Today is the 2515th anniversary of the dedication of the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. Here are seven things you may not have known about Jupiter.
- His name isn’t really Jupiter- it’s Jove. Jupiter (Iuppiter in Latin) is derived from Iovis pater (father Jove).
- For the Romans he was the god of the sky (hence the thunder and lightening) and therefore the supreme god. He was also the patron god of Rome, and had the job of looking after laws and social order.
- His sacred bird was the eagle, and his favourite tree was the oak (though olive trees were sacred to him as well).
- He was married to Juno, who also happened to be his sister.
- One of his favourite tricks was to transform his appearance, and on different occasions he changed himself into a bull to seduce Europa, a shower of gold to seduce Danae, and a swan to seduce Leda.
- Jupiter had quite a lot of lovers. In fact the moons of the planet Jupiter (of which there are at least 63) have traditionally been named after his lovers, (such as Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) and their descendants.
- The French word for Thursday (Jeudi) is named after Jupiter, coming from the Latin Iovis dies. The word Thursday comes from Thor- the Norse equivalent of Jupiter. In German, Thursday is Donnerstag after the thunder of Thor/Jupiter (donner means thunder, blitzen is lightening).