Dictionary of Gods
- Adonis (Greek)
- A youth who was loved by both Aphrodite and Persephone. He was killed by a wild boar
while hunting. His name, from the Phoenecian adon, meant "lord". Adonis was born from
a myrrh tree. He is related to the seasonal vegetation myth and the Babylonian dying God,
- Apollon, Apollo (Greco-Roman)
- God of the sun, medicine, and prophecy. His symbols were the lyre, the bow, and the laurel. Apollo is the Latin spelling of the God's name. Apollon is the transliteration
of the Greek spelling of his name.
- His epithet, Phoebus, means, "bright" or "shining". In Rome, he displaced any
deities with solar connections. During the Roman empire, his Greek shrine in the city
of Phocis, at Delphi, was consulted by many people, including eminent Romans. The epithet, Pythian Apollo, referred to his oracular spirit speaking through his priestess at Delphi, the Phoebad, or Pythia. Apollo had numerous other oracular shrines in Greece and Rome.
- Another of his titles was Smintheios or Smintheus, meaning "mouse" or "of the mice."
- Apulu (Etruscan)
- A God depicted as a handsome youth, and was often pictured with the Goddess Artini.
His name indicates he was the Etruscan counterpart of the Greek Apollo.
- Bacchus (Roman)
- The God of wine and ecstatic rites. His rites, known as the Bacchanal, were
viewed by some staunch Romans as unbridled debauchery, and the nocturnal worship
was repressed by a
decree by the Roman Senate in 186 bce. Eventually it was accepted as a
respectable mystery religion.
- Bacchantes were women dedicated to his worship.
They dressed in animal skins and roamed the fields and mountains filled with the
God's divine ecstasy.
- Bonus Eventus (Roman)
- A rural God in charge of the "Good Event" of the harvest. Later, he became of God
of luck or success.
- Deus Fidius (Sabine)
- Guardian of hospitality.
- di parentes, divi parentes (Roman)
- "Di" is the plural of the Latin word deus meaning "god," and literally means "gods." The di parentes were
the Roman spirits of dead family members and ancestors. From the name, they may have been venerated as
collectively deified ancestors. The di parentes were honored during the Parentalia, February 13-21.
On February 13, a Vestal Virgin performed the opening public rites for the collective Roman di parentes at
the "tomb of the Vestal Tarpeia." The rest of the festival was for domestic and familial rites. Romans were
expected to give offerings to the deceased at the family tombs. Apparently, the Parentalia was related to an
Etruscan festival of the dead. on the last night of the Parentalia at the Feralia the paterfamilias addressed the
malevolent, destructive aspects of the spirits. It was after the Parentalia on February 22, the Caristia that the
family held a banquet to honor the lar familiaris. The di parentes do not seem to be quite the same thing as the
manes, the lares, or the lemurs. However, sometimes the terms seemed to be used interchangeably. (It is
possible that this entry more correctly belongs on the ABC of Aradia webpage.)
- Dis (Roman)
- God of the underworld. He was sometimes referred to as Dis Pater, Father Dis; however,
Dis Pater was the name the Romans later gave to the Celtic God, Cernunnos.
- Fauns (Roman)
- Male spirits of wild nature frequently depicted with horns and hooves--like goats.
They are covered with body hair.
- Faunus (Roman)
- A rural God, partly human in form. He was the patron of animal husbandry, herding,
hunting, and a guardian of the secrets of nature. He was also worshipped as a
prophetic God. The Luperci, meaning "wolf warder," were his
priests. Clad only in goat skins, the Luperci ran around the Palentine Hill
in Rome at the festival of Lupercalia held on February 14 or 15. It was a fertility
rite, but also intended to
protect domestic animals and new offspring from wolves. Any women who desired to
conceive that year allowed the Luperci to strike their palms with goatskin thongs called
februum. Faunus was later identified with the Greek Pan, God of flocks and pastures.
- Februus (Etruscan Italian)
- God of purification, Februus was possibly related to Dis, the God of the
underworld. He may also be connected with Febris, a Roman Goddess of malaria and
- four winds (Roman)
- The Venti are the four Gods personifying the four winds in Roman mythology. They are: Aquilo/Aquilon or
Septentrio (North wind); Vulturnus (East wind); Auster (South wind); Favonius (West wind). The Venti are
equivalent to the Greek: Boreas (North wind); Eurus (East wind); Notus (South wind); Zephyrus (West wind).
- Janus (Italian)
- Consort of Jana. The God who presided over gates, doors, and passages. He may have
originally been worshipped as a sun God, especially since Jana, his wife, was identified with the moon
Goddess, Diana. As a God of beginnings, Janus did preside over daybreak in his aspect as a
solar God. Janus was often depicted as two-faced, so that he could look both forward and
back. In ceremonial prayers, he was often invoked as "Father" and mentioned first before
the other Gods.
- Jove Pater, Jupiter (Roman)
- The patriarchal "Father of the Gods" and supreme God of the Roman pantheon. Jove was
originally a weather-God. He was also viewed as a beneficent and fair God of justice. He
absorbed some of the mythology of the randy Greek Zeus.
- Liber, Liber Pater (Roman)
- A God of fecundity, he presided over fields. He was worshipped with the Goddess
Ceres, and with the Goddess of wine, Libera. His festival was the Liberalia,
celebrated on March 17. He was often identified with Bacchus.
- Lucetius (Roman)
- A Latin title meaning, "light-bearer," used for Gods in their solar aspect.
Jove was, for example, known as Jupiter Lucetius.
- Mars, Murs, Marmar, Marmor, Marspiter (Roman)
- The parthenogenic son of Juno. The God of war originally had agricultural attributes.
His earliest function was a protector of agriculture and cattle. The wolf, horse, and
woodpecker were sacred to him, as were the oak, laurel, dogwood, fig tree, and beans.
He was called Mars Gardivius from gandiri, meaning, "to grow, to become
big." Marspiter meant Mars Pater, or Father Mars, just as Jupiter meant Jove Pater,
- His protective nature eventually extended to protecting the people of Rome as a
warrior. In the end, his warrior function supplanted his agricultural function.
He was worshiped in a triad with the Gods, Jove and Quirinus. In the Classical era,
his priests, the Salli, carried the sacred shields, the ancilia. Like his
son, Romulus, he was worshiped under the title, Quirinus.
- Mithras (Persian Roman)
- Mithras was the God of heavenly light, the God of truth. Mithras was another foreign
God transported to cosmopolitan, polytheistic, multi-cultural Rome.
- Originally he was Mitra or Mithra, sort of a defender or personification of the
sanctity of contracts and treaties. He was absorbed into monotheistic Zoroastrianism and
became identified as an aspect of the Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, who was the supreme
deity and the God of Truth, Justice, and Light.
- By the time the cult of Mithras reached Rome, it had become an intricate mystery
religion and absorbed many foreign elements, including a strong strain of
astrology. Only men could be votaries in the Roman cult. Mithras became a patron God
of merchants due to his association with contracts. Possibly also because of Mithras' association with
contracts, and thus for a tour of duty for a soldier, Mithraism became a favorite cult
among the Roman troops, who spread it all over the Roman empire.
- In Mithraeums, the God was often depicted slaying a bull, which originally may
have been a reference to an astronomical/astrological event: moving from the Age of
Taurus (the bull) into the Age of Aries (the ram). (An astronomical/astrological
Age is determined by which zodiac sign the sun rises in on the vernal equinox.) In
any case, the image of the bull represents the life force and the earth is made
fertile by its death.
- In Rome, the Mithraic priests, were known as Patres Sacrorum, "Fathers of the
Sacred Mysteries." The worship of Mithras was valued not only for its mystery, but
its ethical system. One of the Roman titles of Mithras was Areimanios. The
sacred Haoma beverage and cakes were offered to him.
- The Roman cult of Mithras was not truly as monotheistic as Zoroastrianism.
Votaries were expected to live an exemplary life and to give worship to Mithras first.
Nevertheless, family deities, household Gods, local divinities, etc., could be worshipped
- Mutunus, Mutinus-Tutinus, Tutinus-Mutinus (Etruscan)
- An ancient phallic God whose cult blended with the Roman cult of Priapus. His
name, Mutunus, was derived from muto, the verile male member.
- Neptunus, Neptune (Roman)
- Orginally a water-God, who also protected against drought. For his festival on
June 23, huts of branches would be built apparently as a protection against the
summer sun. Later, he was God of the sea. He created the horse and thus white waves crashing on the shore were said to be white horses. His consort was Salacia. His Etruscan name was Neptuns.
- Pan (Greek)
- An ancient horned God of fertility. Primarily, he was the protector of flocks and
herdsmen. Pan was a God of all of nature and the wilderness. Hunters were said to appeal to
him to bring them game animals. He was pictured with the lower parts of a goat and the torso,
arms, and head of a man, though crowned with horns. Pan was a lusty, merry God, who
dwelt in Arcadia and delighted in sporting with the nymphs.
- Penates, Dii Penates (Roman)
- Spirits that protected the food storehouses of the home. They were honored on the
hearth along with the Goddess, Vesta. The Penates were said to enjoy, along with
other offerings to them, the aroma of roast meat (nidore).
- Phoebus (Roman)
- Phoebus was a Latin spelling of a title for Apollo. In the 5th century bce, he was adopted by the
Romans as a God of medicine, music, prophecy, and the sun, and said to be the son of
Latona and Jove. The Romans hoped his influence would help the people avert a plague.
His title means the "Bright One" and the healing rays of the sun symbolized his
power as a healing God.
- Plutus, Pluton, Plutos (Greco-Italian)
- An Italian aspect of the Greek Pluto, tacturn lord over the innumerable dead
in the Lower World, which was awarded to him by Zeus, his brother.
- As an Italian underworld deity, Plutus was associated with the Roman Dis.
Nevertheless while Roman altars to Dis were rare, Plutus was apparently somewhat
more revered, particularly in Sicily, where the "Damatres," Ceres and Proserpine
were widely worshipped.
- Plutus was also a god of agricultural abundance. The name, Pluton,
meant "Giver of Wealth." Plutus meant "Wealth." He has been interpreted to
be a god of wealth from both above the earth soil, crops, and under the earth,
gold and precious stones. Interestingly, Plutus or Pluton was likewise said to be
a son of Ceres or her Greek counterpart, Demeter. This son of the grain goddess
was raised by the Roman Goddess Pax, meaning "peace."
- In Rome, Plutus or Plutos was confused with Orcus, who carried the dead to the
underworld. For example, a series of funerary frescoes depicted a woman, the
Vibia, carried off by Plutos and brought before the judgment of the underworld
deities. Three Fata Divina, "faeries of destiny," appeared at the dead
woman's tribunal. A final fresco showed Vibia among the blessed dead at a banquet.
- Priapus, Mutunus, Fecundus (Greco-Roman)
- A phallic God. He presided over procreation and fertility. In particular,
Priapus was associated with gardens and bees. As a guardian deity, Priapus often
carried a pruning knife, but the Priapus of Verona carried a basket full of
phalluses. Statues of the God were usually carved of wood and painted red. His
image was placed in orchards, gardens, and entranceways for protection.
- Pythian Apollo (Greek)
- An epithet of Apollo, relating to his temple at Delphi.
- Romulus (Roman)
- Twin brother of Remus and son of Mars and Silva. He and his brother were suckled
and raised by the she-wolf, Lupa. Romulus was credited as the founder of Rome. He
accidentally slew his brother Remus in a quarrel. According to legend, he became the
first king of Rome. Romulus was worshipped under the name of Quirinus after his death.
- There was an alternate versions describing the birth of Romulus and Remus cited
by Plutarch. Written in the Etruscan language, Promethea's history of Italy stated
that a mystical phallus had appeared in the chimney of the king of Albe. The king
ordered his daughter to couple with this phallus. His daughter, however, sent her
servant-girl in her stead. The servant bore twin sons, later known as Romulus and
Remus, who were abandoned in the forest and suckled by a wolf.
- Sator (Roman)
- A deity that presided over sowing.
- Saturn, Saturnus (Roman)
- An agricultural God, depicted with a sythe. The celebration of his festival, the
Saturnalia, December 17-23, involved feasting and much merriment, including decorating
with evergreens and gift-giving. During the Saturnalia, slaves were allowed great
liberties in honor of Saturn's Golden Age, and the pater familius or male
head of the household served his slaves meals at the family table.
- Simply due to Saturnalia's proximity on the calendar to the Mithraic festival of the
Natilus Sol Invictus, "Birthday of the Invincible Sun," December 25, seemed to link the two
holidays in the mind of the general Roman populace. Both holidays were linked to the winter
- It is a telling fact that the people of Rome became the first to officially celebrate the
nativity of Christ in 337 c.e. on the very same date as the Mithraic festival, and
that the new celebration incorporated several aspects of the Saturnalia as well.
- Semo Sancus (Latin)
- God of oaths.
- Sentinus (Roman)
- The God who presided over the intellectual stimulation of children.
- See Apollon, Apollo. See Smintheus.
- Smintheus (Greek Latin spelling)
- Robert Graves, in 1955, 1969 (p. 56) wrote: "One component
in Apollo's godhead seems to have been an oracular mouse--Apollo Smintheus ('mouse
Apollo') is among his earliest titles..." Indeed, white mice were sacred to Apollo and
supposedly they whispered secrets gathered from the earth in his ear.
- Smintheus is a surname of Apollo, which is derived by some
from sminthos, a mouse. Others claim the name is dervied from the town of Sminthe in Troas The mouse
was regarded by the ancients as inspired by the vapours arising from the earth, and as the symbol of prophetic
power. On some coins, Apollo was represented carrying a mouse in his hands. In the temple of Apollo at
Chryse, there was a statue of the God by Scopas, with a mouse under its foot. Temples of Apollo Sminthens
and festivals (Smintheia) existed in several parts of Greece.
- Somnus (Roman)
- God of sleep and oblivion, he was black, covered with golden stars. He is
associated with poppies and wears them on his head as a crown.
- Sterculinus, Stercutius, Sterculus, Stercutus (Roman)
- Sterculinus was an archaic God presiding over manure spreading. He was at one time honored by
farmers. Manure was an important source of fertilizer for crops in early Italy.
- Summanus, Summano (Roman, Etruscan)
- In Roman mythology, Summanus was the God of nocturnal thunder. Originally he was
Summano, an Etruscan thunder-sky God. A most ancient deity, he particularly presided
over the night sky.
- Sylvanus, Silvanus (Roman)
- A rural God, guardian of woods, forests, and fields. He was also known as
Callirus, meaning "Woodland King." His name is the origin of the word,
- Tinia, Tin, Tina (Etruscan)
- The supreme God of the Etruscan pantheon. He was the male deity of a divine triad,
along with the Goddesses, Uni and Menrva, represented in art. Tinia was often depicted as holding three thunderbolts. Tinia may have been
the same deity as Voltumna. It was at Voltumna's sanctuary near the lake of Bolsena
that apparently the tribes of Etrusca convened to choose a king.
- Usil (Etruscan)
- The deified sun.
- Venti (Roman)
- See four winds (Roman)
- Vejovis, Vedius, Vediovis (Italian)
- A very early name meaning "Little Jove" or "Little Dius." An epithet or aspect
of Jove when he was depicted without thunder. As Vedius or Vediovis, "Little Dius,"
he may be linked to the Indo-Vedic-Hindu, Diaus or Dyaus, as sky
deity known as Dyaus-Pitar ("sky-father"), who is related to Jove Pater.
- Vertumus, Vortumnus (Roman)
- Probably of Etruscan origin, he was variously regarded as God of changes: of the
season, of the manifold productions of the vegetable world, etc. Vertumus,
for whom "the first grape turns blue on its bunch and the ear of corn [grain]
swells with milky juice," (Propertius in Elgies) was honored on August 13
in his temple on the Aventine. His name may have
given the Romans their Latin word, vertere, "to change." He changed
himself into a handsome youth in order to persuade the Goddess Pomona to marry him.
He was associated with Sylvanus.
- Virbius (Roman)
- A mysterious woodland God, worshipped at Nemi with Egeria and Diana. Some
scholars speculate, he
was a primitive God associated with childbirth, as Egeria and Diana were both
invoked as midwives at Nemi. Other sources identify Virbius
with the sun. It was unlawful to touch his image. Late mythology claimed Diana brought
Virbius to Nemi to hide him from the wrath of Neptune. Virbius was said to have
married Egeria, however, it is likely he was originally consort to the Italian Diana.
His priest was the Flamen Virbialis.
- Xudam (Etruscan)
- A god identified with the Roman Mercury.
The list in my "Dictionary of Gods" is even smaller than my "Goddess Dictionary," a fact which
betrays my Wiccan inclinations. Often when we, Wiccans, try to give equal time to the Gods, we
still end up emphasizing the Goddesses. Nevertheless, I have included these Gods because they
provide background relevant to my "Dianic Mythology."
Raymond Buckland, The Witch Book, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wiccan and
Alain Danielou, The Phallus, Sacred Symbol of Male Creative Power, English
Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, 1935.
Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Vols. 1 & 2, 1948.
Judika Illes, The Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons,
Ghosts, Gods and Goddesses, 2009.
New Larouss Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1959, 1968.
Carole Potter, Knock On Wood and Other Superstitions, 1983.
Robert Turcan, The Cults of the Roman Empire, 1992, 1996.
Robert Turcan, The Gods of Ancient Rome, 1998.
Patricia Turner and Charles Russell Courter, Dictionary of Ancient Deities, 2002.
Harry E. Wedeck and Wade Baskin, Dictionary of Pagan Religions, 1971.
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