Calgary Coin & Antique Gallery

Ancient Roman Mythology


      Jupiter was one of the most important of the Roman gods, continuously evolving with Roman needs. In the early Republican era, when Rome was an agricultural city, he first appeared as an agricultural god in charge of sun and moonlight (Jupiter Lucetius), wind, rain, storms, thunder and lightning (Jupiter Elicius), sowing (Jupiter Dapalis), creative forces (Jupiter Liber) and the boundary stones of fields (Jupiter Terminus).

      As Rome developed into a city of commerce and military force, Jupiter evolved into a protector of the city and state of Rome. As with his earlier agricultural form, he could be invoked through a variety of titles, each dependent on the responsibilities being requested of him :

      His main temple was the "Capitolim Vetus", situated on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, which he shared with Juno (his sister and consort) and Minerva, to form the Capitoline Triad.

      On coins, Jupiter is traditionally shown as a bearded, older man, often naked and holding or throwing a thunderbolt. He can be either standing or seated. His sacred animal was the eagle, which he usually holds in an outstretched hand, or has standing at his feet. Most Roman images of Jupiter are styled after Greek images of Zeus, but in spite of many similarities, he is not simply a Roman version of Zeus.

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