Jupiter was the Roman King of the Gods, Supreme deity of the Roman pantheon, God of the sky and heavens and the champion of the Roman people.
The Romans exalted the worship of Jupiter above all other gods. He presided over Rome and its ever-expanding empire and his blessings were sought to secure victories and maintain control over rivals.
Jupiter was worshipped by the Romans in the first and truly magnificent Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (“Temple of Jupiter, the Best and Greatest”), which stood grandly on the Capitoline Hill. As was appropriate for its namesake God, The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus was the largest and most important temple in Ancient Rome and was dedicated on September 13, 509 BC. The temple was surrounded by the Area Capitolina, where the Romans celebrated their victories and culture through shrines, altars, statues and trophies.
The temple was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times during its long reign over the Roman skyline. It first burned down in 83 BC, and it was rebuilt and burned down twice more. The fourth build of the temple lasted until the fall of the empire. Ruins can still be seen today including portions of the temple podium and foundations.
The Temple of Jupiter also lives on through the second Medici lion, sculptured by Flaminio Vacca from one of its capitals (the top of a column).
Under the basking glory of the temple, Roman civilization expanded and the city grew. One of the most ancient streets in the city of Rome was Vicus Tuscus who some believe was initially settled by the ancients who built the Temple of Jupiter. Viscus Tuscus was alive with markets and traders, including the influential merchants who were expert dealers of incense and perfume.
The Ancient Romans were great believers in the power of perfume and incense. It was used to revere the gods, with unique scents celebrating different occasions. Elegant Romans were drawn to the magical properties of perfume which could heal ailments or reach the otherworldly realms. In fact, the Latin term of perfume derives from “per fumum” (“from smoke”).