hercules with the geography of the Western Mediterranean.