Greek and Roman Mythology
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A lot can be said about both the ancient Greek and Roman cultures and they have brought countless concepts and works of art to the world. But when you start examining the Greek and Roman religions, and compare their pantheon of gods and goddesses, you pretty much have to give all the credit to the Greeks. They came up with the religion, and later the Romans simply took it and renamed most of the gods and even some of the major heroes.
Greeks and Romans used their ancient religion to explain how and why things happened in the world. They formulated myths to explain everything from the changing seasons to why spiders exist.

Quiz Time!

Below is a description of ten of the most important gods in the ancient Greek and Roman religions. At the end of each I'll ask you to click on either the Greek or Roman name for the god described. See how well you do.

If you're having some trouble click here for a juicy clue, but try without a clue first.


This guy is the king, the King of the Gods that is. After overthrowing his father, and freeing his brothers and sisters from Dad's belly (don't ask) He became the ruler of the gods by unanimous vote. He is the sky and rain god and a thunderbolt is his weapon of choice when dispensing justice. He's also quite fond of the ladies, so myths are filled with is illegitimate children.
Greek Name: Jupiter or Zeus

King of the Gods
She is the goddess of marriage. So it's ironic that she was married to her brother, Zeus/Jupiter, who was always cheating on her. She doesn't take it in good humor though. Almost every myth featuring one of her husband's affairs also features this goddess getting her cruel revenge on him, his conquest, or both. Roman Name: Hera or Juno

This beautiful goddess is in charge of love and desire. Though she seemed to originally be a symbol for romantic love, most stories in which she's a part concerns lust instead. She was said to have been born from the severed genitals of an older god. There's nothing romantic about that. Greek Name: Aphrodite or Venus

Lord of the Sea The god of the sea is not one to be trifled with. His wrath is said to cause earthquakes and the only god powerful enough to face him is his brother Zeus/Jupiter. He carries around a trident, which looks a lot like a pitchfork, and isn't afraid to use it. Roman Name: Neptune or Poseidon
The huntress of the gods holds all animals sacred, especially deer. One odd note about this goddess is that she presides over childbirth, yet is herself a virgin and the goddess of chastity. She is often associated with the moon. Greek Name: Diana or Artemis

OK, guys here's one you can't miss. Say hello to the guy who pulls the sun across the sky every day. This god of music and truth plays a golden lyre and can't tell a lie. Who knew? He's also the god of medicine and also has an oracle at Delphi that Greeks loved to travel to in order to hear the future. Roman Name: Apollo or Apollo

This goddess of wisdom was born, fully grown and in armor, from Zeus/Jupiter's head. She is also the goddess of war, in a strategic sense. She's the goddess of invention too and invented the chariot, trumpet, the plow and the ship. She was an overachiever to be sure. Greek Name: Minerva or Athena Goddess of Wisdom and Stratagy
This god got the short end of the stick. His two brothers are the king of the gods and the god of the sea. Meanwhile, this guy got stuck ruling over the underworld. He is mainly pretty concerned with increasing the number of his subjects in the land of the dead. Roman Name: Pluto or Hades

No one really likes the god of war. Unlike Athena/Minerva, the kind of war we're talking about here is more just killing and bloodlust. Ironically, he's also a bit of a coward and prefers to run if he finds himself in an unfavorable situation. Greek Name: Mars or Ares

We end up with the messenger god. It sounds like a second-rate job, but remember that in ancient times there were no telephones or e-mail. He sports some stylish winged sandals and hat and is by far the fastest of the gods. He also presides over thieves and commerce. When someone dies, it's this guy who will escort you down into the underworld. Roman Name: Mercury or Hermes


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