Ju'piter or Ju'piter Conciliatrix
or perhaps more correctly, JUPPITER, a contraction of Diovis
pater, or Diespiter, and Diovis or dies, which was
originally identical with divum (heaven); so that Jupiter
literally means "the heavenly father." The same meaning is
implied in the name Lucesius or Lucerius, by which he was
called by the Oscans, and which was often used by the poet
Naevius (Serv. ad Aen. 9.570; comp. Fest. s. v. Lucetium, p.
114, ed. Müller; Macr. 1.15; Gel. 5.12.) The corresponding
name of Juno is Lucina. It is further not impossible that
the forgotten name, divus pater Falacer, mentioned by Varro
(de L. L. 5.84, 7.45), may be the same as Jupiter, since,
according to Festus (s. v. falae, p. 88, ed. Müller),
falandum was the Etruscan name for heaven. The surname of
Supinalis (August. de Civ. Dei, 7.11) likewise alludes to
the dome of heaven.
As Jupiter was the lord of heaven, the Romans attributed to
him power over all the changes in the heavens, as rain,
storms, thunder and lightning, whence he had the epithets of
Pluvius, Fulgurator, Tonitrualis, Tonans, Fulminator, and
Serenator. (Appul. de Mund. 37; Fest. s. v. prorsum; Suet.
Aug. 91.) As the pebble or flint stone was regarded as the
symbol of lightning, Jupiter was frequently represented with
such a stone in his hand instead of a thunderbolt (Arnob.
6.25); and in ancient times a flint stone was exhibited as a
symbolic representation of the god. (Serv. ad Aen. 8.641;
August. de Civ. Dei, 2.29.) In concluding a treaty, the
Romans took the sacred symbols of Jupiter, viz. the sceptre
and flint stone, together with some grass from his temple,
and the oath taken on such an occasion was expressed by per
Jovem Lopidem jurare. (Fest. s.v. Feretrius; Liv. 30.43;
Appul. de Deo Socrat. 4; Cic. Fam. 7.12; Gel. 1.21; Plb.
3.26.) When the country wanted rain, the help of Jupiter was
sought by a sacrifice called aquilicium (Tertull. Apol. 40);
and respecting the mode of calling down lightning, see
ELICIUS. These powers exercised by the god, and more
especially the thunderbolt, which was ever at his command,
made him the highest and most powerful among the gods,
whence he is ordinarily called the best and most high
(optimus maximus), and his temple stood on the capitol; for
he, like the Greek Zeus, loved to erect his throne on lofty
hills. (Liv. 1.10, 38, 43.55.) From the capitol, whence he
derived the surnames of Capitolinus and Tarpeius, he looked
down upon the forum and the city, and from the Alban and
sacred mounts he surveyed the whole of Latium (Fest. s. v.
Sacer Mons), for he was the protector of the city and the
surrounding country. As such he was worshipped by the
consuls on entering upon their office, and a general
returning from a campaign had first of all to offer up his
thanks to Jupiter, and it was in honour of Jupiter that the
victorious general celebrated his triumph. (Liv. 21.63,
41.32, 42.49.) The god himself was therefore designated by
the names of Imperator, Victor, Invictus, Stator, Opitulus,
Feretrius, Praedator, Triumphator, and the like. (Liv. 1.12,
6.29, 10.29; Ov. Fast. 4.621; August. de Civ. Dei, 8.11;
Serv. ad Aen. 3.223; Appul. de Mund. 37; Festus, s. v.
Opitulus; Cic. de Leg. 2.11, in Verr. 4.58.) Under all these
surnames the god had temples or statues at Rome; and two
temples, viz. those of Jupiter Stator at the Mucian gate and
Jupiter Feretrius, were believed to have been built in the
time of Romulus. (Liv. 1.12, 41; Dionys. A. R. 2.34, 50.)
The Roman games and the Feriae Latinae were celebrated to
him under the names of Capitolinus and Latialis.
Jupiter, according to the belief of the Romans, determined
the course of all earthly and human affairs: he foresaw the
future, and the events happening in it were the results of
his will. He revealed the future to man through signs in the
heavens and the flight of birds, which are hence called the
messengers of Jupiter, while the god himself is designated
as Prodigialis, that is, the sender of prodigies. (Plaut.
Amphitr. 2.2, 107.) For the same reason Jupiter was invoked
at the beginning of every undertaking, whether sacred or
profane, together with Janus, who blessed the beginning
itself (August. de Civ. Dei, 7.8; Liv. 8.9; Cato, de R. R.
134, 141; Macr. 1.16); and rams were sacrificed to Jupiter
on the ides of every month by his flamen, while a female
lamb and a pig were offered to Juno on the kalends of every
month by the wife of the rex sacrorum. (Macr. 1.15; Ov.
Fast. 1.587; Fest. s. v. Idulis Ovis.) Another sacrifice,
consisting of a ram, was offered to Jupiter in the regia on
the nundines, that is, at the beginning of every week (Macr.
1.16; Festus. s. v. nundinas); and it may be remarked in
general that the first day of every period of time both at
Rome and in Latium was sacred to Jupiter, and marked by
festivals, sacrifices, or libations.
It seems to be only a necessary consequence of what has been
already said, that Jupiter was considered as the guardian of
law, and as the protector of justice and virtue: he
maintained the sanctity of an oath, and presided over all
transactions which were based upon faithfulness and justice.
Hence Fides was his companion on the capitol, along with
Victoria; and hence a traitor to his country, and persons
guilty of perjury, were thrown down the Tarpeian rock.
Faithfulness is manifested in the internal relations of the
state, as well as in its connections with foreign powers,
and in both respects Jupiter was regarded as its protector.
Hence Jupiter and Juno were the guardians of the bond of
marriage; and when the harmony between husband and wife was
disturbed, it was restored by Juno, surnamed Conciliatrix or
Viriplaca, who had a sanctuary on the Palatine. (Fest. s. v.
Conciliatric; V. Max. 2.1.6.) Not only the family, however,
but all the political bodies into which the Roman people was
divided, such as the gentes and curiae, were under the
especial protection of the king and queen of the gods; and
so was the whole body of the Roman people, that is, the
Roman state itself. The fact of Jupiter being further
considered as the watchful guardian of property, is implied
in his surname of Hercius (from the ancient herctum,
property), and from his being expressly called by Dionysius
(2.74), ὅριος Ζεύς, i.e. Jupiter Terminus, or the protector
of boundaries, not only of private property, but of the
As Jupiter was the prince of light, the white colour was
sacred to him, white animals were sacrificed to him, his
chariot was believed to be drawn by four white horses, his
priests wore white caps, and the consuls were attired in
white when they offered sacrifices in the capitol the day
they entered on their office. (Festus, s.v. albogalerum
pileum.) When the Romans became acquainted with the religion
of the Greeks, they naturally identified Jupiter with Zeus,
and afterwards with the Egyptian Ammon, and in their
representations of the god they likewise adopted the type of
the Greek Zeus. [ZEUS; comp. Hartung, Die Relig. der Röm.
vol. ii. p. 8, &c.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.