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Roman religion

Ancient Roman religion was a combination of several different practices and sets of beliefs.

Originally, the Romans had a peasant religion, in which many gods and goddesses were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the universe. For example, there were different gods for ploughing, for horses, and for cattle. Early in the history of the Roman Republic, foreign gods were imported, especially from Greece, which had a great cultural influence on the Romans after they conquered it. In addition, the Romans connected some of their indigenous deities with Greek gods and goddesses.

Some important ones, with the Greek equivalents in brackets, were Jupiter (= Zeus), Juno (= Hera), Minerva (= Athene), Mars (= Ares), Vesta (= Hestia), Saturn (= Kronos), Vulcan (= Hephaistos), Cupid (= Eros), and Neptune (= Poseidon).

As the Roman Empire expanded, and included people from a variety of cultures, there were more and more gods. The legions brought home cults originating from Egypt, Britain, Iberia, Germany, and Persia. The cults of Cybele and Mithras were particularly important.

Along with this, the ancient Roman beliefs and practices continued, especially in and around Rome itself. This included the worship of the lares and penates (spirits specific to a family, with altars in the home), festivals such as the Lupercalia and Saturnalia, and a complex system of lucky and unlucky days.

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More information about Roman Gods and myths