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DonRocks

Why Did Ancient Greek and Roman Gods Have Counterparts?

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I honestly don't know the answer.

Was there that much contact between the cultures? Did Rome draw from Greece? I suppose I could go on a mad Google search for the answer, but I'm hoping someone here might know the answer - I haven't a clue.

This was prompted by me watching a Star Trek TNG episode (Season 7, Episode 3: "Interface"), and there was a ship in the episode called the Hera. I was pretty sure Hera was a Greek Goddess, so I Googled her, and found that her Roman counterpart was Juno (who, quite frankly, I always thought was male, but wasn't). Anyway, this got me to thinking about the whole question.

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I've been wondering and speculating about this very subject for decades, but never put much effort into learning about it. It has long seemed to me probable that the "counterpart" relationship of Greek and Roman deities amounts to a sort of reification of a relationship that is more one of analogues. That is, "Mars is like Ares" gets transformed into "Mars is the Roman name for Ares". This Wikipedia article is apposite.

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I think what you're hypothesizing here is that the Romans had the Greeks to draw from, and added their own particular beliefs into an already-existing system. Is this close to being correct? I emphasize "hypothesis," as you aren't claiming to have the answers; merely what seems like a theory.

How did the Greeks communicate with the Romans? How much overlap was there between the Greek Empire and the Ancient Roman Empire? I suppose I could Google this, and may end up doing so but it's so much more interesting piecing a puzzle together with a friend who has similar interests.

Ah, hell, I can at least consult Wikipedia for starting and ending dates:

Ancient Greece - from the Archaic Period (8th-6th centuries BC) to the end of Antiquity (600 AD)

Ancient Rome - from as early as the 8th century BC , to its height between the 1st-2nd centuries AD, to the splintering of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD

 

These are obviously very gross, crude, oversimplified dates and terms, but they're a starting point.

 

An interesting side note is that the Trojan War (The Odyssey, The Iliad) has, I believe, nothing to do with this, since Troy was in Turkey which is east of Greece, whereas Rome was west of Greece. What did the Trojans believe in? I know a lot of that stuff is hooey and there weren't centaurs, hydras, etc., but it's still part of the culture. I refer interested readers to our discussion of Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida," and would love to do another play if any people are interested (you can't read enough Shakespeare).
"

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Why did the Addams Family have the Munsters? Why did Chubby Checker have Fats Domino? Why did Johnny Cash have Eddie Money (or even Johnny Paycheck for that matter?).  Why did McDonalds have Burger King? Wendys have Judys? Hell, why did Hannukah get so popular in the USA (with Christmas being at the same time or close)? Why did Hampshire, York, Jersey and even England itself become New? Why did my parents have more kids after they already had the perfect one??? LOL We all imitate each other even when we think we are being original, and theres nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you can even improve the product and hopefully everyone gives their versions a personal spin. But in a sense, the world is just one gigantic Tribute Band playing oldies but goodies (and unfortunately sometimes Badies as well!) And on a completely different note.... laughed my ass off at your review about the Super Pollo experience on DC Dining.... I actually look forward to when your meals totally suck so you can tear somebody a new one!!! :lol::D

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I think what you're hypothesizing here is that the Romans had the Greeks to draw from, and added their own particular beliefs into an already-existing system. Is this close to being correct? I emphasize "hypothesis," as you aren't claiming to have the answers; merely what seems like a theory.

How did the Greeks communicate with the Romans? How much overlap was there between the Greek Empire and the Ancient Roman Empire? I suppose I could Google this, and may end up doing so but it's so much more interesting piecing a puzzle together with a friend who has similar interests.

Ah, hell, I can at least consult Wikipedia for starting and ending dates:

Ancient Greece - from the Archaic Period (8th-6th centuries BC) to the end of Antiquity (600 AD)

Ancient Rome - from as early as the 8th century BC , to its height between the 1st-2nd centuries AD, to the splintering of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD

 

These are obviously very gross, crude, oversimplified dates and terms, but they're a starting point.

 

An interesting side note is that the Trojan War (The Odyssey, The Iliad) has, I believe, nothing to do with this, since Troy was in Turkey which is east of Greece, whereas Rome was west of Greece. What did the Trojans believe in? I know a lot of that stuff is hooey and there weren't centaurs, hydras, etc., but it's still part of the culture. I refer interested readers to our discussion of Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida," and would love to do another play if any people are interested (you can't read enough Shakespeare).

 

Your summary of my suggestion (not quite hypothesis) isn't quite what I meant, although it's probably true to some extent. My main point was that the idea of a correspondence between Greek and Roman deities was constructed via later analysis rather than existing innately within the two traditions. But there was certainly a lot of communication between Greeks and Italians. Greeks established settlements in many parts of the Italy and Sicily; you can visit some of the ruins, such as Paestum, south of Naples, founded somewhere about 600 BCE. (I've been, and had a fabulous pizza at a little tourist shack near the ruins.) Southern Italy and Sicily were even known as Magna Graecia. Later, of course, the Roman Empire came to encompass Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean world (and a lot more), but it was Greek and not Latin that was spoken in most of the eastern regions of the Empire, and also in southern Italy and Sicily.

 

I don't know much of anything about the Trojans, but remember that the Trojan prince Aeneas escaped from the wreckage of Troy and went on to found Rome, in one origin myth.

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