Comparing Egyptian, Roman and Greek gods

Comparing Egyptian, Roman and Greek gods

Comparing Egyptian, Roman and Greek gods

Did the ancient civilisations have similar deities?

My novel The Echoes of Love references deities from the Romans; Aphrodite’s Tears draws strongly on the mythology of the Ancient Greeks; Song of the Nile is influenced by the rich history of Ancient Egypt. These mighty civilisations had many mighty gods and goddesses. But was each set of deities unique, or can we find overlap?

Ancient Egypt was a much older civilisation than that of the Greeks and Romans, and so its religion was firmly established long before gods like Zeus and goddesses like Venus were brought into existence. The Ancient Egyptian civilisation is usually dated from around 3100 BC to 332 BC. The Ancient Greek civilisation is usually seen as beginning in the 8th century BC and ending in the 6th century AD, while the Roman Empire spanned from 625 BC to 476 AD.

The end of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation came when Alexander the Great – a Macedonian Greek – invaded Egypt in 332 BC. Following this, Egypt was ruled by pharaohs of Greek heritage (the Ptolemaic dynasty), until the Romans conquered Egypt in 30 BC. The Greeks and Romans took on elements of the Egyptian culture; Cleopatra VII, for example, the last Ptolemaic ruler, worshipped the traditional Egyptian deities of Osiris, Isis and Horus. But the very old Egyptian religion was not the basis for the Ancient Greek and Roman religions: these had already been developing for centuries by that point.

Still, we can see a good deal of overlap between the pantheons of gods. Some of this will have been the result of humankind’s natural tendency to seek guidance and protection in certain forms, such as a mother deity, a deity devoted to war, a deity for love, etc. But certainly cross-cultural exchange over the ages influenced the development of the Ancient Greek and Roman religions – most notably, the Romans borrowed heavily from the Greeks in the designated roles of their deities.

Here is an interpretation of how we can match up major deities from the Egyptian, Greek and Roman religions according to their roles. The Greek and Roman pantheons are far more closely aligned, but we can also see interesting overlaps with the far older Egyptian pantheon.


Mother (queen) goddess

Egyptian: Isis

Greek: Hera

Roman: Juno


Father (king) god

Egyptian: Osiris (husband of Isis)

Greek: Zeus (husband of Hera)

Roman: Jupiter (husband of Juno)


Osiris, Anubis and Horus, Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt



Egyptian: Amun

Greek: Zeus

Roman: Jupiter



Egyptian: Isis

Greek: Selene

Roman: Luna



Egyptian: Ra

Greek: Helios

Roman: Sol


Helios relief, Temple of Athena, Troy



Egyptian: Nephthys

Greek: Nyx

Roman: Nox


Darkness, storms, chaos

Egyptian: Set

Greek: Typhoeus

Roman: Typh


Love, sex, beauty

Egyptian: Hathor, Isis

Greek: Aphrodite (also Eros)

Roman: Venus (also Cupid)


Sculpture of Venus by Antonio Canova, Galleria Borghese, Rome


Marriage and family

Egyptian: Hathor (also Mut)

Greek: Hera

Roman: Juno


Home and hearth

Egyptian: Anuket

Greek: Hestia

Roman: Vesta


Wisdom, the arts

Egyptian: Neith, Isis

Greek: Athena

Roman: Minerva


Statue of Athena, Athens, Greece


Egyptian: Geb

Greek: Cronus

Roman: Saturn


Light, prophecy, healing, music, poetry

Egyptian: Horus

Greek: Apollo

Roman: Apollo


Statue of Apollo, Athens, Greece


Fertility (people and agriculture)

Egyptian: Isis

Greek: Demeter

Roman: Ceres



Egyptian: Anhur, Montu, Sekhmet

Greek: Ares

Roman: Mars


Fire, metalwork, forges

Egyptian: Ptah

Greek: Hephaestus

Roman: Vulcan



Egyptian: Anubis

Greek: Thanatos

Roman: Mors


Anubis with the mummy of a pharaoh, Valley of the Kings


The afterlife, underworld

Egyptian: Osiris

Greek: Hades

Roman: Dis Pater, Pluto, Orcus


Transitions, travellers, commerce, thieves

Egyptian: Anubis, Thoth

Greek: Hermes

Roman: Mercury


Hunting, the wild, virginity, childbirth

Egyptian: Bastet

Greek: Artemis

Roman: Diana


‘Diana of Versailles’ or ‘Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt’, the Louvre, Paris


Revelry, ecstasy, wine

Egyptian: Osiris

Greek: Dionysus

Roman: Liber, Bacchus



Photo credits: 1) Dimitrios P/Shutterstock; 2) A. Parrot/Wikipedia; 3) Gryffindor/Wikipedia; 3) public domain/Wikipedia; 4) Dimitrios P/Shutterstock; 5) Vangelis aragiannis/Shutterstock; 6) Vladimir Melnik/Shutterstock; 7) Commonists/Wikipedia.


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