The religion of the Roman republic and empire. In its developed form it came to have much in common with Greek religion, although it contained elements of Etruscan and other native Italian regional beliefs and practices. The Romans identified their gods with those of Greece: Jupiter = Zeus, Juno = Hera, Neptune = Poseidon, Minerva = Athene, Diana = Artemis, Mars = Ares, Mercury = Hermes, and so on; but it too had its array of minor deities. Romans also possessed domestic shrines of the spirits of the household (Lares and Penates). Although Christianity became the official religion of the empire from the late 4th century ad, pagan beliefs and practices proved tenacious in many areas, especially away from the cities, and in many places the Christian Church had often to take over Roman festivals and hallowed shrines or sites under a new guise.
Subjects: World History — Religion.