Roman Gods vs Greek Gods

Dear Sara,

There seem to be a lot of parallels between Greek and Roman gods in mythology. Who borrowed what from whom?

Blessings, Penelope J.

Dear Penelope,

The Romans absorbed a great deal of Greek mythology wholesale and simply renamed a lot of the gods. Since the Romans got more press over time, they also got the planets named after their variants. Thus the largest planet in our solar system is called Jupiter, the Roman name for the king of the gods, rather than Zeus, as the Greeks called him. The little red planet is Mercury, the swift messenger of the gods, rather than Hermes. Mars is given the Roman name for the god of war, rather than the Greek Ares. Venus is named for the Roman goddess of love instead of the Greek Aphrodite; Neptune is for the Roman god of the sea rather than the Greek Poseidon; Saturn is for the Roman god of the harvest, father of Jupiter, rather than the Greek Titan Cronus, father of Zeus. The recently-demoted Pluto is for the Roman lord of the underworld, rather than the Greek Hades. Of Roman deities with planets named for them, only Uranus (lord of the sky before Jupiter) retains his Greek moniker. Apollo, the sun god who doesn’t have a planet named after him, is the same in both pantheons. Other Greek/Roman theistic pairings include queen of the gods Hera (Greek)/Juno (Roman), smith of the gods Hephaestus (Greek)/Vulcan (Roman), goddess of the hunt and Artemis (Greek)/Diana (Roman) and goddess of wisdom Athena (Greek)/Minerva (Roman).

-Sara Bellum



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Sara Bellum
The name's Sara Bellum, and I'm the editor-at-large here at BuzzyMag - the hostess with the mostess, if you will. I like to think that my first calling is fighting crime and delivering a heaping dose of sweet, sweet justice to all manner of thugs, miscreants, hoodlums, ruffians, and ne'er-do-wells, but unfortunately, violent vigilantism doesn't exactly pay big bucks these days.  

Times are tough, my friends, and I've got bills to pay, so I decided to put my encyclopedic knowledge of all things sci-fi & fantasy-related to use to help me land a day job. To tell you the truth, it's kind of a nice change of pace. My manicures have been lasting a bit longer lately.