Juno - the Roman goddess
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Juno

stone statue of a veiled woman
Juno

May 2016 - Juno was Jupiter's wife and sister for the Romans, the way Hera was Zeus's wife for the Greeks. Because the Romans and the Greeks were both descended from Central Asian Indo-Europeans, Hera and Juno probably started out as the same goddess. But the Romans thought of Juno a little differently from Hera. Juno was mainly a goddess of marriage, like Hera, but she also protected towns and villages. Many towns in Italy had temples to Juno in order to get her protection. Sometimes Juno was a war goddess, ready to fight to protect the towns.

brick building at top of steps
A temple probably dedicated to the three gods (Ostia)

The Romans often thought of Juno as part of a group of three gods, Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. They seem to have gotten this idea from the Etruscans. Many Etruscan and Roman temples were dedicated to all three of these gods together.

The Greek goddess Hera was a character in many Greek myths, like the story of Hercules or the story of Alcmena, but the Romans didn't think of their gods as being so much like people, and didn't tell stories about them as much (at least, until after they conquered Greece).

Learn by doing: Roman weapons
More about Hera

Bibliography and further reading about Roman religion:

Hera
Jupiter
Minerva
Roman religion
Greek religion
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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