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Geroth
13 Apr 2015, 04:33
When I first started exploring Paganism I went straight to the Greek deities as I am a Hellenophile, I love Greek culture, food, music, art...everything but I've always felt a block when it came to connecting with Greek deities. I could never identify with them and I felt I identified with the Roman gods much more than the Greeks and I am considering exploring Roman paganism.

I would like to ask a few questions to those who/have worked with Roman deities,

Do you think the Roman gods are different to their Greek counterparts in terms of personality? Do they have a different feel to them? Are they rather stern and/or demanding deities?

Thank you :o

thalassa
13 Apr 2015, 10:02
Do you think the Roman gods are different to their Greek counterparts in terms of personality?

Sometimes. It depends on whether or not they were a Roman or Etrucscan deity before the Romans adopted the Greek deity as part of that preexisting deity.



Do they have a different feel to them?

Sometimes. Hera and Juno, for example, I think are very different. But Neptune and Posideon, not so much.



Are they rather stern and/or demanding deities?


IMO, Not really.

monsno_leedra
13 Apr 2015, 11:45
Have to agree with thalassa that a lot depends on whether they were once Etruscan gods / goddesses before being Hellenized or Latinized. While some Roman divinities are strictly Roman / Latin in origin a great many of them got personalities from being conflated with Hellenic divinities or Etruscan divinities. Though also have to admit the Egyptian divinities also play an influencing role upon the Roman State / Empire, especially ones such as Isis. I've always been told and discovered somewhat due to my own research that before being Hellenized the Roman pantheon was rather impersonal and removed.

For me the Roman gods / goddesses have a very different feel to them. The closest I can convey is when I was in Rhodes and Korfu and considered buying a statue of what was supposed to represent Artemis, to whom I am blood sworn to, I heard a voice that said "That is that Roman Diana!" A voice that conveyed an impression of subtle anger and a bit of disgust at being compared or equated to her in imagery. I had the same happen though to a lessor degree between Poseidon and Neptune. I do equate that though to the fact I was a sailor for 23 years and in that regard they are pretty equal. Though it did seem Poseidon was more accepting of Artemis and Hekate being equated to coastal waters than what Neptune presented regarding Hekate (Trivia) and Diana.

I did not find them to be as demanding as the Hellenic gods / goddesses regarding what they expected of their devotee's.

I would say though that a lot depends on which era of the pantheon your dealing with as to how ritualized their worship and realm of influence was. Consider in the Roman period Hekate (Hecate) was given dinners on the 29th of every month. Yet in the Hellenic period it was once or twice a year under the Attic calendar and twice a year at Lagina based upon the Procession of the Key ceremonies.

Geroth
13 Apr 2015, 17:17
Thanks so much! I've often wondered how the Roman gods differed in temperament and personalities from the Greeks. I have heard that some of the Greek deities can be quite "demanding" I wasn't sure if the Romans would be similar. The deities I am interested in mostly are mostly Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Venus, Mars and Diana. I do know Minerva has Etruscan roots, as for the others I don't know.

monsno_leedra
13 Apr 2015, 18:05
Diana is a complicated one to track. Her lore has become so conflated with Artemis (Hellenic) / Artumes (Etruscan) that it's difficult to pick out the earlier Diana. Many times only finding fragments such as at Lake Nemi where in her earlier form she was associated to males and dealt with borders disputes, boundaries and such. Her later form as Diana Nemorensis where she has three unique bodies that make up her appearance. I found that Roman coins are actually a good source of separating the Diana of the Roman republic period from the later influence of Artemis upon the Roman Empire and provincial issues of the later period. For instance she is hardly ever depicted on Republic period coins with a full bow or deer yet very frequently depicted as Diana Luciferia or conflated with aspects of Luna. Most references to a bow are the point aspects that tend to be placed behind her head. Not to say deer are not part of that lore but they don't seem to play a major role on the coins issued during the Republic period or issued in Italy proper during the later Empire period.

Juno has a fairly heavy child birth and moon connection though the coins do not present it very clearly. So you have to dig through other lore and legends to figure it out. Not to knowledgeable beyond that aspect about her. The rest only surface knowledge at best.

Good luck in your search.

habbalah
21 Apr 2015, 19:50
Do you think the Roman gods are different to their Greek counterparts in terms of personality? Do they have a different feel to them? Are they rather stern and/or demanding deities?

Thank you :o

I'm not hugely familiar, but I will say that some gods are vastly different in their Greek counterparts vs Roman. Ares vs Mars is a good example.

Geroth
28 Apr 2015, 21:41
I'm not hugely familiar, but I will say that some gods are vastly different in their Greek counterparts vs Roman. Ares vs Mars is a good example.

I've often heard people say these two gods are vastly different but they've never given an example of how this is the case. Can I ask, how do you see them as different?

Sith
29 Apr 2015, 05:39
I've often heard people say these two gods are vastly different but they've never given an example of how this is the case. Can I ask, how do you see them as different?

For example Mars was not just a god of war like Ares, he also protected soldiers, farmers was the god of destruction and masculinity and held the title of the pater or father of the roman people. Whereas Ares was untamed warfare and his sister Athena represented military strategy and intelligence. Major differences are mostly cultural while the gods were equated to one another they filled different roles within their cultures.

thalassa
29 Apr 2015, 16:22
To put it succinctly--Mars is more like a general, Ares is more like a berserker.

MaskedOne
29 Apr 2015, 16:26
To put it succinctly--Mars is more like a general, Ares is more like a berserker.

Random question, if Mars picks up general traits, does Minerva retain the strategic aspect that Athena has or does that fall by the wayside?

Sith
30 Apr 2015, 21:18
Yes she is has a small portion of her ability is strategy, but for the most part Mars is the sole bringer of war ( see what I did there).

thalassa
01 May 2015, 05:36
(yay! I'm finally @ a computer!!)


Random question, if Mars picks up general traits, does Minerva retain the strategic aspect that Athena has or does that fall by the wayside?

Yes (to both).

So, Menrva/Menrfa (the Etruscan predecessor to Minerva) was a goddess of healing, the arts, learning, and was one of 9 Etruscan deities that could wield thunderbolts. Also, she was winged and generally carried weaponry. Interestingly, in Etruscan mythology, she had a child...when she took on more Athena-like traits, she suddenly wasn't. Even before Menrva became Minerva, there was a lot of Greek influence on the Etruscan goddess. As Minerva takes on more of Athena's traits, she also takes on the task of being a goddess of war. But this aspect of Minerva isn't really the focus of her worship, its more of a *here's one more collateral duty* sort of situation.

Here, I think the change in Mars comes more from the difference between the Romans and Greeks when it comes to Empire and warfare in general...also that (in one set of myths) Mars is the father of Romulus and Remus--the mythic grandpappy of Rome. Additionally, in some myths, he is the child of Jupiter and Juno, and in others, just of Juno (her evening the scales of the Athena-like version of Minerva's birth--elswhere she's the daughter of Uni and Tinia). Mars, as the Roman deity also (sometimes) has other attributes (depending on whether one sees him as a progression of the Etruscan Maris or Laran), but where Minerva's war aspect is overshadowed, Mars's other aspects get overshadowed instead.



As an aside--Roman deities are really complicated...its not as simple as saying they are this or that. 1st because many are adaptions of Etruscan deities, 2nd because of Greek influence, and 3rd because they exported them and merged them with local deities in the places they went to, and brought those carachteristics back with them, 4th because the Romans were huge at creating epithets for deities and then making those aspects their own deities over time, and 5th because the Romans were great for changing their deities over time at a pace exceeded by most other religions. (One of my favorite aspects of Minerva, for example, is Sulis Minerva, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/immig_emig/england/somerset/article_1.shtml) the Celtic-Roman (with Greek and Etruscan roots) Goddess)