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Hi, I'm Zoya Popova for About.com, and today we're going to talk about Roman gods and goddesses. Roman deities were largely borrowed from the Ancient Greeks.The supreme deity was Jupiter. Just like the Greek god Zeus, Jupiter was the ruler of the sky and the wielder of lightning. Jupiter personified law and authority—for example, Roman consuls swore an oath in his name before taking office. Jupiter's sacred animal was the eagle—also the symbol of the Roman state.Jupiter's wife Juno was the counterpart of the Greek goddess Hera. But while the marriage of Hera and Zeus full of turmoil and power struggle, Juno and Jupiter were a lot closer. In fact, one version of the myth states that they were twins. Juno's status was almost equal to that of Jupiter—just like him, she was seen as a pillar of the Roman state. At the same time, she was the patroness of femininity, marriage, and childbirth.Another strong feminine influence was represented by the goddess Minerva, who was the equivalent of the Greek Athena. Just like Athena, Minerva was born directly to Jupiter, stepping full-grown out of his head. In the most general terms, she was the goddess of wisdom. She was responsible for crafts, poetry, arts, education, and medicine. Although Minerva, like Athena, is depicted wearing military attire, her role as a fierce war goddess was a lot less pronounced.War was the responsibility of Mars, whose Greek counterpart was Ares. Unlike the blood-thirsty Ares, Mars represented military power insomuch as it was needed to secure the safety of Rome. He also had a peaceful side. Mars was conceived solely by Juno after the goddess of spring Flora touched her belly. Mars, therefore, became the patron of agriculture. Another reason the role of Mars was highly important was that he was considered the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.Another goddess worth mentioning is Venus. The counterpart of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, she personified beauty and love. Venus was accompanied by her son Cupid, whose arrows instilled desire in the hearts of his targets. Apart from her love charms, Venus was revered for her close connection to Roman history. Her son Aeneas, who fled from the Greeks after the Trojan War, brought civilization to Italy and started the bloodline that led to Romulus and Remus. This made Venus the divine ancestress of the Roman people.And this is it for us for today. Thank you for watching, and for more information, please visit About.com.
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