Like most of the really big Roman Gods, JUPITER started out as a primeval nature deity. A Sky God, he was in charge of the fundamental forces of nature and ruled the weather with an iron grip and a big stick.
When Greek culture began to influence Roman thought, JUPITER took on the attributes of ZEUS — with added Latin. With his forceful personality, he became King of the Gods and the special protector of Rome.
The Romans were always keen to get the Gods on their side and JUPITER was definitely a force to be reckoned with — especially with his thunderbolt-hurling propensities. They awarded him many flattering titles and put him in charge of their entire legal and political system.
Worshipped as Optimus Maximus, the all-powerful good guy, JUPITER kept order and brought prosperity to the nation. As Jupiter Victor he led the Roman army to victory in wars and conquests time and time again. In fact he was probably the Roman Empire’s greatest asset after plumbing.
Of course it all went terribly wrong in the end and the Empire fell. Perhaps JUPITER was offended by the deification of human emperors, particularly the later ones who were a bit rubbishy. Or maybe the new-fangled Christianity craze was the final insult. Either way, JUPITER withdrew his support and sloped off, leaving the Romans to fend for themselves.
Where is he now? Enjoying a well-earned grouchy retirement? Still hurling thunderbolts? Communing with the eagles? All sightings gratefully received. You can’t miss him, he has a Godly beard, holds a thunderbolt and is stark naked.