The Romans habitually adopted different culture, mythology and religions from other cultures and civilisations including Greece and Egypt
The deities of the Romans not adopted from foreign religions were called 'di indigetes'.
The Roman religion placed all their adopted gods in the Roman Pantheon including Mithras, the Persian sun-god and the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris.
The names of their priests included Augurs and Haruspices who sought to discover the will of the gods, according to entrails and the flight of birds.
The Romans looked upon the goddess Vesta as one of the protective deities of the whole of the empire and that the fate and safety of Rome depended upon the preservation of the sacred fire of Vesta which was tended by the Vestal Virgins.
Household divinities and deities were called the Lares and Penates. The Lar Familiaris, or guardian spirit, protected all members of a house, including itís slaves. Figures representing the family were created and taken on journeys way from home along with some ashes taken from the family hearth.
Jupiter was the king of the Roman gods and of the sky and the heavens. Jupiter was the patron god of the state ruling over laws and social order. The largest temple in Rome was dedicated to Jupiter and situated on the Capitoline Hill. He was also referred to as Jove.
Juno was the Queen of the gods and the goddess of the marriage. women and childbirth. She married her brother Jupiter and they had three children: Mars, Juventia and Vulcan. A nymph named Chelone refused to attend their marriage Jupiter condemned her by turning her into a turtle.
Mercury was the messenger of the gods and the patron of of finance, gymnasts, thieves, gamblers, merchants and commerce. A famous temple was erected to Mercury near the Circus Maximus. His name derives from the Latin word 'merx' meaning "merchandise".
Venus was the goddess of love and beauty and had many children by her lovers including Cupid, god of love by Mars, the Roman god of war. The Veneralia was the Ancient Roman festival of Venus Verticordia. Women and men invoked the goddess for her assistance in affairs of the heart, sex, betrothal and marriage.
Mars was the god of war his name of Gradivus was one of the gods by whom a general or soldiers might swear an oath to be valorous in battle. The priests of Mars, the war god, were called the Salii who wore the full war-dress and were was first instituted by Numa Pompilius
Neptune was the name of the god of the sea and the patron god of horse racing, as he was believed to have been the creator of the horse. On some ancient coins and medals he is depicted mounted on the beak of a ship as a clear indication that he presided over the seas.
Cupid was the name of the god of god of erotic love and beauty and was the son of Venus. Anyone hit by one of Cupid's arrow did not die but fell in love. Golden Arrows signified true love and the Lead Arrows represented wanton and sensual passion.
Apollo was the name of the god of the sun, music, healing, archery and prophecyand the twin brother of Diana, the goddess of the moon. The Ludi Apollinares were games held July 6 to 13 for the Roman people in honour of Apollo. Apollo was the patron of the Oracle of Delphi. A terrible serpent called Python guarded the oracle at Delphi and Apollo bravely killed the monster.
Diana was the name of the goddess of the hunt and the moon and the twin sister of Apollo. Diana was especially venerated by young maidens, they sacrificed their hair to her before marrying. Her hunting dogs were a gift from Pan, the god of forest who gave her seven female dogs and six males
Pluto was the god of the Underworld and death. He was the brother of Jupiter, Vesta, Neptune and Ceres. The gods of the Underworld were called the 'di inferi' meaning the infernal gods
Vulcan was the god of fire and metal-working and he was the son of Jupiter and Juno. His festival, the Vulcanalia, was celebrated on August 23. Vulcan created fantastic robotic golden statues that looked like young men and could think and speak and acted as servants and torch bearers
Ceres was the goddess of agriculture. She was the mother of Proserpina (by Jupiter) who was abducted by Pluto and carried off into the Underworld. Her name originates from the Latin word 'Cerealis' meaning "of grain" from which we derive the word 'cereal'. The Cerealia festival was celebrated by women on the 12 April.
Minerva was the name of the goddess of wisdom and was a member of the Capitoline Triad which consisted of three major gods - Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The snake is often depicted at the feet of the goddess as a symbol of the creative power of wisdom
Bacchus was the god of wine, revels and drama. Sacrifices to the god were the goat and the swine because these animals were destructive to the vine. Bacchanalia was the festival to the god was held between March 15 and 16. The Bacchantes was the name given to female followers of the god
Janus was the Roman god of doors, beginnings and endings and he was usually depicted with two faces. The modern word 'janitor' derives from the Latin word 'ianitor' meaning "doorkeeper, porter" and from 'ianua' meaning "door, entrance, gate".
Mithras god of soldiers, light, truth, and honor who often referred to as the soldier's god. A Mithraeum was a place of worship for the followers of the religion of Mithraism.
Hekate was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night and the moon. The blood sacrifices made to Hekate were always black, female animals. Hekate resided in the Underworld where she was the mistress of the Keres, who she directed in the brewing of magic potions.
Aurora was the goddess of the dawn who was believed to renew herself every morning and fly across the sky in her chariot drawn by her two horses announcing the arrival of the sun. Aurora was the sister of Sol, the god of the sun and Luna the goddess of the moon.
Flora was the goddess of flowers, fertility and spring. A festival in her honor called the Floralia was instituted on the occasion of the dedication of the temple to Flora near the Circus Maximus
Fauna was the goddess of animals, wildlife, fertility and spring. She was the consort of the god Faunus (Pan) and the related forest spirits called Fauns or satyrs. Fauna was associated with Bona Dea the goddess of fertility, healing, virginity, and women.
Proserpina was the goddess of the Underworld who as abducted from earth by the Pluto. Her symbols were the bat, the poppy, torch, white rose and the pomegranate
Victoria was the goddess of victory and closely associated with the Roman military. The Emperor Augustus had an altar to the goddess Victoria installed in the senate building with a statue of the winged Victoria, called a victoriola, symbolically standing with one foot on a globe.
Aesculapius was the god of healing and medicine. His temples were inhabited by thousands of non-poisonous snakes (the Aesculapian snakes) believed to bring healing to those who were touched by them. The rooster was sacred to the god and was the bird they sacrificed as his altar.
Trivia was the goddess of crossroads and guardian of roads. An effigy of Trivia was placed on crossroads where votive offerings were left.