Roman Gods and Goddesses

Ceramic bust of an unknown god or person found at Fishergate Postern - Yorkshire Museum, York

The Roman Empire was tolerant of many forms of religion and worship.  There were hundreds of gods and goddesses worshipped by people who lived throughout the provinces. 

Objects uncovered in York itself are dedicated to many different gods, including Hercules,Minerva, Mars, Mercury and Venus, as well as gods whose names we don't now know. 

York at the time was a cosmopolitan city and there is carved evidence that the Egyptian goddess Isis and her consort Serapis were worshipped.  There is also clear evidence that the secretive mystery cult following the Persian god Mithras was active in Roman York.

Gods and spirits were used to represent and understand nearly all things. Their divine powers were called upon to help overcome all of life’s problems.

Christianity was legalised as a religion by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.  It had been practised for centuries before but in secret.  In the decades that followed Constantine’s proclamation open worship became more common as did the open display of images and symbols associated with Christ.