10. Jupiter

Jupiter or Jove is the King of God of Rome and the god of the Sky and Thunder.

Jupiter may have begun as a sky-god, concerned mainly with wine festivals and associated with the sacred oak on the Capitol. He later became a god of war; as Stator he made the armies stand firm and as Victor he gave them victory.

As the sky-god, he was the first resort as a divine witness to oaths. Jupiter was the central deity of the early Capitoline Triad of Roman state religion, comprising Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus. Each of these three possessed some measure of the divine characteristics essential to Rome’s agricultural economy, social organization and success in war.

He retained this position as senior deity among the Later Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto – the lords of The Sky, The Land, and The Under World respectively.

He thus personified the divine authority of Rome’s highest offices, internal organization and external relations: his image in the Republican and Imperial Capitol bore regalia associated with Rome’s ancient kings and the highest consular and Imperial honours.

Roman consuls swore their oath of office in Jupiter’s name. To thank him for his help, and to secure his continued support, they offered him a white, castrated ox with gilded horns.

A similar offering was made by the generals who must surrender the tokens of their victory at the feet of Jupiter’s statue in the Capitol. During one of the crises of the Punic wars, he was offered every animal born that year.

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