With being in an advanced latin class and having classical studies courses, one learns that there are many similarities with the Greeks and the Romans. After talking with our professor I learned that when the Romans would conquer an area, instead of forcing their beliefs on others, they would adapt that culture to fit the Roman belief. They would adapt art, government, myths, and much more.
With this in mind I started to think, did they completely change their beliefs and take on the Greek’s culture, or were there some differences? Now this topic is large, so I started to think about their mythological views, and manly their gods. Who better then the father of gods, Zeus and Jupiter. What sets Jupiter and Zeus apart? What were the known for?
With a topic like this it’s not hard to find information, the problem is finding good information. I started on dogpile.com looking for “Greek and Roman gods”. In that search I kept finding tables comparing the two region’s gods. This table was handy. I was able to look at both the Greek and the Roman gods and see who they were compared to. This table even showed what the role of the god played in the culture. However this was not what I was looking for.
I decided to narrow my search, looking for comparing Zeus and Jupiter. This started giving me good information, but now I had to find something creditable. On the second page I found a source called Difference between Zeus and Jupiter, Zeus vs. Jupiter, the fifth one down. After going to the about page, looking at who is in charge and who writes it, and checking the code on validator.w3c I decided that this would be a good site.
In the opening they brought up the same question I had. People treat Jupiter and Zeus the same, but it turns out they are very different when you look at them.
How they came to power
- Zeus’ father, Cronus, had a habit of swallowing his children. Zeus’ mother, Rhea, saved Zeus by giving s rock wrapped in a blanket to swallow. After he grew up Zeus had his father cough up his siblings and then killed him.
- When Jupiter’s father, Saturn, died he and his brothers shared the world. Jupiter got the heavens, Neptune got the sea, and Pluto got the underworld
The role they played
- Zeus was the god or gods. Everyone obeyed him. All the gods thought of him a the father of gods. His weapon of choice was lightning and spiritual animal was an eagle.
- Jupiter was seen as the king of gods, but he was also seen as the god of weather, used lightning bolts as his weapons, and had the spiritual animal of an eagle. He gave power to the Romans over all other beings and the Empire’s rulers would take an oath in his name before taking power.
I am not denying that Zeus and Jupiter are not similar in many ways. I am also not saying that the Romans did not take their gods from Greek mythology. But these are interesting things to consider. The Romans allowing their culture to be shaped by the people they conquer could be the reason they were able to stay in power for so long. It also makes you think if there were any other big powers that did this and do we do this today or do we force our opinions on others?