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Author Topic: Key differences between Greek and Roman Deities  (Read 26828 times)
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« Reply #15: February 10, 2009, 11:34:18 pm »

Does this kind of explain deities of doorhinges, toilets, children right after birth, children that start walking and so on?
Hinges and toilets, very likely.  Children at different stages, possibly but I don't feel I have the expertise to say either way.

One of the Wikipedia articles I checked when composing my earlier comment (I didn't link because they didn't seem very useful) described early Roman religion/numinosity as "animistic" - equating them seems really imprecise to me (come to think of it, in much the same way that modern archetype-focused soft polytheists who describe themselves as animistic seem to be using the word very imprecisely), but there are similarities, and I think mentioning that could be useful here.

Quote
I think you got what I was trying to express.
Of course I don't think they gathered and said: Ok, now agenda point 2 - let's make a pantheon - oh how about the greek one? - oh good idea!  we just take other names Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
Yeah, I didn't think it was you; just one of those times when certain built-in assumptions in the English language got in the way.  (I'm sure it doesn't help that - as I only just now remembered! - it's not your first language.  But there was nothing faulty in your fluency.)

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« Reply #16: February 11, 2009, 03:50:30 am »

What are the key differences between individual Greek and Roman Gods?

For example, what are the main differences between Hera and Juno, Artemis and Diana, Poseidon and Neptune, etc?

Are there some deities who may be one in the same or are the differences so great that it is unlikely?

Ares and Mars are extremely different. Mars was originally a harvest God; however, when the city of Roman began to grow he was attributed with War and protection, especially when Rome began expanding. Ares on the otherhand was more mindless violence, so much so that the other Greek gods mocked him.

Minerva is more centered around arts/crafts/and wise counsel rather then War, which was occupied (in Rome) entirely by the calm and collected Mars. In Greece, Athena was very much associated with battle because she represented a more calming contrast to the very violent Ares.

In terms of Hera, in mythology she was the second wife of Zeus. Juno was Zeus' first wife, and that was kept in Rome. Jove (Jupiter) only had one wife, Juno. They have the same domains, although they are different figures.  Jove (Jupiter) I think was also more commonly associated with law, or at least attributed to it.  I think in Greece, Zeus was more the 'father God' while in Rome that position belonged to Mars.

Diana in the beginning was purely a Goddess of hunting, and that was really it. Before the influence of the Greek Artemis, Diana was usually always pictured naked, with a bow, and with a Doe. Following the influence of Artemis she wore Greek clothing, and took on the aspects of green hills, and children, etc.

Hermes it seems, had more associations with travelers and thieves than Mercury did. Although both were travel, commerce, and trade, Mercury was also highly regarded for mediation.

(this might be semantics) but, Demeter was grains and fertility. Ceres was "all" growing plants and motherly love.

Bacchus was also known as Liber. He had more agricultural aspects (forming a trinity of Libera (his wife) and Ceres of agriculture). It seems (although, I may be wrong) Dionysus was more about partying and wine, which then came over to Rome and formed a cult (after the agricultural aspects of Bacchus had already been introduced).

Then each also had different Gods.  Such as Janus in Roman mythology, who was God of doorways, entrances, beginnings, and endings.

That's all I really have for now. Oftentimes it is hard to just find information solely about the Roman deities, because people naturally assume they are just Greek.

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« Reply #17: February 11, 2009, 07:21:00 am »

Hermes it seems, had more associations with travelers and thieves than Mercury did. Although both were travel, commerce, and trade, Mercury was also highly regarded for mediation.

I think I remember years ago, someone on this board said something like: "Hermes is a thief while Mercury is more like the thief the feds hire to catch the other thieves."

And I think Hermes may have been associated with diplomacy, which is like mediation.
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« Reply #18: February 11, 2009, 11:49:19 am »

Diana in the beginning was purely a Goddess of hunting, and that was really it. Before the influence of the Greek Artemis, Diana was usually always pictured naked, with a bow, and with a Doe. Following the influence of Artemis she wore Greek clothing, and took on the aspects of green hills, and children, etc.

I'm a bit confused about this doe-thing, because here Artemis is depicted with a stag:




Btw, there are some contemporary depictions of Artemis as nude or semi-nude:


http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blgrk_artemis10.htm

Maybe it got mixed up with Diana then?
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« Reply #19: February 11, 2009, 12:15:07 pm »

I'm a bit confused about this doe-thing, because here Artemis is depicted with a stag:

Well, stags seem to be more associated with Artemis than Diana.  Artemis' chariot was said to be pulled by a team of gold/silver (I've heard both) antlered stags.

And the golden-antlered hind that Herakles was suppose to fetch on one of his Labors was actually one of Artemis' pets.
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« Reply #20: March 05, 2009, 05:36:59 pm »

What are the key differences between individual Greek and Roman Gods?

Good question- most of the differences have already been covered but I thought I'd also add that Venus (pron. wee-noos) was originally seen as a goddess of gardens & plants, before she was conflated with Aphrodite. I think Aphrodite has more of a Near Eastern influence, with similarities to Ishtar, Inanna, Ashtoreth etc.

It's interesting to look to see how many inscriptions are to which gods, how many festivals they had etc.
I tend to think of most of the major Greek & Roman as more or less the same (main exception being Mars/Ares) though this an opinion I tend to keep to myself among Hellenic & Roman recons, as it's rather unpopular. One god that you have to admit is the same is Apollo/Apollon- it's the same name, and while the Romans saw him more as a sun god than did the Greeks, otherwise I'm not aware of any significant differences. The Etruscans had a god called Apul (sp?) They even had a god very similar to Charon, which the Romans didn't have- so I think there was probably some kind of connection or influence between the Etruscans and Greeks. I haven't read/heard any thing about this however.
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« Reply #21: April 13, 2009, 09:56:43 pm »

What are the key differences between individual Greek and Roman Gods?

For example, what are the main differences between Hera and Juno, Artemis and Diana, Poseidon and Neptune, etc?

Are there some deities who may be one in the same or are the differences so great that it is unlikely?

Good question. This is one I've heard a lot by people off of the internet, who might ask me because even though they don't know I'm a polytheist, they know that I'm well versed in Roman history.

The lines between Greek and Roman Gods are very hazy. It should be noted - the Romans, and ultimately many other ancient societies, did not have an exclusive view to worship. Roman Gods were worshipped in the "Roman manner" (except for Saturn, one of the oldest Roman Gods who was worshiped in the "Greek manner"), while other Gods were to be worshipped in their own native rites. The Romans considered themselves to be of the same cultural background as the Greeks (and traced some of their lineage to the Trojans) so they likely considered their Gods to be one and the same.

But they did, to the best of my knowledge, note that the lines between Gods were often hazy, and some cultures might interpret them in different manners. It's important to note this because the difference between Roman and Greek Gods was mainly in the WAY they were worshipped, and not the deities themselves. Remember - most Indo-European cultures have very similar Gods; this was noted by the ancients and should be noted by modern people as well. They were also a great deal more familiar with these Gods than we are, something we have to keep in mind. Smiley

I need to read some more about this - it's been YEARS since I touched "Roman Religion" by John Scheid, but this thread actually encouraged me to check it out again - tomorrow is a reading day! Smiley I'll get back to this thread when I've refreshed my memory.

EDIT: Remember we're talking about the main olympians here. Both Greeks and Romans had thousands of more localized Gods which they worshipped and were assigned a particular place or people.

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« Reply #22: July 01, 2009, 10:46:51 am »

I never explained to myself why I felt 'different' about Diana and Artemis until I begun accepting them as two different entities. I can say that Diana gave a more mathernal, calmer vibe than Artemis to me, if it makes sense to state it like this.

Then there's Diana Lucifera that in Italian Witchcraft is worshipped as a mother goddess beside her broher-lover Sol Invictus, which seems to share all of Apollo's attributes.  I dabbled with this belief system for awhile, but it just wasn't for me...I never could come to understand if I had to consider those two deities as 'Diana and Apollo Undercover' or yet two other deities.   
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« Reply #23: July 01, 2009, 07:12:24 pm »

Are there some deities who may be one in the same or are the differences so great that it is unlikely?

I'm re-reading Cicero On the Nature of the Gods and something in it reminded me of this thread.

I'm finding it quite striking that Cicero (writing in the last century before the Common Era) seems to take for granted that at least some of the deities of the Greek and Roman pantheons were not different beings; just different names.

After all the conversations I've participated in here and elsewhere over the years that have emphasised that they are different entities and that they were originally understood as such by the classical Greeks and Romans. This has left me wondering if it's my translation of Cicero that is amiss, or if it's my ignorance of classical beliefs.

Does anyone else know much about this?
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« Reply #24: July 01, 2009, 09:59:24 pm »

After all the conversations I've participated in here and elsewhere over the years that have emphasised that they are different entities and that they were originally understood as such by the classical Greeks and Romans. This has left me wondering if it's my translation of Cicero that is amiss, or if it's my ignorance of classical beliefs.

This is pretty late in Roman (and very late in Greek) religious history. Beliefs varied with time -- a great deal in some cases. 
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« Reply #25: July 01, 2009, 10:33:43 pm »


Sky Samuelle,

Please remember to use the quote function when replying, even if you are replying to the first post in the thread or to the post directly above yours. 

Thank you,

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« Reply #26: July 02, 2009, 01:33:49 am »

This is pretty late in Roman (and very late in Greek) religious history. Beliefs varied with time -- a great deal in some cases. 

Thanks for that Randall. Are you aware of any primary (or secondary) sources for earlier commentary on the relationship between the two pantheon's from the classical perspective? I really don't know where to start looking and in this case neither Google nor Google Scholar seem to be my friend Sad
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« Reply #27: July 02, 2009, 08:04:53 am »

Thanks for that Randall. Are you aware of any primary (or secondary) sources for earlier commentary on the relationship between the two pantheon's from the classical perspective?

Sadly no. My reading has mainly been related to my own classical-era Hellenic Pagan beliefs, which predate the Roman conquest of Greece.
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« Reply #28: July 08, 2009, 03:00:58 pm »

I never explained to myself why I felt 'different' about Diana and Artemis until I begun accepting them as two different entities. I can say that Diana gave a more mathernal, calmer vibe than Artemis to me, if it makes sense to state it like this.

Then there's Diana Lucifera that in Italian Witchcraft is worshipped as a mother goddess beside her broher-lover Sol Invictus, which seems to share all of Apollo's attributes.  I dabbled with this belief system for awhile, but it just wasn't for me...I never could come to understand if I had to consider those two deities as 'Diana and Apollo Undercover' or yet two other deities.   

That's always been my impression of Diana.  She is more maternal.  I get very frustrated when I am reading scholarly works that interchange the names Diana and Artemis as if they are exactly the same.  I've also had the same problem you mentioned with Italian Witchcraft.  I really like and can relate to certain elements of IW but it confuses me in that sense. 
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« Reply #29: July 11, 2009, 02:29:33 pm »

What are the key differences between individual Greek and Roman Gods?

For example, what are the main differences between Hera and Juno, Artemis and Diana, Poseidon and Neptune, etc?

Are there some deities who may be one in the same or are the differences so great that it is unlikely?

Well, the Roman and Greek deities started out being quite different from each other, and after Rome's conquest of Greece, the Romans identified their gods with the Greek gods and attributed to them the mythology and associations of the corresponding deity. The Romans absolutely DID NOT just decide to whip up a pantheon based on the Greek one. At one time, the religions were completely separate, but over time, more and more Greek influence seeped into Roman religion. T

he Romans had their own religion long before they were influenced by the Greeks. Roman religion was much more animistic than polytheistic, at first. It was not anthropomorphic, and there were spirits/numen for just about everything. There was a numen (plural: numina) for grain fungus, animal droppings, you name it. Juno was originally the spirit that oversaw women and feminine matters. She was associated with Hera through Greek influence, and so she became the queen of the gods and the goddess of women and marriage.

Venus was a goddess of flowers, vegetation, gardens, fertility and water springs. She was associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, sex and love, and so absorbed her associations as a goddess of love. Poseidon is a god of the sea and the underwater domain, while Neptune, in my understanding, was a god of water in general.

Apollo is a Greek god who became worshiped by the Romans under the same name. Hermes was worshiped by the Romans under the name Mercury, but they are of the same origin. Bacchus is a Greek name and is an alternate name for Dionysos, so yes, they are the same. The Roman version of Bacchus/Dionysos is Liber.

Most ancient cultures believed there was one pantheon, and they all worshiped the same gods under different names, so, Jupiter and Zeus were understood to be different cultural understandings of the same underlying divinity, for example. This is why the Romans had no problem associating their gods with Greek gods.
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