The Roman Empire has left behind a legacy that is not only great, but timeless, with the introduction of the 365 day calendar and the building of major roads to connect different cities and towns. The Romans credited their great achievements to the goodwill of their gods, and goddesses. Worshipping them was a part of everyday life and gifts and offerings were
regularly presented in the temples. As the people loved their gods so their gods loved and blessed the people.
The Romans divided the ruling of the earth into three major parts: the heavens, the seas and the underworld. Each section was governed by one of three brothers:
Jupiter – Both the king of the gods and the god of the skies, Jupiter was the most powerful of the deities. He wielded a thunder bolt, which he used to control the weather as well as indicate his displeasure with god and man alike. As the major god of Law and Order it fell to him to also be the divine witness to man’s oaths.
Neptune – While Jupiter controlled the skies with his thunder bolt, Neptune harnessed the power of the seas with his trident (a three pronged spear). As the patron god of sailors he protected ships during their voyage. Likewise, he was able to bring destruction down through the waves on those that angered him. He was also the god of horses, hurricanes and earthquakes and is often depicted riding a chariot pulled by animals with the heads of horses and the tails of fishes.
Pluto – Along with his wife Persephone, Pluto was given the task of taking care of the Romans that had died.
In ancient Rome there were many of these souls to tend to as their civilisation was well-known for its great army. The legions were supported by the deities associated with war:
Mars – The god of war was also the god of justice and made sure that every man got what he deserved.
Bellona – The goddess of war was rarely seen without her military helmet, her sword, shield and spear. Always prepared for battle, enemies quaked at the sight of her riding down on them in her horse drawn chariot.
In Roman society love always seemed to go hand in hand with war and in this way Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, prosperity, desire and sex had a long-standing relationship with Mars. Their union produced a child by the name of Cupid, who is better known as the god of love. Most often pictured as a cherub, this troublemaker would shoot his arrows at unsuspecting targets making them fall in love so deeply that they were no longer in control of their own desires.
In Rome, all was fair in love and war and with both there are regular celebrations. Bacchus, the god of wine and fertility, facilitated the endless parties that were kept to honour the Roman gods, lovers and warriors alike. The Romans believed that a nation was only as great as the love it had for its gods, and they proved this over and over in the way that they worshipped and respected every one of them.