Classics 430:
Greek and Roman Mythology
4 March 2002

I.   ROME: introduction and details

1. No Creation Myths
2. Very few "purely" divine myths--main concern is mortal and pseudo historical activity
3. Powell:  Roman myth is propagandistic.  Is it more propagandistic than Greek or modern?
4. Roman myth, as Greek and modern, is a mechanism through which the culture sought to define itself.

II. Foundations

1. The Latini entered the Italic peninsula ca. 1500 BCE; occupied site of ėRomeķ ca 1200
2. Greek deities were anthropomorphic and possessed human characteristics; Roman deities were primarily personifications of various qualities; limited in function.
3. Nuo = "to nod in agreement."  From this we get the words numen and numina to refer to these carefully delineated groups of gods, e.g. Robigo [numen of corn rust]; Quirinus [numen of Roman people]; Ceres [numen of the harvest], Janus [numen of doorways and gates], etc.
4. Sacrificium 'making sacred': economic, legal transfer of something to a numen in hopes of return on investment.
5. 'Do ut Des' ("I give so that you might give") formula: an exchange between men and gods.
6. Basic similarities between Greek and Roman deities:
a. Iupiter (sky, thunder) : Zeus
b. Iuno (moon, family, childbirth etc.) : Hera
c. Ceres (wheat) : Demeter
d. Diana (hunting, women, childbirth) : Artemis
e. Mercury (crossroads, exchanges, commerce) : Hermes
f. Vulcan (volcanic force) : Hephaistos
g. Neptune (water; later, sea) : Poseidon
h. Mars  (war, wolves) : Ares
i. Minerva (handicrafts) : Athena
j. Liber (wine) : Bacchus / Dionysos
k. Venus (water, love, sex, beauty) : Aphrodite
l. Hercules : Herakles (earliest foreign cult received at Rome)
7. Family Gods; Lares (at crossroads) and Penates (at household shrines)
8. State god: Vesta ; Vestal Virgins.