Who was Jupiter – Roman Mythology

Ancient Romans believed in many gods. One of the most popular Gods in Roman mythology was Jupiter who was considered as the King of the sky and thunder but is more importantly known as the King of Gods.

In Ancient Roman myth, Jupiter is the son of Saturn and has two brothers as well as three sisters. When his father died, it was believed that Neptune, Pluto, and Jupiter divided the world between themselves.

Neptune and Pluto took the sea and the underworld respectively while Jupiter ruled all the heavens.

Often times, Jupiter is portrayed by the Romans as someone with a long and white beard that carries an eagle atop of his scepter.

Like most Gods, Jupiter is also equipped with a wide range of epithets. Among the most popular roles of Jupiter was being the God of light as well as the protector during defeat and the giver of victory.

Likewise, he was also known as Jupiter Imperator or the supreme general, Jupiter Triumphator or the king of victory, and Jupiter Invictus or the unconquered.

Jupiter was worshipped by Romans on the summits of hills across Italy. In addition, the Romans also built a temple in the Capitoline Hill in honor of Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Minerva.

Jupiter along with Juno and Minerva were considered as the oldest Gods in Roman mythology and the protectors of Rome.

Several scholars believe that the Romans adopted Jupiter from the Greek god Zeus but they changed some of its stories.

While Zeus was primarily controlled in part by the Fates and often times mingled with mortals here on Earth, Jupiter rarely left the heavens and had complete control of the world.

As a matter of fact, it was once believed that Jupiter was in charge of cosmic justice.

Interestingly enough, Ancient Romans typically swore to Jove in their courts of law which gave birth to the common expression “By Jove” that is used by many people today.

Facts about Jupiter

  • The Roman calendar had more holidays dedicated to Jupiter than anyone else.
  • Another common epithet of Jupiter was Jupiter Fulgur. As Jupiter Fulgur, all places that were hit by lightning became his property. His properties were protected from abusive people by a well-built circular wall.
  • As Jupiter Elicius, meanwhile, he was appeased with a unique ritual to send rain in the time of scarcity and famine.
  • Just like God in the Old Testament, Jupiter could create fear in his followers. In fact, he often instilled fear in Roman people with the use of lightning bolts.
  • Jupiter’s presence was needed in times of war to help soldiers win the battle and during peace to keep everything in order and supply welfare.
  • The planet Jupiter was named after the Roman god Jupiter after ancient people from Rome spotted the heavenly body in the night sky.
  • The religious aspects of Jupiter started to evaporate as the old religions did following the Imperial Cult and the establishment of Christianity in Rome.
  • Roman priests used flint stones and pebbles in symbolic ceremonies and worship that are related to Jupiter.

What Did you Learn?

  • Who is the Greek equivalent of Jupiter?
    Zeus is the Greek equivalent of Jupiter. It is believed that the iconography of Zeus was adopted under the name Iuppiter.
  • What is the oldest temple of Jupiter?
    The oldest temple dedicated to Jupiter was built in the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
  • What are the most popular sacrifices made for Jupiter?
    In ancient times, Romans often offered a white ox as a sacrifice made for Jupiter.
  • What is the most important epithet of Jupiter?
    Jupiter’s most important title was Jupiter Optimus Maximus which simply indicates the best and the greatest God.