Not only does the history or speaks highly of Roman Gods, but also brings forward the canon of Roman Goddesses. The Roman Goddesses are no less powerful and popular than their male counterparts. They are indeed an epitome of female strength. The mythological stories of the deities play a significant role in laying out different religious rituals in Rome. Rome is a home to un-matchable spirituality. We have heard more about the Roman Gods in comparison to the female deities. So now is the time for you to add some information about Roman goddesses in your treasure box of knowledge. Their divine nature, their strength as a lioness, and beauty as a flower will surely leave you mesmerized! Here is the list of top 10 Roman Goddesses.
1. Juno, The Queen of Goddesses
Equated to Hera, the Greek Queen on Goddesses, Juno is considered as the counsellor and protector of the state. Daughter of Saturn, Juno is both the sister and the wife of the King of Gods, Jupiter. She is the mother of the God of War; Mars, and the God of Fire. Also considered as the Goddess of marriage and childbirth, Juno connects to the idea of the vitality of energy, force, and eternal youthfulness. As the patron goddess of the Roman empire, she was named as Regina (“queen”) and, was worshipped as a triad on the Juno Capitolina, along with Jupiter and Minerva, in Rome. Wearing a diadem on her head, Juno appears to be a majestic figure. Moreover, the peacock is her symbol of significance. She is often pictured dressed in a goatskin goat sitting with a peacock.
The traditional aspect gives her a warlike image. Also known as Juno Moneta, she is seen guiding the finances of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, the month of June is named behind the Queens of Goddesses, Juno. Her theology is one of the most complex among the Roman religion. This is the reason why she has many numbers of significant and diverse epithets, names and titles, each representing a different meaning. Some of these are Juno Lucina, Juno Caprotina, Juno Curitis, and Juno Sospita and Lucina.
2. Minerva, The Goddess of Wisdom
Every act you perform possesses wisdom. As a goddess of Wisdom, Minerva is also the goddess of commerce, poetry, handicrafts, and even strategic warfare. Due to her artistic powers, Minerva has been a part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She was mothered by Metis. Jupiter swallowed her, and as a result, she burst from his head, fully armed, having armor all over. Minerva from second BC started to be equated to the Greek Goddess Athena. After impregnating Metis, Jupiter recollected the prophecy of his child overthrowing him. Due to the fear of his unborn child once born would get stronger, he swallowed Metis. Even after the gulping incident, Metis gave birth to Minerva as she constantly pounded and rung within Jupiter giving him a headache. To get rid of the pain, Vulcan split Jupiter’s head with a hammer and, from it emerged Minerva, a whole adult boring weapons, and armor.
Minerva was also known as Minerva Medica meaning, the goddess of medicine and physicians. The coinage of different emperors had her figure on the reverse side of the coin. Her figure was seen holding an owl and a spear.
3. Flora, The Goddess of Flowers and Spring
A Beautiful symbol of flowers and nature, Flora’s association with spring season brought her among a lot of important Roman Goddesses. Not only is she connected with the flowering season but also with the budding youth. Chloris is her Greek counterpart. Flora’s name is derived from a Latin word “flos,” meaning flower. The Romans used to celebrate the renewal of the life cycle, flowers, and drinking. First started in 240 B.C.E, Floralia used to take place on April 28 and May 3. May 23 was host to another festival in her name, i.e., The Rose Festival. The Goddess became a prominent figure among Renaissance humanists. This phase brought her a powerful image which she didn’t enjoy even being in the bygone Roman ages.
4. Vesta, The ‘Virgin’ Goddess of Family, Home, and Hearth
Similar to Hestia of the Greek Pantheon, Vesta was rarely depicted in human form. She was seen as the fire of her temples. Only the priestesses, known as Vestas were allowed in her temple. The myths having Vesta and her Vestas showed the miraculous impregnation of her followers. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, and sister of Jupiter, Neptune, Juno, Pluto, and Ceres. Her worship first begun in Lavinium, which was also the first Trojan settlement.
Furthermore, she was not only the most virgin and clean of all the gods but was addressed as the mother who granted fertility. Despite being away from sexual implications, her identity is considered ambiguous because of her contradictory association with the phallus. Ovid in her characterization said that she is the same as the earth, both having the perennial fire in common.
5. Venus, The Goddess of Love, Desire, Sex, Prosperity
Venus, the one among the central deities of Rome is the mother of Cupid and Aneas. The Romans adopted the mythology and iconography of the Greek equivalent, Aphrodite. Embodying sex, charm, and enticement, Venus has been described as the most original creation in the Roman pantheon. She absorbs the male essence and resulting in the union of two opposite sexes on mutual affection. Her counterparts are known to be Vulcan and Mars. Moreover, she is seen as a watery symbol who maintains the balance of life.
With an utmost importance in Roman Mythology, her followers celebrated many festivals throughout the year. Veneralia celebrated on April 1 was dedicated to Fortuna Virilis; Virile or strong Good Fortune, and Venus Verticordia; goddess as the Changer of Hearts. Next, Vinalia Urbana celebrated on April 23 was a wine festival in devotion to both Venus and Jupiter. Last but not the least was Vinalia Rustica (August 19). It was her oldest festival and a rustic Latin festival of wine, vegetable growth, and fertility.
6. Ceres, The Goddess of Agriculture, and Motherly Relationship
Ceres loved for the service of mankind is equated to the Greek Goddess Demeter. As the goddess of cultivation, she used to teach people the right process of growing themselves as a person. She gave the gift of agriculture to the humankind. The benevolent goddess was the only goddess to be involved in the day to day lives of ordinary man. She was the protector of girlhood, womanhood, and motherhood. She shared a dual relationship with the god of law and order Jupiter. She was both a sister and a wife to him and together they had Proserpine as their daughter. Moreover, she is believed to live her life through her daughter’s life. Ceres was worshipped on the Aventine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of ancient Rome, where her temple stood.
One of the festivals dedicated to the Ceres, the Cerealia, was celebrated on April 19. Another special time of the year for the goddess of agricultural fertility was Ambarvalia, a Roman agricultural fertility rite which took place at the end of May. In fact, she is the only one who is named as a part of the Dii Consentes out of Rome’s many agricultural deities, the Roman equivalent of the Greek’s Twelve Olympians, their leading deities. The rage of Ceres once caused a famine when Pluto had kidnapped her
7. Diana, The Goddess of Hunt and Moon
Her associations with woodland and animals gave her the power to communicate with animals and also control them. She was widely worshipped in ancient Rome and was revered in Stregheria and Roman Neopaganism. She was one among the three maiden goddesses with Minerva and Vesta. Therefore, she was also associated with childbirth and women. She like the other two swore to never get married. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Latona and was born on the island of Delos with her twin brother Apollo. She as a goddess depicts a heavenly world with her sovereignty, impassibility, and supremacy.
The celestial character of the goddess is showcased in her connection with virginity, inaccessibility, light, and her preference for dwelling in sacred woods and high mountains. She is seen wearing a short tunic and hunting boots, carrying a quiver on her shoulder, and accompanied by either hunting dogs or a deer. Moreover, her portrayal shows her embellished with immense beauty and youthfulness. She was a universal deity in Latin, and many sanctuaries were dedicated to her worship by the inhabitants of Latin. King Servius Tullius in his devotion devoted her a shrine in Rome on the Aventine hill. She also has been a subject of visual and dramatic arts.
8. Salacia, The Goddess of Salt Water
The female divinity ruling the world of the ocean, Salacia was the wife of Neptune as indicated by Varro. The god of sea Neptune wanted to marry her, but as she was into someone, she managed to flee from the site when he proposed to her. She went and hid in the Atlantic Ocean to preserve her virginity, with celerity and grace. Neptune then sent one of his dolphins to persuade her to come back and be his queen. Salacia agreed to the marriage proposal, leaving the King of the Depths so happy that he awarded the dolphin a separate place in the heavens, now forming a constellation Delphinus.
Salacia is symbolized as a beautiful nymph wearing a crown of seaweed. She is either seen sitting beside Neptune or seen as driving in a vibrant pearl shell chariot with Neptune that is drawn by sea-horses and dolphins. The Goddess of Salt Water is dressed in regal robes and endures nets in her long hair. She is a personification of calmness. Her name is a derivation from Latin sal, meaning “salt”, denoting the widely open ocean or sea.
9. Luna, The embodiment of Moon
Luna is considered as a female counterpart of Sol, the sun which is also conceived as a god. Luna, along with Proserpina and Hecate is also represented as a facet of the Diva Triformis or the Roman triple goddess. As a piece of Roman Art, she had a crescent and a chariot with two yokes as her attributes. Varro distinguished Luna and Sol from the invisible gods. She was among the deities whom Macrobius propounded as the secret protector of Rome.
During the Imperial cult, both Luna and Sol represent the Roman Rule with an extent of flourishing religion with tranquillity and peace. Selene is her Greek counterpart and myths related to her are drawn from the goddess Luna. The Goddess personifying moon is the protectress of the chariots. Her temple on Aventine hill, built in sixth century BCE was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome during Nero’s reign.
10. Fortune, The Goddess of Fortune
As the personification of luck, she is subjected to bring either of the good or the bad luck. Represented as blind and veiled as the modern lady of justice, she is also the goddess of fate. She was as bountiful as her father Jupiter. As the Goddess of luck, she has been worshipped widely by the Romans.
She is found to be domestic and personal in various contexts. Fortuna was depicted holding a cornucopia, or a horn of plenty, from which all good things flowed in abundance, in one hand. This side represented her ability to bestow prosperity on her devotees. And in the other was a ship’s rudder which indicated towards her power of controlling fates. She could also be seen enthroned, with the same attributes, but with a wheel built into the chair, as a representation of the cycles of the ups and downs of fortune.
Same as the Roman Gods, Romans have goddesses for every possible thing as listed above. With heavenly beauty, these goddesses possess the power to control the happenings around the world. Like a mother, they protect the righteous person and punish the one with wrongdoings. Roman Mythology has been read as complex when it comes to the multi-layered relations among the deities. Despite these complexities, Roman Mythology has been considered to have the greatest pantheon of Gods.