Dionysus (/daɪ.əˈnaɪsəs/; Greek: Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.
He is also known as Bacchus (/ˈbækəs/ or /ˈbɑːkəs/; Greek: Βάκχος, Bákkhos), the name adopted by the Romans; the frenzy he induces is bakkheia. Another name used by the Romans is Liber meaning "free", due to his association with wine and the Bacchanalia and other rites, and the freedom associated with it. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios ("the liberator"), his wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are believed to become possessed and empowered by the god himself.
In his religion, identical with or closely related to Orphism, Dionysus was believed to have been born from the union of Zeus and Persephone, and to have himself represented a chthonic or underworld aspect of Zeus. Many believed that he had been born twice, having been killed and reborn as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with Iacchus, the son (or, alternately, husband) of Demeter.
In Greek mythology, Persephone (/pərˈsɛfəniː/ pər-SEF-ə-nee; Greek: Περσεφόνη, romanized: Persephónē), also called Kore or Kora (/ˈkɔːriː/ KOR-ee; Greek: Κόρη, romanized: Kórē, lit. 'the maiden'), is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She became the queen of the underworld after her abduction by Hades, the god of the underworld, with the approval of her father, Zeus.The myth of her abduction and return to the surface represents her functions as the embodiment of spring and the personification of vegetation, which sprouts from the earth in spring and disappears into the earth after harvest. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades.
Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries, which promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on ancient agrarian cults of agricultural communities. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion.
Her name has numerous historical variants. These include Persephassa (Περσεφάσσα) and Persephatta (Περσεφάττα). In Latin, her name is rendered Proserpina. She was identified by the Romans as the Italic goddess Libera, who was conflated with Prosperina. Myths similar to Persephone's descent and return to earth also appear in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres (/ˈsɪəriːz/ SEER-eez, Latin: [ˈkɛreːs]) was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres' games). She was also honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.
Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter (/dɪˈmiːtər/; Attic: Δημήτηρ Dēmḗtēr [dɛːmɛ́ːtɛːr]; Doric: Δαμάτηρ Dāmā́tēr) is the Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over grains and the fertility of the earth. She was also called Deo (Δηώ).. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), "she of the Grain", as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; φόρος, phoros: bringer, bearer), "giver of customs" and/or "legislator", in association with the secret female-only festival called the Thesmophoria.
Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a religious tradition that predated the Olympian pantheon, and which may have its roots in the Mycenaean period c. 1400–1200 BC. Demeter was often considered to be the same figure as the Anatolian goddess Cybele, and she was identified with the Roman goddess Ceres.
In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupīdō [kʊˈpiːdoː], meaning "passionate desire") is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the god of war Mars. He is also known in Latin as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Eros. Although Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion. He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons, he experiences the ordeal of love. Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as "Love conquers all" and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid. His powers are similar, though not identical, to Kamadeva the Hindu god of human love.
In art, Cupid often appears in multiples as the Amores, or amorini in the later terminology of art history, the equivalent of the Greek erotes. Cupids are a frequent motif of both Roman art and later Western art of the classical tradition. In the 15th century, the iconography of Cupid starts to become indistinguishable from the putto.
Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
Jupiter (Latin: Iūpiter [ˈjuːpɪtɛr] or Iuppiter [ˈjʊpːɪtɛr], from Proto-Italic *djous "day, sky" + *patēr "father", thus "sky father"), also known as Jove (gen. Iovis [ˈjɔwɪs]), is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice.
Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army (see Aquila). The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins. As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. In the Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.
The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Dīs Pater, the Roman equivalents of Poseidon and Hades respectively. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.
Vulcan (Latin: Volcānus [wɔɫˈkaːnʊs] or Vulcānus [wʊɫˈkaːnʊs]) is the god of fire including the fire of volcanoes, deserts, metalworking and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. He is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.
Vulcan belongs to the most ancient stage of Roman religion: Varro, the ancient Roman scholar and writer, citing the Annales Maximi, records that king Titus Tatius dedicated altars to a series of deities including Vulcan.
Diana is a goddess in Roman and Hellenistic religion, primarily considered a patroness of the countryside, hunters, crossroads, and the Moon. She is equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, and absorbed much of Artemis' mythology early in Roman history, including a birth on the island of Delos to parents Jupiter and Latona, and a twin brother, Apollo, though she had an independent origin in Italy.
Diana is considered a virgin goddess and protector of childbirth. Historically, Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Diana is revered in modern neopagan religions including Roman neopaganism, Stregheria, and Wicca. From the medieval to the modern period, as folklore attached to her developed and was eventually adapted into neopagan religions, the mythology surrounding Diana grew to include a consort (Lucifer) and daughter (Aradia), figures sometimes recognized by modern traditions. In the ancient, medieval, and modern periods, Diana has been considered a triple deity, merged with a goddess of the moon (Luna/Selene) and the underworld (usually Hecate).
Artemis (/ˈɑːrtɪmɪs/; Greek: Ἄρτεμις Artemis, Attic Greek: [ár.te.mis]) is the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, and chastity. The goddess Diana is her Roman equivalent.
Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the patron and protector of young girls, and was believed to bring disease upon women and relieve them of it. Artemis was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery along with Eileithyia. Much like Athena and Hestia, Artemis preferred to remain a maiden and is sworn never to marry.
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, and her temple at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis' symbols included a bow and arrow, a quiver, and hunting knives, and the deer and the cypress were sacred to her. Diana, her Roman equivalent, was especially worshipped on the Aventine Hill in Rome, near Lake Nemi in the Alban Hills, and in Campania.
Mercury (/ˈmɜːrkjʊri/; Latin: Mercurius [mɛrˈkʊrijʊs] (About this soundlisten)) is a major god in Roman religion and mythology, being one of the 12 Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld.
In Roman mythology, he was considered to be either the son of Maia, one of the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, and Jupiter, or of Caelus and Dies. In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms; both gods share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand. Similar to his Greek equivalent Hermes, he was awarded a magic wand by Apollo, which later turned into the caduceus, the staff with intertwined snakes.