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Ancient Roman Mythology. By: Kristyn, Misha, and Selina. How did the God’s come to be?. “ In the begining there was a deep nothingness known as Chaos. The out of this dark, empty space, two powerful beings slowly emerged” Gaia (motherly goddes of earth) Tartarus (Ruler of the underground)

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Ancient Roman Mythology

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Ancient Roman Mythology

  • By: Kristyn, Misha, and Selina

How did the God’s come to be?

  • “ In the begining there was a deep nothingness known as Chaos. The out of this dark, empty space, two powerful beings slowly emerged”

    • Gaia (motherly goddes of earth)

    • Tartarus (Ruler of the underground)

    • Eros (god of love) emerged next and created a hunsband for Gaia : Uranus

      • Gaia and Uranus had many children:

        • 12 + 3 Cyclopes, 3 monsters

How did the God’s come to be?

  • Uranus hated the sight of his children

    • Cronus one of the 12 titans overthrew him and beame the new ruler of the earth and sky

    • Cronus married Rhea

      • He had been told that of of his children would kill him so he decided to kill all of his children at birth

      • Rhea asked her mother Gaia for help

      • Gaia took Rhea and to the island of crete where the baby was born

  • Rhea gave Cronus a bundle of rocks which he ate convinced it was his last child, Jupiter.

How did the God’s come to be?

  • Jupiter learned of his father and when old enough decided to take revenge

  • Jupiter posioned him

    • Cronus began to choke then clutched his stomach and roared

      • He vomited up first a massive stone, then the rest of his children

        • Poseidon, Pluto, Juno, Vesta, and ceres (the new gods with zeus as their leader)

  • Jupiter created a kingdom on top of Mount Olympus. The olympians also included gods Apollo, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Diana and Venus

The Gods of Rome

  • Jupiter

    • Master of the gods

    • God of the sky (thunder and lightning)

    • Symbols: Thunderbolt, Eagle, Oak

The Gods of Rome

  • Juno

    • Queen of the Gods

    • Goddess of women and childbirth

    • Symbols: Pomegrante, Peacock

The Gods of Rome

  • Mars

    • God of war

    • Agricultural guardian

    • Second in command to Zeus

    • Symbol:

The Gods of Rome

  • Venus

    • Goddess of love and beauty

    • Mother of Cupid

    • Symbol:

The First Humans

  • Zeus tried to make humans 4 times

    • The Golden Age: Did absolutely nothing, eventually died but spirits live on

    • The Silver age : Men more like animals --> destroyed by Jupiter

    • The Bronze age: Smart but loved fighting. Killed each other off

The First Humans

  • The Heroic Age: SUCESSFUL!

    • Jupiter refused to humans them fire in fear they would become too powerful

      • Prometheus worked on the side of the humans :Fire, Animal Sacrifice

        • He was punished for these deeds with endless tourcher

    • Humans punished with the creation of The Women (Pandora)

Pandora’s Box

  • Jupiter gave pandora a golden box and told her never to open it since she has given everything that she could possibly need

  • Epimetheus was Pandora’s husband and was given the key to the box

  • One night Pandora stole the key and opend the box

    • Out of it came all the things that make people suffer

      • Sickness, hatred, greed, poverty, jealousy, and distrust

    • Pandora did not let hope out, making life bearable for humans

The Ultimate Holiday- New Years!

  • The month of March, named after the Roman God of War, Mars, was filled with festivals, celebrations fasts, and even bloodletting!

  • One of the biggest festivals was THE FESTIVAL OF ANNA PERNNA to celebrate the news years!

    • The festival occurs on the Ides of March.

    • The identity of Anna Pernna is unknown, however many speculate that she is a personification of the new year.

    • The festival includes drunk-ness and sexual and verbal freedoms typical of carnivalesque holidays like Lupercalia.

      • An example is the inversion of gender role

    • The Romans even needed a holiday just to rest from all the activities in march!

The Mundus is Opened: October 5

  • One of three times a year when the Mundus (gate to the underwolrd is opened)

    • The dead may communicate with the living

    • No public business could be preformed,

    • No battle fought

    • No ships set sail

    • No marraiges


  • Roman rituals and festivals are often longer than a single day and could last up to a week.

  • Through out the year Romans dedicated days to honor each god.During festivals slaves were excused from laws and restrictions

Rituals - Lupercalia (February 15)

  • Lupericalia has roots to pre-Roman traditions

  • In Rome the ritual was used to purify the people from curses, bad luck, and infertility

  • The fesival begins with the sacrifice of goats and dogs by two chosen young men.

    • After the sacrifice, the men wipe the blood on their forehead(to symbolize human sacrifice) then wipe themselves clean with wool dipped in milk.

    • The young men dressed themself in the skin of the sacrificed goat and proceeded to run around the city walls striking woman with the thong wolf skin

      • A strike was said to prevent infertility in women

The objective was to secure the fruitfulnes of the land, the increase of the flock and the prosperity of the whole people


  • December 17

    • Like the Christian Christmas it was a serious day in that it honored saturn

    • However also like Christmas, it was filled with celebration that lasted for a week!


  • Every Roman house had a sacred fire.

  • It was believed that the lit fire protected the family and if the fire went out, terrible things could happen to them.

  • Fire had to stay pure; no bad thing could be done in the presence of the sacred fire.

  • Believed it to have the power to bring them good health as well as protection.

  • In return, the Romans made offerings of flowers, wine, victims, and fruit.

Birth (dies lustricus  day of purification)

  • Naming of baby is far more important than birth of baby.

  • Babies were given 3 names:

    • Praenomen: First/Personal name

    • Nomen: Clan of Child’s family

    • Cognomen: Family Branch

      • Ex: Marcus Tullius Cicero


  • Bulla: locket that contained charms to ward off the power of evil.

    • Gold  Wealthy, Leather  Poor

    • Boys: only to remove bulla after receiving a toga.

      • Toga signifies Roman citizenship

    • Girls: only to remove on wedding day.


  • Confarratio: oldest and most sacred form of marriage

    • Divorce was only an option for men incase of infertility or adultery.

    • Man is master of woman

  • Occurred in June-July

  • Sacrifices for gods and wedding feasts

    • Similar to any other festival of ancient roman religion.


  • Once a member of a family died, they became one of the family deities.

  • The family made many offerings to them and asked them for protection.

  • Ancient Roman Law:  if you stepped on a tomb of someone who wasn't in your family you must repent or the dead would haunt you. 

  • A funeral was a requirement, or the spirits ignored and punished families by causing pain and diseases until the funeral was established

What happens when one dies?

  • The soul begins the journey to the rivers styx.

    • There the dead would be met by Charon the ferrymen.

    • When someone died a coin would be placed in their mouth which would then be given to Charon.

    • After crossing the river, the dead passed Cerberus, a three headed dog owned by the god of the underworld,

      • The dog was believed to be a judge of character

        • He would become ferocious to people who had committed wrong doings in their lifetime.

What happens when one dies?

  • The next stage was judgment

    • There were three judges of life

    • Usually, one would be given water from the River Lethe which the Romans believed made a person forget their past life.

      • Souls were then sent to different places based on their good or bad deeds.

        • Elysian Fields. This was a place for warriors and heros.

          • It was generally believed that good Emperors also met their final resting place here.

Resting Places Continued

  • The Plain of Asphodel

    • Good people lived as Shades.

  • Tartarus was reserved for the evil.

    • Punished until one had repaid their debt to society.

    • The Romans did not adhere to the idea of a Hell but this believe correlates with the dogma of Purgatory as adhered to by the Roman Catholic Church.

    • Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld Acted as a reprieve .

    • She would bribe for a specific soul to be sent back across the Styx to life again

    • Reincarnation?

Rituals: Parentalia

  • February 13-21: Romans remember their dead

    • On the 21 of February: Romans visited cemeteries, placed flowers, milk, and wine on graves

    • On the 22 of February: Family Reunions where offerings were made to household deities


  • Mithras was a Persian God from the Zoroastrian pantheon

    • Zoroastrianismis a Persian religion based on the balance of good and evil

    • Mithras was a helper and assistant to the power of good against the power of evil

  • Mithras was born from a rock

    • His main service in the fight against evil was the slay of a bull created by the evil lord.

    • He killed the bull in a cave, and from its blood sprang all life

Mithras in Rome

  • Mithraism came to Rome in the first century BCE and gained a following from:

    • soldiers, public servants and merchants.

  • It peaked in the third century before being supressed along with every other non-christian religion.

  • Little is known about Mithraism and it is considered a Mystery religionin which the meaning of its iconography and rituals was a secrete known only to initates

Mithraism - What we know

  • Member had to go through a seven step initiation

  • Ceremonies and rituals were held in caves similar to the one where Mithras was described killing the bull

  • Mithraism is known almost entirely from physical artifacts and dedicatory inscriptions.

  • It is also mentioned in works by: Pultarch, Porphyry and Origen

  • This religion shows that the Romans interacted and shared with other cultures!

Cave Typically Used for Ceremonies

Mithras Slitting the Cow

Multiple Choice- Question 1

  • All of the following were names of Jupiter’s attempt to make humans EXCEPT

    • The Bronze Age

    • The Golden Age

    • The Glorious Age

    • The Heroic Age

Multiple Choice- Question 2

  • What remained in Pandora’s Box

    • Evil

    • Hope

    • Success

    • Failure

Multiple Choice- Question 3

  • The Festival if Anna Pernna was held on

    • The Ides of December

    • The Ides of February

    • The Ides of March

    • The Ides of June

Multiple Choice- Question 4

  • According to the Romans the soul begins its journey to what river after death?

    • Styx

    • Mars

    • Charon

    • Stones

Multiple Choice- Question 5

  • In the Lupercalia ritual, what two animals are sacrificed?

    • Goat and Pig

    • Wolf and Dog

    • Bird and Cat

    • Goat and Dog

Works Cited

  • Gill, N.S. "Roman Burial Practices."Ancient/Classical History. The New York Times Company, 2011. Web. 18 Sep 2011.

  • Bassette, D. "Religion in Ancient Rome." N.p., 04/19/2000. Web. 18 Sep 2011.

  • O'Connell, Amanda. "Paganism; Past & Present." Ancient Roman Religion. Oracle, Somerset College, 1999. Web. 18 Sep. 2011.

  • Bytes, Bizarre. "A Halloween History."Bizarre Bytes. Bizarre Bytes, 18/10/2010. Web. 18 Sep 2011.

  • Stewart. Roman Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick, 1969. Print.

  • Bingham, Jane. Classical Myth: a Treasury of Greek and Roman Legends, Art, and History. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008. Print.

  • Hunt, Jenni. "Major Holidays of Rome October (Mensis October)." Major Holidays of Rome October. A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 18 Sep. 2011.

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