What's in a name?

05/02/2018

Kelly Perez, Adjunct Professor; Philosophy

Ever wonder why the Romans changed the names of the Greek gods when they adopted them? When Roman emerged from the dust, it understood one thing, to maintain the lands that you conquered you must make the common people think they benefit in some way, if not, you will have anarchy and civil war. Alongside this civil affairs problem such as that, the Romans had to established themselves as a strong internal nation and did so by associating their surrounding lands and past with supernatural deities. When Rome conquered the Greeks, they didn't 'take' their gods and rename them, they simply told the Greeks that their gods already exist for themselves as well but we have come to know them by a different name. The Greeks worshiped the almighty Zeus as the leader of the gods whereas the Romans claimed to worship the same god but, called him Apollo. The Romans were smart in that they told the conquered Greeks they did not have to address their gods with the Roman name of the god but instead continue to use the Greek name. Over generations, the Greek name died out and the later generations assimilated smoothly into the Roman culture.