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Mythology and Folklore

Roman Mythology

pax deorum, Greek culture, Ovid, private citizen, religious practices

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>  Myths of the Founding of Rome

>  The Roman Gods

>  How the Romans Worshiped Their Gods

>  Roman Mythology in Literature and Art

Roman Mythology, the religious beliefs and practices of the people of ancient Rome. At first the Romans envisioned their gods more as powers than as persons, and as a result there is little mythology that is purely Roman. According to Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro, only after the Romans came into contact with Greek culture in the 6th century BC did they begin to represent their gods in human form. Over the last three centuries before Christ was born, writers such as Virgil and Ovid grafted the names and functions of Roman gods onto Greek literary and artistic tradition, creating a hybrid Greco-Roman mythology that has inspired poets and painters from antiquity to the present day. Most of what we know about ancient Rome and its mythology comes from the works of ancient Roman writers, from surviving artworks, and from archaeological findings.

The Romans believed that their religious practices maintained the pax deorum—or “peace of the gods”—that ensured the community’s continued prosperity. No private citizen was likely to undertake business of any importance without seeking the favor of the appropriate god, and the Romans held numerous public festivals to honor their gods.


Lansford, Tyler, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Classics Program Director, Seattle Language Academy.

Article key phrases:

pax deorum, Greek culture, Ovid, private citizen, religious practices, human form, Virgil, religious beliefs, antiquity, painters, Romans, poets, present day, Christ, favor, names, peace, centuries, business, gods, powers, result, community, According, persons, practices, contact

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