Roman Gods and Goddesses: Mercury Facts

Here are some facts about Mercury.

  • Mercury was the Roman god of commerce and financial gain and has given his name to the word merchant. He was also the god of poetry, thieving, trickery and travellers.

  • Mercury was the son of Jupiter and Maia. His children were Pan and the Lares, a group of invisible gods who were responsible for protecting homes and families.
  • The temple devoted to Mercury was situated in Rome near the chariot racing stadium. Because the racetrack was a marketplace too, it was considered the ideal place for his temple.
  • The DC Comics super heroes the Flash and Shazam are partly based on Mercury and his powers. Ford’s Mercury car brand, popular in the 1950s, also took its name from the god.
  • Because he was able to travel quickly, he became known as the messenger of the gods. He was also given the task of leading the souls of the dead to the underworld.
  • The planet Mercury, the smallest in our solar system, took its name from the god Mercury. He also gave his name to the element Mercury, often also known as quicksilver.
  • He was known for wearing a winged helmet, allowing him to fly. He also often carried a stick showing entwined snakes, which was supposedly a gift from Apollo.
  • Mercury was also a popular god in countries invaded by the Romans. He was associated with the arts in Britain, and in Celtic countries was thought to be a three headed creature.
  • According to legend, Mercury stole an unbreakable steel net from the god Vulcan. He then used it to try to catch a nymph named Chloris with whom he was in love .
  • Mercury’s festival was known as the Mercuralia and took place on May 15th. To bring good luck, merchants sprinkled water on their heads, their businesses and their belongings.

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Roman Gods and Goddesses: Venus Facts

Here are some facts about Venus.

  • Venus was the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She has become one of the most well-known figures in Roman mythology.

  •  Her father was Jupiter and she was married to the god Vulcan. Vulcan was the god of fire and the forge, and was also one of the 12 Olympian gods.
  • Venus’ sacred month was April and she was honoured in several festivals. Roman men and women would ask for her help and advice concerning love during her April 1st festival.
  • Many paintings and sculptures of Venus were created, especially during the Renaissance. One of the most famous paintings of her is Botticelli’s 15th century painting The Birth of Venus.
  • Another widely recognized image of Venus is the marble statue Venus de Milo. The statue’s arms were lost soon after it was carved, sometime around 130 BC. It is on permanent display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
  • The planet Venus was named after the goddess. It has been sighted since prehistoric times, and is the hottest planet in our solar system, and the planet second closest to the sun.
  • Venus was associated with two flowers, the rose and myrtle. Worshippers often wore myrtle crowns at her festivals, and victorious Roman generals also often wore a myrtle crown.
  • There were several temples devoted to Venus, the earliest of which was built around 290 BC. Hadrian built a temple in Rome in 135 AD, the largest in the city at that time.
  • She was depicted on coins, and decorative frescoes. Many citizens had statues or paintings of her in their garden, as it was believed she could help to make flowers and crops grow.
  • Julius Caesar claimed that Venus helped him to be successful on the battlefield. The emperor Augustus believed that she approved of his powerful position and his ability to rule.

What next? Discover more Roman facts by visiting our Romans resources page.

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.

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Roman Gods and Goddesses: Mars Facts

Here are some facts about Mars.

  • Mars was the Roman God of War and the most important Roman god after Jupiter.

  • The planet Mars, known as the Red Planet, was named after him.
  • He was also one of the most important military gods worshiped by the Roman army.
  • Most festivals honouring Mars were held in March, and the month was named for him.
  • Mars was one of the first gods to appear on Roman coins, in the late 4th century. He is usually shown carrying a helmet and spear to show his war-like nature.
  • The symbol for Mars is a circle with an arrow extending from it, pointing to the upper right. It is also the symbol for the male gender and for the planet Mars.
  • Mars was the son of the goddess Juno, the protector of the state.
  • The wife or companion of Mars was Nerine or Nerio who represented majesty, vitality and power.
  • The priests of the god Mars were called Salil and came from Rome’s noble families. The 12 Salil carried sacred shields between towns, accompanied by men playing trumpets.
  • A fierce goddess named Bellona was said to often accompany Mars, armed with a spear and a whip. A temple was built to her on Rome’s Campus Martius, a popular city meeting place.
  • There were several temples devoted to Mars throughout Rome. The main temple was built in 388 BC and was a popular meeting point for Roman soldiers who were departing throughout the Roman Empire.
  • The Romans held several festivals to honour the god Mars, most of them in March and October. Festivals featured singing hymns, displays of military might, and chariot races.
  • The goose, the woodpecker and the wolf were closely associated with Mars. The appearance of wolves in 295 BC at the battle of Sentium was taken as a sign of a Roman victory.

What next? Learn more about the Romans or discover more facts about Roman Gods and Goddesses.

Jupiter: Facts About the King of the Roman Gods

Here are some facts about the Ancient Roman God, Jupiter.

  • Jupiter is sometimes known as Jove.
  • He is the King of the Gods, God of the Sky and associated with thunderstorms.

  • He wields a thunderbolt and he is often pictured with an eagle at his side.
  • In Roman mythology, Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome and the successor to Romulus, is persuaded by Jupiter to set out the principles of Roman religion.
  • The oak was Jupiter’s sacred tree.
  • The Romans thought of Jupiter as being equivalent to the Zeus, the Ancient Greek God. As a result, Jupiter is often thought of as the son of Saturn, and the brother of Neptune and Pluto.


  • His children include: Mars, Vulcan and Hercules, and Juno is often said to be his wife.
  • White oxen and lambs were often sacrificed in to appease Jupiter.
  • The oldest temple to Jupiter is situated on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
  • Jupiter was considered to be the protector of Rome, and he was associated with oaths and treaties.
  • He was worshipped as Jupiter Optimus-Maximus.