The Roman King of Gods

In ancient Rome, who was the king of the gods?

And the answer: Jupiter.    

Photo credit: Biser Todorov

The main god and goddesses in ancient Roman culture were Jupiter, his wife Juno, and his daughter Minerva. Jupiter was the god of the sky and oversaw all aspects of life. The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek god Zeus.

Although the Romans appropriated many of the Greek deities into Roman equivalents, the origins and story of their mythology has become more unique over time. Jupiter, for one, while identical in many aspects to Greek Zeus, was considered to be the patron deity of the Roman state. Jupiter was responsible for social order in Rome, and the worship of him has had a lasting impact on the Western world. For example, the English adjective "jovial" comes from one of Jupiter's names: Jove. And, of course, Jupiter was adopted as the name for the fifth planet from our sun (though, it's no coincidence that Jupiter's name was given to the largest planet in our solar system).

In Roman mythology, Jupiter usurped the throne of his father, Saturn, heeding a prophecy that one of Saturn's own sons would overthrow him. Much like the tale from Greek mythology, fear of the prophecy led Saturn to consume each of his offspring at the moment of their birth – yet Juno kept Jupiter alive by giving Saturn a stone wrapped in a blanket instead. Once the prophecy was fulfilled, Jupiter took his place on the throne as leader of the cosmos.

Learn more about Roman mythology below.


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