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From Greek and Roman Mythology & Heroic Legend, by Professor H. Steuding, Translated from the German and Edited by Lionel D. Barnett. The Temple Primers, London: J. M. Dent; 1901; pp. 117-120.


III.  Iuppiter and Iuno.   § 207.  The mightiest phenomenon that manifests itself in the atmosphere is the storm; hence Iupitter, to whose agency it is ascribed, is regarded like Zeus in Greece as the most potent god, who 118 rules over all else. He carries as his weapon the thunderbolt, and in the earliest times he is himself called Fulgar, the lightning. He gives signs by means of lightnings and birds, to observe and interpret which was the function of the priestly college of Augures; but he sends also the fertilising storm-rain, and in continued drought he is hence called upon as Elicius, the ‘evoker’ of the rain. Thus he becomes the dispenser of fertility and rich plenty, and has as his chief quality liberalitas, generosity. From this point of view he bears the by-name of Liber. To him are held the festivals connected with the culture of the vine, the Vinalia Rustica on the 19th of August, the Meditrinalia on the 11th of October, and the Vinalia of the 23rd of April. Agriculture, cattle-rearing, and the youthful population stand under his protection; a chapel of Iuventas (‘youth’) hence formed part of his temple on the Capitol.

§ 208.  The phenomena of the storm threatening man with destruction were on the other hand ascribed to a god that grew out of Iuppiter, Veiovis or Vediovis, i. e. ‘the evil Iuppiter.’ His sanctuary stood between the two summits of the Capitoline Hill; he himself was represented as youthful, with a bundle of thunderbolts or arrows in his hand.

Summanus, the god of the nightly storms arising sub mane ‘towards morning,’ was similarly evolved out of Iuppiter. It remains questionable whether the old by-name Lucetius, the ‘light’ or ‘glistening one,’ designates Iuppiter as the god of the light of heaven, or whether it is not equally to be referred to the flash of the thunderbolt, or glare of the storm.

§ 209.  As Iuppiter Stator the mighty storm-god becomes a helper in battle, as Victor a dispenser of victory. To Iuppiter Feretrius the victorious general offers in dedication the spolia opima, the panoply of the enemy’s commander whom he has slain with his own hand. His servants were the Fetiales, who with solemn ceremonies demanded satisfaction for outrages, proclaimed wars, and concluded treaties; for his thunderbolt punished the perjured who wronged one of them. For the same reason Iuppiter was generally invoked as god of oaths; 119 Deus Fidius, the god of good faith, was actually designated as the Genius of Iuppiter, and the sanctuary of Fides, ‘Good Faith’ conceived as a goddess, stood from the earliest times immediately by his Capitoline temple. In the latter was the sacred boundary-stone, the symbol of Terminus (‘Boundary’), to characterise Iuppiter as the guardian of bounds and property.

One of the oldest places of his worship was a sacred grove on the summit of the Alban Mount, where formerly the Latin communities under the presidency of Alba Longa had met to worship Iupitter Latiaris, the protector of Latium. The younger Tarquinius built a temple there, as he built that on the Capitol. Here were celebrated the Feriae Latinae with sacrifices and games; and generals to whom the Senate had denied a regular triumph on the Capitol often proceeded to this sanctuary to dedicate their booty.

§ 210.  When Rome however had won predominance in Latium, the temple on the southern height of the Capitol became the most revered place of his worship; for in the same way as Rome herself dictated her laws to the world the Roman Iupitter Capitolinus or Optimus Maximus ruled heaven and earth. He is the proper lord and guardian of the free state; to him therefore the general on his triumphal return pays the due meed of thanks, riding in triumph up to the Capitol with the god’s attributes and robes as his adornment, in order to lay the laurel of victory in the bosom of the god who vouchsafes success, and to dedicate in his temple the most precious part of the booty. In his honour were held the most important games, the Ludi Magni, out of which later grew up the Ludi Romani and Plebei.

§ 211.  On the Capitol were venerated by his side his wife Iuno and his daughter Minerva. In consequence his temple had a triple cella; the central department belonged to Iuppiter himself, that on his left to Iuno, and that on his right to Minerva. The combination of these three deities was indeed quite Greek in origin, but had been adopted in Etruria and thence transplanted towards the end of the royal age to Rome.


The first servant of Iuppiter was the Flamen Dialis, who presented the offering on all the Ides or days of full moon, all of which were sacred to Iuppiter, and in general on the festivals of this god; his wife, the Flaminica, is the priestess of Iuno. Their married life was meant to typify that of the divine pair which they represented.

§ 212.  The worship of Iuno extended from early times over all Italy, especially among the Latins, Oscans, and Umbrians; among the first her name was given to a month, Iunius or Iunonius, on the Calends of which was held in Rome the festival of Iuno Moneta (‘the inspirer of love’ or ‘admonisher’ ?), probably to commemorate her wedding with Iuppiter. This Iuno had an ancient temple on the Capitol; in its precincts were kept the geese which were famous as the saviours of the city. As wife of Iuppiter Rex she is styled Regina, and among the Marsi, as a mere female complement to him, Iovia Regena; her son Mars was born on the 1st of March, on which the women celebrated in her honour the Matronalia or ‘matrons’ feast.’ All Calends, or days of new moon, are sacred to her, perhaps because she was also regarded as a moon-goddess. With this possibly is connected her by-name Lucetia. ‘the glistening one,’ although the kindred name Lucina (‘she who brings to the light’) characterised her as a goddess of delivery. Iuno Lucina, who on works of art often holds in her arms a child in swaddling-clothes, had a grove of hoary antiquity on the Esquiline, but was much worshipped throughout Italy. As goddess of wedlock she is also called Iuno Iuga or Iugalis, ‘the marriage-maker,’ or Pronuba, ‘guide of the bride.’ The by-name of Sospita, especially in use at Lanuvium, characterises her on the other hand as a guardian or saviour in general; in this conception she is armed with shield and spear and wears a goatskin over her head, shoulders, and back. Like Iuppiter Rex, Iuno Regina carries the sceptre as emblem.

Next :
Mythology and Religion of the Romans :

IV.  Deities of Death.

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