Classical Civilisation- Rome

  • State Gods and Goddesses
  • Temples
  • Sacrifice
  • Life at Home
  • Education
  • Colosseum
  • Circus Maximus

Roman Gods/Goddesses


  • King of the gods and god or thunder, lightening & rain
  • Son of Saturn
  • Symbols- eagle (fetch lightning bolts), shield with stormcloud, scepter and breast plate
  • Also known as Jove


  • Helped overthrow saturn- took place as god of the sea
  • God of sea creatures, horses, earthquakes and storms
  • symbol is trident


  • Queen of the Gods
  • Goddess of women, childbirth, marriage and fertility
  • Symbols- crown, peacock and scepter
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  • Virgin goddess- daughter of Juno and Metis
  • Goddess of wisdom, poetry, tactical warfare, weaving, crafts, magic and inventor of music
  • Symbols- owl, helmet, spear, aegis (cloak with snakes around the edge)


  • King of underworld and God of death and the dead
  • Looked over funerals, and made sure everyone had a proper burial
  • God of hidden wealth- gold, silver etc...
  • Son of Saturn and pictured on throne next to his wife with a sceptor decorated with a bird
  • Symbols- cap of invisibility, black chariot and black horses.


  • Virgin goddess of the hearth, home, fire and family
  • Goddess of fertility and peace
  • Symbols- Fire, veils, ovens, baked goods, long dress, head covered and donkey
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  • God of war- son of Jupiter and Juno
  • God of spring, growth, agriculture and fertility- father of Roman people
  • Symbols- full body armour, crested helmet, shield and spear
  • Second in importance to Jupiter- very prominent and much worshipped God


  • Twin of Diana and son of Jupiter
  • God of music, poetry, sun, medicine, knowledge, education and light and healing
  • Symbols- lyre, laurel wreath and a raven
  • Same name in both Roman and Greek mythology


  • Goddess of grain, harvest and motherly love
  • Adopted as a goddess during a terrible famine
  • Symbols- sheaths of wheat, cornucopia, honey, acorns and a torch
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  • Messenger and god of trade, communication and business
  • Worshipped by merchants and travellers
  • Symbols- winged sandals, winged cap and wand with a serpent
  • God of thieves


  • Goddess of love, beauty, fertility, marriage and pro-creation
  • Symbols- girdle, shells, doves, swans, hand mirror and being naked!
  • Myrtle doves, sparrow and horses
  • Roman state descended from her


  • Virgin goddess of the hunt, the moon and protection of young women
  • Twin of Apollo and daughter of Jupiter
  • Symbols- bow & arrow, moon, woodland animals, short tunic
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  • A tempulum was any space marked out as sacred
  • It did not need to be a building, although buildings are common types of tempulums
  • Groves, gardens and places of outstanding beauty were also sometimes Tempulums
  • The buildings were influenced by Greek temple design
  • The base was called the podium
  • There were engaged columns supporting the roof, and freestanding columns near the porch
  • Entrace steps would lead to the porch, which would lead into the cella- the single roon in which a statue of the god stood.
  • The alter was always outside, as sacrifices occured and a significant amount of mess was made.
  • Temples could also be Museums, Art galleries and banks
  • The senate also sometimes met at temples.
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  • Sacrifice was a vital part of Roman religion
  • Sacer is the Latin for something which is divine property
  • Facere is to make, so sacrificium means to make something into divine property
  • Sacrifice was thought to strengthen a person's relationship with the gods and make them feel like they owe that person a favour
  • Ovid tells us " Gifts believe me win over both men and gods.  Giving gifts keeps Jupiter himself content."
  • Sacrefice could therefore be seen as a type of business deal
  • 1- ask a god for help- this is reflected in the Latin formula "do ut des" which means "I give so that you may give"
  • 2- To thank a god for help given- Horace tells us that he offered his clothes in thanks for not drowning at sea in Odes 1:5
  • 3- To simply honour a god in order to keep them on side
  • Cato tells us that he wanted protection in return for the sacrifice of an animal
  • A Piaculum was an offering to restore good relations with a god
  • Safrifices were not always animals- they could be articles of value (art, weapons etc..), statues, food and drink and most importantly mola salsa (salted meal) prepared by the Vestal Virgins
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  • However, the most impressive offering was the life and bood of an animal
  • There were many strict rules for sacrifices-
  • No foreigner was allowed to be present
  • Nobody was allowed to hear the most important parts of the prayers
  • The ceremony had to be perfect in word and action- any mistakes meant that the whole thing had to be restarted
  • A Roman preparing a sacrifice would agree on an appointed time with the priest of the relevent temple
  • On the appointed day, he would buy an animal- it had to be perfect, with no blemish
  • Certain animals would usually be offered to specific gods- eg a heifer offered to Jupiter
  • The sacrificer would wear his best toga, and tie ribbons to the animal.
  • They would lead it through the streets to the temple.  If it refused to walk willingly, or stumbled along the way, it was seen as a bad omen, and a new animal would be found.
  • The ceremony took place outside the temple and was overseen by a priest, who covered his head with the folds of his toga and wash his hands in sacred water before the ceremony
  • The animal's head was sprinkled with wine and mola salsa, the sacred bread while the priest said a prayer.
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  • The animal was then stunned by a hammer blow to the head, delivered by an attendant
  • Next, it's throat was cut with a knife.
  • The animal was then disembowelled and it's innards removed.  A soothsayer would examine the organs
  • If they were discoloured or mishapen, the soothsayer would declare the omens bad
  • A flute player would play throughout, trying to drown out any unwanted noises; even a sneeze could be interpreted as a bad omen.
  • Any problem in the ceremony could be interpreted as a bad omen, and the process would need to be started all over again.
  • If the innards were good, they would be burnt in a fire on the alter as an offering to the god.  The rest of the meat was cooked and shared out to the participants at a feast.
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Christopher Foster


Thanks, this was everything i needed for my exam :)



Love the sacrifice and temple notes - very concise!

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