Battle for the Republic
Jupiter is the king of the Roman Pantheon and the god of sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Hellenic (Greek) pantheon. As sky god, Jupiter is the first rest as a divine witness to oaths and his wrath may descend upon those who break their word. He is also the god of augury and signs, and his sacred animal, the eagle, holds precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices (the eagle also features prominently in the crests of Roman Consuls and Legions). As king of the gods, Jupiter is often called upon to favor Rome’s agricultural economy, social organisation and success in war, although other deities of the pantheon are also worshipped for favor in these realms. He helps make armies stand firm and grant victory to the faithful. Jupiter is both sister and husband to Juno, and the brother of Neptune and Pluto. The three brothers each preside over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, sea, and the underworld. He is the father of Mars, Vulcan, and Minerva.
Juno is the protector and special counselor of the Roman state and protector of the women of Rome. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan, and Minerva. Her Hellenic (Greek) equivalent is Hera. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire she was called Regina (“queen”) and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome. Juno’s own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared sitting pictured with a peacock, armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, whose goatskin was called the ‘aegis’.
Pluto is the ruler of the underworld, Hades. He received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Jupiter ruling the heavens and Neptune the waters and the sea. He is considered the shepherd of souls after death, as they dwell in Hades. He is also the god of mineral wealth and miners. He is often depicted carrying a staff or a twin-tipped spear, and is associated with Cerberus, the three headed hound that guards the gates of Hades to prevent those who have crossed the River Styx after death from escaping back to the land of the living.
Neptune is god of water and the sea. He is the counterpart of the Hellenic Greek god Poseidon.
Like Poseidon, Neptune is worshipped by the Romans also as a god of horses, under the name Neptunus Equester, a patron of horse-racing. He is depicted as wielding a triton and as a master charioteer. He is the brother of Jupiter and Pluto.
Mars is the Roman god of war, a guardian of the Roman people, as well as an agricultural guardian. In the Imperium Romanum, Mars is often considered second in importance only to Jupiter, and he is the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. His festivals are held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which typically begins and ends the season for military campaigning and farming. His Hellenic equivalent is Ares, although Ares is viewed by the Hellenic elves primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, while Mars represents Roman military power as a way to secure peace. As the father or Romulus and Remus (with the human princess Ilia), the founders of Rome, he is often considered the Father of Rome. He is also the consort of Venus.
Venus the goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex, and fertility, although she is also often associated with prosperity and military victory. She plays a key role in many Roman religious festivals. She is the equivalent of the Hellenic goddess Aphrodite. Her consort is Mars.
Vulcan is the god of beneficial and hindering fire, including the fire of volcanoes and the forge and smithy. Vulcan is usually depicted with a blacksmiths hammer. He is worshipped at an annual festival on August 23 known as the Volcanalia. Vulcan is identified with the Hellenic (Greek) god of fire and smithery, Hephaestus.
Saturn presides over agriculture and the harvest time and he is a symbol of peace and prosperity. He is worshiped in a chief temple located near the Imperial Treasury in the Forum Romanum. Saturn is often depicted as holding a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right. Saturn is the father of Jupiter, Juno, Pluto, and Neptune, as well as the virgin goddesses Veritas and Vestas. He is also a god of justice and strength. His Hellenic equivalent was Cronus. The great feast of Saturnalia is held during the winter months each year around the time of the winter solstice. During Saturnalia, roles of master and slave are reversed, moral restrictions loosened, and the rules of etiquette ignored.
Minerva is the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva”, which symbolizes her ties to wisdom. Her Hellenic (Greek) equivalent is Athena.
Apollo, also called Phoebus, is the god of light, the sun, and the moon, as well as prophecy, healing, disease, and music. Along with Minerva, he is associated with magical arts as well. He is generally depicted as a beardless, athletic youth. Apollo is a Hellenistic god adopted into the Roman pantheon, as he had no equivalent in the Roman pantheon.
Ops is a godess of fertility and the earth. She is the wife of Saturn, mother to Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, and Pluto as well as Veritas and Vestas. Her Hellenic equivalent is Rhea.
Veritas is the goddess of truth, a daughter of Saturn and the mother of Virtue. Her image is shown as a young virgin dressed in white. Veritas is also the name given to the Roman virtue of truthfulness, which was considered one of the main virtues any good Roman should possess. In the Hellenic pantheon, Veritas was known as Aletheia.
Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. Vesta’s presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Hellenic (Greek) equivalent is Hestia.
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