Jupiter is the supreme deity of Rome, Lord of Light and ruler of the daytime. Jupiter was considered the head of the Roman pantheon; the divine equivalent of the Pater Familias, the Roman father who ruled his family and household as if he were god.

Jupiter is identified so closely with Greek Zeus that their names are sometimes used interchangeably; however they were initially distinct spirits. Jupiter is a dominating, imposing figure. He may have absorbed other male deities who now manifest as his various paths. (That may eventually have been what would have happened to Zeus had Paganism survived for longer.) Jupiter is the spirit of thunder, lightning and weather, withholding and bestowing rain and thus abundance and fertility. He presides over the Roman pantheon but is a remote figure compared to the beloved Mars and Juno who were actively involved in people’s lives.


Deus Pater (“Sacred Father,” “God, the Father”); Iuppiter; Jove




Romans; Italians; Jupiter has a soft spot for ladies.

During droughts, Rome’s noble women were sent barefoot up the steep slope of the Capitoline Hill to Jupiter’s temple, weeping (probably very genuinely and sincerely as their feet were undoubtedly bruised and bloody) and with unbound hair, begging him for rain. Allegedly, he always responded favourably.


Jupiter traditionally manifests as an imposing, virile bearded man.

The word jovial technically means Jove-like and indicates someone who is good-humoured, convivial, inclined to make merry.


Juno (an earlier consort may have been Diana, Lady of the Night). As part of the Capitoline Triad, Jupiter has two consorts, Juno who sits to his left and Minerva who sits on his right. He had an affair with Juturna.




Thursday (traditionally the day Ro mans refrained from working; their day off)


Walnut; the Latin name for the walnut species, Juglans, literally means Jupiter’s nuts, double entendre intended

Sacred days:

Jupiter was traditionally venerated at the ides of each month; the 13th day of each month except for March, May, July and October when the ides are celebrated on the 15th. He was also honored with festivals throughout the year.

• 1 January, New Year’s Day, day shared with Janus and Juno

• 22 April, Feast of Jupiter and Juno

• 23 April, the Vinalia: the first draught of wine stored from the previous autumn is offered as a libation to Jupiter

• 5 July, the Poplifugia, the commemoration of “the day the population fled”

• 4–19 September, games are celebrated in Jupiter’s honor

• 13 November, day shared with Juno, Minerva and Ferronia

Sacred site:

Jupiter’s Temple stood at the summit of the Capitoline Hill


Jupiter was traditionally addressed similar to this invocation: “Jupiter, in making this offering to you, I request and sincerely pray that you will watch over me and be gracious to me, my children, my home and my entire household.” (Wives were considered part of a man’s household as were pets.)


Honey cake; substantial quantities of wine; cooked meals


  • Diana
  • Ferronia
  • Fortuna
  • Janus
  • Juno
  • Juturna
  • Mars
  • Minerva
  • Zeus
  • Roman Mythology


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.