Saturday, 3 May 2014

Jupiter – Lord of Heaven

"Jupiter and Mercury reveal themselves" by Santi (1798)
Jupiter is without doubt one of the greatest of Gods. Essentially, he is the numen (divine spirit) of the sky, of weather, of thunder, lightning, and of rain. As the God of rain, he is inevitably also a major God of agriculture, if not of life itself (for rain is fundamental for human prosperity), and so from the start the Romans held him in especially high esteem and looked to this powerful God for divine protection. Thus, Jupiter sits at the apex of the Roman pantheon and was worshipped as one of the major protecting Gods of ancient Rome and her empire. The ancient epithets of Jupiter are especially revealing and may help us to understand both his divine essence and his importance. Some of the most common include:
  • Iuppiter Capitolinus (of the Capitoline hill, one of the holy triad which protected Rome and her empire)
  • Iuppiter Custos (guardian)
  • Iuppiter Elicius (sender of rain)
  • Iuppiter Fulgur (of lightning)
  • Iuppiter Libertas (of liberty/freedom)
  • Iuppiter Lucetius (light bringer)
  • Iuppiter Optimus Maximus (best and greatest)
  • Iuppiter Victor (victorious)
  • Iuppiter Tonans (thunderer)