Roman or Greek? The ancient gods quiz!

By: Olivia Seitz
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

The Romans worshiped many of the same gods as the Greeks, but under different names. While much of Roman mythology was inherited from Greek culture, not everything stayed the same. Do you know the differences?

The Greeks called the powerful god of the sea Poseidon, but to the Romans, he was known as...

Neptune, or Poseidon, was one of the three powerful sons of Kronos. Zeus ruled the skies, Poseidon ruled the seas, and Hades ruled the underworld.

What was Venus' Greek name?

Aphrodite's name is still around today: it was the origin of the word "aphrodisiac," something that arouses desire.

What was the purpose of the myths told by the Greeks and the Romans?

The myths about the gods and goddesses were tales told for more than just entertainment. They introduced believers to important concepts about morality and the afterlife.

Which Roman goddess was considered most beautiful of all?

The idea of Venus has charmed artists and storytellers for centuries, resulting in famous works like Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." She was, unsurprisingly, the goddess of love and beauty.

The guardian of hell was depicted in both Roman and Greek art as...

Hades placed the three-headed dog Cerberus to guard the entrance to Hell. Any hero looking to reclaim his lover from the depths would have to make it past his watchful eyes.

Zeus, ruler of the heavens, was known for sleeping around behind his wife's back. What did the Romans call him?

Jupiter, also known as Zeus, was not exactly a family guy - unless by family, you mean progenitor of many, many children.

The Roman god Faunus was based on which Greek god?

Faunus was the Roman version of Pan, a god with relentless sexual energy and a passion for nature. Also the god of shepherds, he was celebrated on the Lupercalia as the god who kept wolves away from the flocks.

Cupid, generally depicted with wings and arrows, was known by what name to the Greeks?

Eros was the Greek word for sexual love and desire, so it was a fitting name for the matchmaker god. Eros was, unsurprisingly, the son of Aphrodite and (probably) Ares.

From what people did the story of Romulus and Remus originate?

Romulus and Remus were the mythological founders of Rome, raised in the wild by wolves. Since they are a part of Rome's foundation story, they do not have strict counterparts in Greek tales. They were supposedly the children of Mars.

Who was the young goddess Hades tricked into becoming his wife? Identify the correct pairing of Greek/Roman names:

While Persephone was out in the fields with her mother, Hades carried her off into the underworld. After days of refusing food, she accepted a few pomegranate seeds, then was devastated to learn that she had to stay in Hades for part of the year because of it. After that, she consented to marry Hades.

Which of the following correctly pairs the names given to the goddess of marriage and maternity, queen of the heavens?

The Greek goddess Hera -- Juno for the Romans -- was worshiped as the goddess of marriage, although it's somewhat ironic given how tumultuous and upsetting her marriage with Zeus often was. To her credit, she never abandoned her husband, even when he was most infuriating.

Mercury, the Roman god of thieves and travelers alike, was known to the Greeks as...

Hermes is the clever messenger of the gods, and was the patron of many aspects of travel, including both the travelers seeking safe passage and the thieves that preyed upon them.

Which of these gods was exclusive to the Romans?

Juturna was the lovely goddess of springs and fountains. Tiberinus was the god of the Tiber, the river that runs through Rome. Janus was the god of gates and doorways -- in times of peace, his doors were closed.

Which of the following was not a Greek god of wind?

Sol was the Roman sun god, while the other three were gods of the wind (Northern, Western, and Eastern winds, respectively).

For Greeks, worshiping the gods was mostly a personal affair. For the Romans, worship was...

Religion was much more a part of government life in Rome than in Athens. Citizens were expected to worship publicly, especially during festivals and other events.

Which Roman god is in charge of family and the hearth, despite her status as a perpetual virgin?

Vesta tended the home of Zeus and was believed to keep the hearth fire burning in every home that worshiped her. She is commonly associated with the Greek goddess Hestia, although their cults had many differences.

Themis, the Greek goddess of order, custom and law, was known to the Romans by what name?

She was commonly depicted with a blindfold and scales in Roman art, leading to the depiction of Justice we see in today's courtroom art.

Was Heracles a Roman god (or demigod) as well as Greek?

The Romans adopted Heracles into the family as Hercules, after hanging up their farming tools and turning to more warlike pursuits.

According to Greek legend, which goddess sprang fully formed from the mind of Zeus?

Because she came from the mind of a god, Athena was the goddess of wisdom. Her counsel was often sought after in both peace and war.

Nike was the goddess of what?

Her Roman name, Victoria, literally means "victory." She was often thanked in addition to Mars/Ares when warriors returned from a successful battle.

For the Greeks, Hades ruled the underworld; for the Romans, the god of the dead was...

Hades, or Pluto, had the unenviable job of ruling over the dead. It made it difficult to find a wife willing to stay with him, which is why he resorted to trickery to gain one.

What was the Roman name for Prometheus?

Prometheus, one of the Titans, held the same name in both Greek and Roman stories. Both cultures loved the story of how Prometheus gave fire to mankind.

What is the name of the Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon?

Diana, known to the Greeks as Artemis, was the infamous virgin huntress who wandered the woods by moonlight with her hunting dogs and servants.

The Greek god Phosphorus (Roman: Lucifer) was known as the...

Lucifer, known as the god of the morning star, was the name given to the light bearer of the dawn. This name was later adopted to refer to Satan, a fallen angel who had previously shone brightly.

The Greco-Roman god Hypnos was lord of what?

Hypnos was believed to be the child of night and was Death's sibling. He was occasionally referred to as Somnus by the Romans.

Which civilization believed in the role of the Fates in determining each person's destiny?

Both held that a person's life was already set out by the three Fates, -- old women who knew the past, present and future journey of each human life.

Dionysus, or Bacchus, as the Romans called him, was the god of what?

He was god of the bacchanal, a wild drinking party which humans would do best to avoid. He was also the patron god of the theater for the Greeks.

Who were two storytellers influential in establishing Roman mythology?

Virgil composed the "Aeneid" to tell the story of Rome's founding, providing a gateway from Greek to Roman mythology. Ovid composed the "Metamorphoses," among other works, which transformed Greek myths into their Roman counterparts.

Who was the "lucky" god who married Aphrodite?

Given Aphrodite's flair for cheating on him with Ares, Hephaestus might have regretted the arrangement. At one point in their relationship, Hephaestus captured the two lovers in a net and exposed them for the other gods to mock, as revenge for her infidelity.

What works formed the foundation of Greek mythology?

Homer's and Hesiod's works began as a carefully kept oral tradition that was eventually transferred to the written form we have today. While they don't contain all the Greek stories about the gods, their influence was considerable.

What was different about the format of Roman vs. Greek myths?

The Roman way of telling stories was in prose format - consistent with their orderly, no-nonsense ways. Greeks loved the theater and passed down their stories through narratives fine-tuned for performance.

The gods of which civilization were more distant, behavior-wise?

The Roman gods were more utilitarian than the Greek gods, and their myths often demonstrated fewer interactions with humans and higher moral standards (but there were exceptions, to be sure).

The Roman god Phoebus, who excelled at medicine and prophesies, was known to the Greeks as:

Apollo, the radiant sun god, had many talents, including music, medicine, and seeing the future. He was also known occasionally as Helios, the personification of the sun itself.

Before Mars was the Roman god of war and the counterpart of Ares, he was...

Before the Greek and Roman gods were fully synced, Mars was actually a god for farmers to worship. He was all about spring, farming and the month of March.

Which religion had a higher emphasis on rewarding heroic deeds with godhood or demi-godhood?

While both religions had stories about men who could rise above their mortality (with Heracles/Hercules being a prime example), it was emphasized more in Roman stories and culture because of their warlike ways.

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