Roman Gods and Goddesses: Neptune Facts

Here are some facts about Neptune.

  • In Roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea and of fresh water. He was also worshipped as a god of horses.
  • Neptune’s Ancient Greek equivalent was Poseidon.
  • He was the brother of Pluto and Jupiter and the son of Saturn and Rhea.
  • His wife was Amphitrite, a goddess who was the daughter of Doris and Nereus.
  • Neptune features in dozens of paintings and there are many statues and sculptures of him. There are statues of Neptune in cities such as Bologna, Gdansk and Bristol.
  • One of the most famous statues is the Fountain of Neptune in Florence, designed by Ammannati in 1565. Soon after it was built, the city residents started to wash their laundry in the fountain.
  • In 1846 the planet Neptune was discovered and was named after the Roman god. Astronomers thought that its swirling blue clouds of gas looked like stormy seas.
  • Neptune was also the patron of horse racing in the Roman Empire. There was only one temple dedicated to him, built near the Circus Flaminius, one of Rome’s horse racing venues.
  • He is often shown using a trident, a long spear with three prongs. According to Roman myth, Neptune often used his trident to cause earthquakes and to create new lakes and seas.
  • Neptune was one of the 12 Olympian gods. The 12 gods supposedly feasted all day on nectar and ambrosia, and listened to Apollo playing music on his lyre.
  • Neptune’s name may have come from the god Nethuns, an important Etruscan god. The Etruscans thrived in north and central parts of Italy around 800 BC, although not much is known about them.
  • Neptune features in the famous book The Aenid, by Virgil. In the book, he helps the Trojan army after Juno, the queen of the gods, tries to destroy their ships.

What next? Discover more facts about the Romans.

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