Romans believed in several gods. Their religion was based on these gods. They believed these gods controlled their lives. The warm and sunny weather was interpreted as good mood of the gods and vice versa. They were under the impression that thunder and lightening exhibited the wrath of gods. Roman myths were partially borrowed from the Greek mythology.
The pre-historic Romans did not have any myths of their own. It is believed that the Roman poets borrowed heavily from Greek mythology. However, the origins of many myths are still unknown. Hellenistic models influenced the works of the classical poets like Ovid and Vergil. They used the Greek beliefs and myths as fillers.
The Romans had a highly developed system of rituals, priests and priestly colleges. However, ancient Roman literature has not mentioned much about the Roman gods of the pre-historic era.
A Few Roman Myths
Camilla was the beautiful daughter of Casmilla and Meribus. She was dedicated to Goddess Diana, the goddess of Hunt, by her father. It is believed, Camilla once ran so swiftly through the cornfields that a blade of grass was burnt to ashes. This gave her a divine power, which enabled her to walk across the seas without wetting her feet.
According to the Roman myth, she was later crowned as the Virgin Queen of the Volscians. Volscians are the natives of ancient Italy who occupied the South East of Albany Hills. She died fighting the Trojans.
Cupid and Psyche
Psyche was a mortal princess known for her beauty and Cupid, the Roman God of Love. Cupid is the son of Venus. According to this myth, Venus, Goddess of Beauty and Fertility was jealous of the beautiful Psyche. She ordered Cupid to endorse cruel punishment on Psyche. Cupid fell in love with the princess instead and hid her from Venus in a faraway land.
Psyche was not allowed to see the face of Cupid. One night out of curiosity, Psyche removed the blanket that covered Cupid's face and looked at him. At that very moment, Cupid and their beautiful surroundings disappeared. The Venus punished Psyche. It is believed that some mysterious power helped Psyche overcome the ordeal and eventually she married Cupid.
Charon and the River Styx
According to the Roman myths, the River Styx is the entrance to the Underworld or the Land of the Dead. Charon, the ferryman transported the souls of the dead to this world. Only the dead who received the proper burial ceremony were ferried to Land of Dead. The dead were bathed and a coin was placed under their tongue.
This coin was the token to pay Charon to ferry the soul across the River Styx. The soul of the dead would remain on the shores of the River Styx for 100 years, in case coin was not found underneath the tongue. Romans see Charon as the symbol of death, and the painters portray him as an eerie old man.
These myths are related to the Roman gods and their ways. These gods played a vital role in the everyday lives of the ancient Romans.