Ancient Voices: Symbols and Emblems
of the Roman Gods and Goddesses

Select a god or goddess from the table below and on the back of this handout draw the design for a mask, incorporating into your mask design a few of your chosen character's symbols and emblems. There are many creative ways to use symbols and emblems, which add interest to a mask and help identify the character represented. Visit the Hall of Masks at www.KateHovey.com to see some examples.

Roman Pantheon

Name

Symbols and Emblems, Identifying Characteristics

Jupiter

All royal symbols, such as crowns and scepters, and the colors gold and purple; also the lightning bolt (his weapon) the golden eagle and the oak tree.

Juno

Same royal symbols as her husband, Zeus; also the golden cuckoo, peacock, lion and cow (symbol of motherhood).

Neptune

All colors a All symbols of the ocean, such as seashells and sea creatures, coral, mother-of-pearl, and the colors gray, blue and green; also the trident (his weapon) and the horse.

Pluto

Helmet of Darkness, which made him invisible; Cerberus, his three-headed guard dog; a two-pronged, fork-like staff or scepter; a large key; the cypress tree and the narcissus flower.

Ceres

All colors and symbols of the harvest, such as various fruit, sheaves of wheat, and all shades of green, gold and russet (reddish-brown); also piglets (her good-luck emblem) and poppies.

Vulcan

Fire, and every kind of metal, blacksmith tongs and hammer; also the quail, a bird that does a hobbling dance in the springtime.

Minerva

The owl, olive tree and the colors white and silver; also her helmet and breastplate (emblazoned with the head of a snake-haired gorgon).

Venus

Ocean colors, scallop seashells, pearls and green-colored gemstones; also the dove and the myrtle tree.

Mars

Wild boar and bloodstained spear, also the woodpecker and the vulture.

Apollo

Sun and lyre (ancient musical instrument); also bow and arrow, serpent (ancient wisdom symbol) and mouse (also wisdom symbol).

Diana

New moon, bow and arrow and she-bear (the most dangerous wild animal in ancient Greece).

Mercury

Winged helmet and sandals (symbols of his swift-thinking and swift-footedness); the caduceus, his staff with either two ribbons or two snakes twined around it; also the crane.

Bacchus

Ivy wreath, grape vines and clusters of grapes; the thyrsus, a wand made from a fennel stalk twined with ivy and topped with a pinecone; also the tiger.

Vesta

Fire and hearth.

 

 

 

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