Capitoline Triad

The Capitoline Triad was a group of three deities who were worshipped in ancient Roman religion in an elaborate temple on Rome's Capitoline Hill (Latin Capitolium). It comprised Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The triad held a central place in the public religion of Rome.[1]

Jupiter Tonans
Jupiter, the supreme Roman god of the sky.

The Triad

Arte romana, triade capitolina, 160-180 dc (guidonia montecelio, museo civico archeologico) 01
Capitoline Triad – Museum of Guidonia

The three deities who are most commonly referred to as the "Capitoline Triad" are Jupiter, the king of the gods; Juno (in her aspect as Iuno Regina, "Queen Juno"), his wife and sister; and Jupiter's daughter Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. This grouping of a male god and two goddesses was highly unusual in ancient Indo-European religions, and is almost certainly derived from the Etruscan trio of Tinia, the supreme deity, Uni, his wife, and Menrva, their daughter and the goddess of wisdom. In some interpretations, this group replaced an original Archaic Triad.[1]


Jupiter, Juno and Minerva were honored in temples known as Capitolia, which were built on hills and other prominent areas in many cities in Italy and the provinces, particularly during the Augustan and Julio-Claudian periods. Most had a triple cella. The earliest known example of a Capitolium outside of Italy was at Emporion (now Empúries, Spain).[2] According to Ovid, Terminus also had a place there, since he had a shrine there before it was built and, as the god of boundary stones, refused to yield.[3]

Although the word Capitolium (pl. Capitolia) could be used to refer to any temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad, it referred especially to the temple on the Capitoline Hill in Rome known as aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini ("Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest on the Capitoline"). The temple was built under the reign of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome prior to the establishment of the Roman Republic. Although the temple was shared by Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, each deity had a separate cella, with Juno Regina on the left, Minerva on the right, and Jupiter Optimus Maximus in the middle. It included a podium and a tetrastyle (four column) pronaos (porch).[4]

Another shrine (sacellum) dedicated to Jupiter, Juno Regina and Minerva was the Capitolium Vetus on the Quirinal Hill. It was thought to be older than the more famous temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, and was still a landmark in Martial's time, in the late 1st century.[5]


  1. ^ a b Ryberg, Inez Scott (1931). "Was the Capitoline Triad Etruscan or Italic?". The American Journal of Philology: 145–156. doi:10.2307/290109. JSTOR 290109.
  2. ^ Blagg, T.F.C. (1990). "The temple at Bath (Aquae Sulis) in the context of classical temples in the western European provinces" (pp. 426–427). Journal of Roman Archaeology 3 (pp. 419–430).
  3. ^ Ovid, Fasti 2.667–676: "What happened when the new Capitol was being built? Why, the whole company of gods withdrew before Jupiter and made room for him; but Terminus, as the ancients relate, remained where he was found in the shrine, and shares the temple with great Jupiter. Even to this day there is a small hole in the roof of the temple, that he may see naught above him but the stars. From that abide in that station in which thou hast been placed. Yield not an inch to a neighbour, though he ask thee, lest thou shouldst seem to value man above Jupiter."
  4. ^ Fishwick, Duncan (1987). "Seneca and the Temple of Divus Claudius" (pp. 253–254). Britannia 22 (pp. 137–141).
  5. ^ Richardson, L. (1992). A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (p. 70). Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4300-6.
Aventine Triad

The Aventine Triad (also referred to as the plebeian Triad or the agricultural Triad) is a modern term for the joint cult of the Roman deities Ceres, Liber and Libera. The cult was established ca. 493 BC within a sacred district (templum) on or near the Aventine Hill, traditionally associated with the Roman plebs. Later accounts describe the temple building and rites as "Greek" in style. Some modern historians describe the Aventine Triad as a plebeian parallel and self-conscious antithesis to the archaic Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus and the later Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Minerva and Juno. The Aventine Triad, temple and associated ludi (games and theatrical performances) served as a focus of plebeian identity, sometimes in opposition to Rome's original ruling elite, the patricians.


A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets, including:

United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Numerous U.S. state and territorial capitols

Capitolio Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia

Capitolio Federal in Caracas, Venezuela

El Capitolio in Havana, Cuba

Capitol of Palau in Ngerulmud, PalauCapitol, capitols, or The Capitol may also refer to:

Capitol (board game), a Roman-themed board game

Capitol (The Hunger Games trilogy), a fictional city in The Hunger Games novels

Capitol (TV series), a U.S. soap opera

Capitols, former name of the Capitol Corridor passenger train route in California, United States

Capitole de Toulouse, an historic building in Toulouse, France, now used as a municipal and public-arts center

The capitouls of Toulouse, the city's former chief magistrates

Capitol Air, originally known as Capitol International Airways, an American charter airline operating from 1946 to 1982

Capitol College, a private, non-profit, and non-sectarian college located just south of Laurel, Maryland

Capitol Records, a U.S. record label

Capitol Reef National Park, a U.S. National Park in south-central Utah

Capitol Wrestling Corporation, a predecessor organization to World Wrestling Entertainment

Capitoline Hill in Rome (from which the word capitol derives)

Capitolium, the temple for the Capitoline Triad in many cities of the Roman Empire

The Capitol (Hong Kong), a large private housing estate in Hong Kong

The Capitol (Fayetteville, North Carolina), department store

The Capitols, a Detroit, Michigan-based soul trio

Capitol (collection), a book by Orson Scott Card

Capitoline of Colonia Ulpia Traiana

The Capitoline of Colonia Ulpia Traiana was a sanctuary in Colonia Ulpia Traiana, capitol of the Roman province Germania inferior, and likely dedicated to the capitoline triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

The temple was founded during the 2nd century and active until at least the 3rd century.

Capitolium Vetus

The Capitolium Vetus (Latin for old Capitol or ancient Capitol) was an archaic temple in ancient Rome, dedicated to the Capitoline Triad. vetus distinguishes it from the main temple to the Triad on the Capitol and shows that it was the older of the two and possibly the oldest temple in Rome dedicated to them. It was on a site in what is now the Trevi district, to the north of the Quirinal and to the north-west of the Ministry of Defence - its dedicatory inscriptions were found near the Ministry.

Capitolium of Brixia

The Capitolium of Brixia or the Temple of the Capitoline Triad in Brescia was the main temple in the center of the Roman town of Brixia (Brescia). It is represented at present by fragmentary ruins, but is part of an archeological site, including a Roman amphitheatre and museum in central Brescia.

Dea Dia

Dea Dia ("The Divine Goddess") was a goddess of fertility and growth in ancient Roman religion. She was sometimes identified with Ceres, and sometimes with her Greek equivalent Demeter.She was worshiped during Ambarvalia, a festival to Ceres. Every May, her priests, the Fratres Arvales, held a three-day festival in her honor.

Dii Consentes

The Dii Consentes, also as Di or Dei Consentes (once Dii Complices), was a list of twelve major deities, six gods and six goddesses, in the pantheon of Ancient Rome. Their gilt statues stood in the Forum, later apparently in the Porticus Deorum Consentium.The gods were listed by the poet Ennius in the late 3rd century BC in a paraphrase of an unknown Greek poet:

Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus,

Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Vulcan, ApolloLivy arranges them in six male-female pairs: Jupiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Mars-Venus, Apollo-Diana, Vulcan-Vesta and Mercury-Ceres. Three of the Dii Consentes formed the Capitoline Triad: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.

Fauna (deity)

In ancient Roman religion, Fauna [fau̯na] is a goddess said in differing ancient sources to be the wife, sister, or daughter of Faunus (the Roman counterpart of Pan). Varro regarded her as the female counterpart of Faunus, and said that the fauni all had prophetic powers. She is also called Fatua or Fenta Fauna.

Feriale Duranum

The Feriale Duranum is a calendar of religious observances for a Roman military garrison at Dura-Europos on the Euphrates, Roman Syria, under the reign of Severus Alexander (224–235 AD). The small papyrus roll was discovered among the documents of an auxiliary cohort, the Cohors XX Palmyrenorum (Twentieth Cohort of Palmyrenes), in the Temple of Azzanathkona. The calendar, written in Latin, is arranged in four columns, with some gaps. It offers important evidence for the religious life of the Roman military and the role of Imperial cult in promoting loyalty to the Roman emperor, and for the coexistence of Roman state religion and local religious traditions.Festivals named include Quinquatria (a purification of arms), the birthday of Rome, Neptunalia and two Rosaliae at which the military standards were adorned with roses. The calendar prescribes sacrifices for deities of traditional Roman religion such as the Capitoline triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, as well as Mars and Vesta. About twenty members of the imperial family are honored as divi, divinized mortals, including six women and Germanicus, who was never an emperor. Twenty-seven of the forty-three entries that remain legible pertain to Imperial cult. No Eastern mystery religions, which were widely celebrated in the Empire during this period, nor local cults are recorded as an official observance of the army, but the feriale was found in the temple with a dipinto depicting a Roman officer offering incense to the local deity Iarḥibol, and Romans, including a standard-bearer with the cohort's vexillum, standing before the altar of the Syrian gods Iarḥibol, Aglibol and Arṣu. It has also been argued that the three gods represent the emperors Pupienus, Balbinus, and Gordian III. A copy of the calendar may have been issued to each unit throughout the Empire to further military cohesion as well as Roman identity among troops from other cultures.The cache of documents was discovered by a team of archaeologists from Yale University working at Dura-Europos in 1931–32. It was first published by R. O. Fink, A. S. Hooey, and W. S. Snyder (1940), "The Feriale Duranum," Yale Classical Studies 7: 1–222.In 2011, a facsimile of the partial document was part of the Dura-Europos exhibition at Boston College, and it contained the following translation:

March 19, Quinquatria, a supplication; until March 23, supplicationsApril 4, for the birthday of Antonius Magnus, an oxApril 9, for the accession of the deified Pius Severus, an oxApril 11, for the birthday of Pius Severus, an oxApril 21, for the birthday of the Eternal City of Rome, a cowApril 26, for the birthday of Marcus Antoninus, an oxMay 7, for the birthday of the deified Julia Maesa, a supplicationMay 10 (?), for the Rose-festival of the Standards, a supplicationMay 12, for the circus-races in honor of Mars, to Mars Ultor, a bullMay 21, because the deified Pius Severus was saluted as "imperator"May 24, for the birthday of Germanicus Caesar, a supplicationMay 31, for the Rose-festival of the Standards, a supplicationJune 9, for the Vestalia, to Vesta Mater, a supplicationJune 26, because our lord Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was named Caesar, a bullJuly 1, because our lord Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander our Augustus was designated consul for the first time, a supplicationJuly 4, for the birthday of the deified Matidia, a supplicationJuly 10, for the succession of the deified Antoninus Pius, an oxJuly 12, for the birthday of the deified Julius, an oxJuly 23, for the day of the Neptunalia, a supplication and a sacrificeAug 1, for the birthday of the deified Claudius and the deified Pertinax, an ox and an oxAug 5, for the circus-races in honor of Salus, a cow.Aug [14-29], for the birthday of Mamaea Augustus, mother of Augustus, a cowAug [15-30], for the birthday of the deified Marciana, a supplication

Flora (mythology)

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers and of the season of spring – a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Juno (mythology)

Juno (English: ; Latin: IVNO, Iūnō, [ˈjuːnoː]) was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. A daughter of Saturn, she is the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan, Bellona and Juventas. She is the Roman equivalent of Hera, queen of the gods in Greek mythology; like Hera, her sacred animal was the peacock. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni, and she was said to also watch over the women of Rome. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina ("Queen") and was a member of the Capitoline Triad (Juno Capitolina), centered on the Capitoline Hill in Rome; it consisted of her, Jupiter, and Minerva, goddess of wisdom.

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She is often shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the 'aegis'.

Jupiter (mythology)

Jupiter (from Latin: Iūpiter [ˈjuːpɪtɛr] or Iuppiter [ˈjʊppɪtɛr], from Proto-Italic *djous "day, sky" + *patēr "father", thus "sky father"), also known as Jove (gen. Iovis [ˈjɔwɪs]), was the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice.

Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as an aerial god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army (see Aquila). The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins. As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. In the Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.

The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto, the Roman equivalents of Poseidon and Hades respectively. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.


In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber (Latin: Līber [ˈliːbɛr], "the free one"), also known as Liber Pater ("the free Father"), was a god of viticulture and wine, fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia (March 17) became associated with free speech and the rights attached to coming of age. His cult and functions were increasingly associated with Romanised forms of the Greek Dionysus/Bacchus, whose mythology he came to share.


Menrva (also spelled Menerva) was an Etruscan goddess of war, art, wisdom, and medicine. She contributed much of her character to Roman Minerva, when that culture evolved. She was the child of Uni and Tinia.

Although Menrva was seen by Hellenized Etruscans as their counterpart to Greek Athena, Menrva has some unique traits that make it clear that she was not an import from Greece. Etruscan artists under the influence of Greek culture, however, liked to portray Menrva with Gorgoneion, helmet, spear, and shield, and, on one mirrorback, as bursting from the head of her father, Tinia. Also, she commonly is seen as the protector of Hercle (Heracles) and Pherse (Perseus). On a bronze mirror found at Praeneste, she attends Perseus, who consults two Graeae, and, on another, holds high the head of Medusa, while she and seated Perseus and Hermes all gaze safely at its reflection in a pool at their feet. These images are more likely to reflect literary sources than any cult practice. On a bronze mirror from Bolsena, ca. 300 BCE, she is portrayed attending a scene of Prometheus Unbound with Esplace (Asclepius), who bandages Prometheus' chest.Often, Menrva is depicted in a more essentially Etruscan style, as a lightning thrower. Martianus mentions her as one of nine Etruscan lightning deities. Depiction with a thunderbolt may be see on later Roman coins of Minerva as well.

Menrva seems to have been associated with weather phenomena. The Greeks never attributed an association with weather to Athena, making this another important difference between the two religious cults that demonstrates their separate characteristics.

Menrva's name is indigenous to Italy and might even be of Etruscan origin, stemming from an Italic moon goddess, Meneswā 'She who measures'. It is thought that the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. This has been disputed, however: Carl Becker suggested that her name appears to contain the PIE root men-, which he noted was linked in Greek primarily to memory words (cf. Greek "mnestis"/μνῆστις 'memory, remembrance, recollection'), but which more generally referred to 'mind' in most Indo-European languages.

Menrva often was depicted in the Judgement of Paris, called Elcsntre (Alexander, his alternative name in Greek) in Etruscan, one of the most popular Greek myths in Etruria.

Menrva was part of a triple deity with Uni and Tinia, later reflected in the Roman Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva.


Minerva (; Latin: [mɪˈnɛr.wa]; Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare and the sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. From the second century BC onward, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena, though the Romans did not stress her relation to battle and warfare as the Greeks did.

Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, who had been swallowed by Jupiter, and burst from her father's head, fully armed and clad in armor. Jupiter forcefully impregnated the titaness Metis, which resulted in her attempting to change shape (or shapeshift) to escape him. Jupiter then recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Saturn, and in turn, Saturn had Caelus.

Fearing that their child would be male, and would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly. The titaness gave birth to Minerva and forged weapons and armor for her child while within Jupiter's body. In some versions of the story, Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter's mind as the source of his wisdom. Others say she was simply a vessel for the birth of Minerva. The constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and in full battle armor.

She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, and the crafts. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva", which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge as well as, less frequently, the snake and the olive tree.


The Opiconsivia (or Opeconsiva or Opalia) was an ancient Roman religious festival held August 25 in honor of Ops ("Plenty"), also known as Opis, a goddess of agricultural resources and wealth. The festival marked the end of harvest, with a mirror festival on December 19 concerned with the storage of the grain.The Latin word consivia (or consiva) derives from conserere ("to sow"). Opis was deemed a chthonic (underworld, inside the earth) goddess who made the vegetation grow. Since her abode was inside the earth, Ops was invoked by her worshipers while sitting, with their hands touching the ground, according to Macrobius (Saturnalia, I:10).

Although Ops is a consort of Saturn, she was closely associated with Consus, the protector of grains and subterranean storage bins (silos). Consus is therefore thought to be an alternate name of Saturn in the chthonic aspect as consort. The festival of Consus, the Consualia, was celebrated twice a year, each time preceding that of Ops: once on August 21, after the harvest, and once on December 15, after the sowing of crops was finished.

The Opiconsivia festival was superintended by the Vestals and the Flamines of Quirinus, an early Sabine god said to be the deified Romulus. Quirinus was absorbed by, and included in, the first and earliest Capitoline Triad, along with Mars—then an agriculture god—and Jupiter. The main priestess at the regia wore a white veil, characteristic of the vestal virgins. A chariot race was performed in the Circus Maximus. Horses and mules, their heads crowned with chaplets made of flowers, also took part in the celebration.


In Roman mythology and religion, Quirinus (; Latin: Quirīnus, [kʷɪˈriːnʊs]) is an early god of the Roman state. In Augustan Rome, Quirinus was also an epithet of Janus, as Janus Quirinus. His name may be derived from the Sabine word quiris "spear".

Roman mythology

Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.

The Romans usually treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. The stories are often concerned with politics and morality, and how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme. When the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual, augury, and institutions than with theology or cosmogony.The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, and by the later artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors. In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks (interpretatio graeca), and to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends also have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks.

While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature, Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse. Because Latin literature was more widely known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans often had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical.

Temple of Jupiter (Pompeii)

The Temple of Jupiter, Capitolium, or Temple of the Capitoline Triad was a temple in Roman Pompeii, at the north end of its forum. Initially dedicated to Jupiter alone, it was built in the mid-2nd century BC at the same time as the temple of Apollo was being renovated - this was the area at which Roman influence over Pompeii increased and so Roman Jupiter superseded the Greek Apollo as the town's highest god. Jupiter was the ruler of the gods and the protector of Rome, where his temple was the center of Roman Religion and of the cult of state.

As the most important divinity in Ancient Rome, many temples were built to honor Jupiter or the entire Capitoline Triad (consisting of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva) in towns newly conquered by the Romans. This held true for Pompeii, where the previously existing Temple of Jupiter was enlarged and Romanized upon conquest.

Pompeii was occupied by the Romans beginning in 310 BC. It maintained much of its autonomy, however, until the Italic Revolt against Rome at the beginning of the 1st century BC. In 89, the town was besieged by Sulla. Roman language, culture, and law would soon come to dominate the city.

The architecture of the town had been largely changed by the Greeks, but Roman rule would soon lead to alterations in this style. In contrast to the previous Samnite occupiers, the Romans very much believed in the importance of architecture in religious and civic life. Pompeii was transformed into a much more public and open place. Public buildings and spaces would come to dominate the city.

The temple structure was built in 150 BC to dominate the forum, and it became Pompeii's main temple after the Roman conquest. Pure Italic style characterized the capitolium structure, which sat atop a base measuring 121 x 56 x 10 feet. The interior of the temple contained the cella, which held the statues of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and which only the priests were permitted to enter. There was a chamber below the main hall which was used to store sacrificial offerings and the treasury of the city.

In 62 A.D., an earthquake shook the city of Pompeii, destroying much of the Temple of Jupiter. After this, the much smaller Temple of Jupiter Meilichios became the main seat of worship to Jupiter and the Capitoline Triad. The original Temple of Jupiter was still awaiting restoration when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79, burying the town of Pompeii in volcanic dust, ash, and pumice stones. The excavated temple can still be seen in Pompeii today.

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