Religion: Jupiter “King of the Gods”


Jupiter Religion

JUPITER  “King of the gods”
God of: Sky, Thunder, and the Heavens
Type: Major
Roman Name: Jupiter
Greek Name: Zeus
Other Names: Jove, Jupiter Optimus Maximus (“Jupiter the Best and Greatest”), Father of Olympus, Jupiter Elicius (“Who Brings Forth”), Jupiter Imperator (“Supreme General”), Invictus (“Unconquered”), Triumphator
Festivals: Several festivals honored Jupiter, especially by members of the military and state
Shrine/Temple: Optimus Maximus/Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, Capitoline Hill

Jupiter was the king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion.  Ancient Romans looked to Jupiter for protection.  His mythological powers were thunder and lighting.  According to Ancient Roman mythology, Jupiter also ruled over laws and social order and protected Ancient Romans.

Jupiter was the son of Saturn, the Ancient Roman god of agriculture and harvest, and Ops, a fertility and earth goddess.  Jupiter’s siblings were: Neptune, Pluto, Ceres, Vesta, and Juno.  Jupiter fathered several children which were gods, mortals, and other deities.

Jupiter and his two brothers, Neptune and Pluto, divided the universe so that each of them would have an area to rule over, the land, sky, and underworld.  Jupiter ruled the sky, Neptune ruled the waters, and Pluto ruled the underworld.

Duties, Attributes, and Symbols
Jupiter is known for his long beard and strong physique.  Jupiter was a distinguished god usually shown with his royal scepter.  Jupiter is associated with the thunderbolt which he would to throw at those who angered him, and he was known for his abrupt temper.  He was able to change into any animal or object and make his voice sound like anyone he wished; this is how he fooled many people.  Jupiter was seen as a protector of the Ancient Roman people and of Mount Olympus.  Jupiter helped to keep the balance between the gods and mortals, especially when they would act out or too harshly towards each other.  Jupiter knew that if mortals were not around, he would not have worshipers to praise him.

Jupiter was known to all as a powerful god who struck fear in other gods and mortals.  However, there was one person Jupiter feared; this was his wife Juno, queen of the gods.  Jupiter feared Juno for good reason, it is said that he had many affairs with gods, mortals, and other deities and because of this, Juno’s wrath was relentless.  Juno would punish Jupiter’s lovers greatly if she found out about their adulterous behavior.

Animals and plants sacred to Jupiter are the eagle, mythical winged horse, and sacred oak.

Capitoline Triad
Jupiter was part of the Capitoline Triad.  The Capitoline Triad was a union of three Roman deities.  The three gods that were part of this triune originally consisted of Jupiter god of thunder, Mars god of war, and Quirinus god of war from Sabine origin.  Sabine was an Italic tribe that lived in ancient Italy.

It was believed by Etruscan influence that the Capitoline Triad later became Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno.  Ancient Romans built a great temple, the Capitolium on Capitoline Hill, which honored Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.  It was said to be one of Rome’s most beautiful and largest temples—although little remains of it today.

Festivals and Worship
Several festivals were held in Jupiter’s honor.  These festivals were celebrated mainly by members of the military and state.  The military and state relied heavily on the protection and power of Jupiter for success on the battlegrounds and in state functions.

Fun Facts
There are many significant areas where the Ancient Roman king of the gods, Jupiter, had influence on the old world and in modern times.

The Romans gave the largest planet in the solar system the name Jupiter after the mighty god.

The French call their days of the week after Roman deities.  Jupiter’s day is called Jeudi in French.  Jupiter’s day of the week is Thursday.

Jupiter was also used by the Greeks as their main god known as Zeus.  Zeus/Jupiter was so renowned and celebrated in ancient Roman and Greek society that one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World was built in Olympia (modern Greece) around 433 BC.  Today the ancient wonder no longer stands, but used to overlook the ancient Olympic Games.

Click here to return to Ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses list.

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