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Difference Between Greek Gods and Roman Gods

Greek Gods Vs Roman Gods

Ancient mythologies have often been confused. Most especially between Greek and Roman gods, many still get confused if a particular god belongs to either the Greek or Roman mythology. Nevertheless, there are lots of parallelisms between the two and the difference is most likely because of the dissimilarities between the Greek and Roman cultures.

The Greek culture came first, about a millennium before the Romans. The truth is the Romans just adopted the idea of having gods and goddesses from the Greeks. This was when they managed to capture the Hellenistic regime. But to give them a sense of uniqueness and individuality, they somewhat changed the names of the Greek deities except for the god of music and poetry ‘“ Apollo, whose name is practically the same for both cultures.

There is one clear difference in one deity ‘“ the god of war. Based on the Greeks, this god is named Ares but in Roman myth he is named Mars. Ares was dubbed as purely a god of war by the Greeks while the Romans also acknowledge Mars as a god of fertility and agriculture. With this, Mars is thought to be a kind god that most Romans respected. On the other hand, the Greeks consider Ares as a very strong and fearsome god because of his purely god of war inclination.

The gods and goddesses of the Greek myths are: Zeus, Poseidon, Hestia, Hermes, Hera, Haphaestus, Hades, Dionysus, Demeter, Athena, Artemis, Ares, Apollo and Aphrodite. For their Roman counterparts, they are named as (in corresponding order) Jupiter, Neptune, Vesta, Mercury, Juno, Vulcan, Pluto, Liber, Ceres, Minerva, Diana, Mars, Apollo and Venus.

Obviously, it is clear that the Romans have a special affinity to naming their deities with the stars or planets. It is also clear that Venus and Aphrodite are the same goddesses of love while Minerva and Athena are the goddesses of wisdom. Juno and Hera are the gods’ queens while Jupiter and Zeus are the ultimate rulers of the gods in their corresponding mythologies. The same is true with the same parallelisms between the other deities.

Overall, these deities carried symbolisms to human characteristics. The difference in each culture’s mythology is practically on how the people interpret them and how they picture their lives. In summary:
1. There’s a difference between the two mythologies’ god of war wherein Ares (Greek) is only regarded as a god of war whereas Mars (the Roman counterpart) is also perceived as god of fertility and agriculture other than being a god of war.
2. Many of the Roman deities were named after the stars or planets unlike the Greek deities.
3. In historical literature, the Greek gods came into existence first than the Roman gods.


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3 Comments

  1. This is a good article, but I felt it was important to mention that the Romans did NOT name their gods and goddesses after stars and planets. The stars and planets were named after these gods were in existence in HONOR of the Roman gods and goddesses. Very different ideas.

  2. I agree with Liz.
    the Romans never named their deities after the celestial bodies.
    it was the other way around.

  3. “Liz” commented on this article: “This is a good article, but I felt it was important to mention that the Romans did NOT name their gods and goddesses after stars and planets. The stars and planets were named after these gods were in existence in HONOR of the Roman gods and goddesses. Very different ideas.”

    Liz is correct!

    The Babylonian culture came first, before the
    Greeks and the Greeks absorbed Mesopotamian astronomy into their culture. See *Writing Science Before The Greeks: A Naturalistic Analysis Of The Babylonian Astronomical Treatise (Culture And History Of The Ancient Near East)* http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12395138-writing-science-before-the-greeks
    by Rita Watson, Wayne Horowitz. The practice of astronomy and astrology began in Mesopotamia.

    The Greeks eventually accepted the Babylonian cosmology that there were “seven celestial bodies,” Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which the Babylonians identified with the seven Great Gods. [These same "seven celestial bodies" are all heavenly objects which can be seen with the human naked eye, that is without use of a telescope.]

    These seven Babylonian Great Gods, Sin, Nebo, Ishtar, Shammas, Nergal, Marduk, and Ninib, ruled over the “seven celestial bodies.”

    The Romans, in turn, adopted Babylonian cosmology from the Greeks.

    In Roman tradition, the rulers of the “seven celestial bodies” were Luna, Mercury, Apollo/Helius (Sol), Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Thus, the Romans renamed the “seven celestial bodies” with the Latin names of Roman deities: Luna, Mercury, Sol, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.

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