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(Iuppĭter). The chief of the gods in the Roman mythology. He was originally an elemental divinity, and his name signifies the father or lord of heaven, being a contraction of Diovis pater, or Diespiter (Skt. Dyāus pitar; cf. the Teutonic Tiu or Zio). Being the lord of heaven, he was worshipped as the god of light, rain, storms, thunder, and lightning, whence he had the epithets of Lucetius, Imbricĭtor, Serenātor, Pluvius, Fulgurātor, Tonitruālis, Tonans, and Fulminātor. As the pebble or flint stone was regarded as the symbol of lightning, Iupiter was frequently represented with such a stone in his hand instead of a thunderbolt. In concluding a treaty, the Romans took the sacred symbols of Iupiter—i. e. the sceptre and flint stone—together with some grass from his temple, and the oath taken on such an occasion was expressed by per Iovem Lapidem jurare. In consequence of his possessing such powers over the elements, and especially of his always having the thunderbolt at his command, he was regarded as the highest and most powerful among the gods. Hence he is called the Best and Greatest (Optimus Maximus). His temple at Rome stood on the lofty hill of the Capitol, whence he derived the surnames Capitolīnus and Tarpēius. The Ides of each month were sacred to him. He was regarded as the special protector of Rome. As such he was worshipped by the consuls on entering upon their office; and the triumph of a victorious general was a solemn procession to his temple. He therefore bore the surnames of Imperātor, Victor, Invictus, Stator, Opitŭlus, Feretrius, Praedātor, Triumphātor, and the like. Under all these surnames he had temples or statues at Rome; and two temples, viz. those of Iupiter Stator and of Iupiter Feretrius, were believed to have been built in the time of Romulus. Under the name of Iupiter Capitolinus, he presided over the great Roman games; and under the name of Iupiter Latialis or Latiaris, over the Feriae Latinae.

Iupiter, according to the belief of the Romans, determined the course of all human affairs. He foresaw the future, and the events happening in it were the results of his will. He revealed the future to men through signs in the heavens and the flight of birds, which are hence called his messengers, while the god himself is designated as Prodigiālis—that is, “sender of prodigies.” For the same reason the god was invoked at the beginning of every undertaking, whether sacred or profane, together with Ianus, who blessed the beginning itself. Iupiter was further regarded 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 from the Tarpeian Rock.

As Iupiter was the lord of heaven, and consequently 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 (albogaleri), and the consuls were attired in white when they offered sacrifices in the Capitol the day they entered on their office. The worship of Iupiter at Rome was under the special care of the Flamen Dialis, who was the highest in rank of all the flamens. (See Flamen.) The Romans, in their representations of the god, adopted the type of the Greek Zeus (see Zeus); but the Roman conception of Iupiter differs from the Greek conception of Zeus in being more purely animistic as distinct from anthropomorphic. Hence we do not find Iupiter as the subject of plastic art until the later (Graeco-Roman) period. Cf. Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, i. pp. 41, 52, 53 (Amer. ed. 1888).

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