interpretatio Romana

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The identification and association of barbarian gods with deities in the Roman pantheon. This practice is not unique to the Roman world, but from the early stages of the Roman Republic there was a need to identify Roman gods with the earlier Greek Pantheon. Thus Roman Minerva matched with Greek Athena, Diana with Artemis, Mars with Ares, Saturn with Cronos, etc., even though in some cases the matches were not exact. Tacitus (Germania, ch.43) describes two Germanic gods worshipped as brothers as being like Castor and Pollux, while Caesar (De bello Gallica, 6.17–18) describes how the Gauls had gods with similar powers to the Roman gods.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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