As you may or may not know, the Roman gods are the same as the Greek gods, just with different names. Circle of the Moon uses the Roman names - their Greek names are also listed. Anyway, be sure to check out Mythology for plenty more information on these interesting characters.

Mercury was also known as Hermes. Wearing a winged hat and pair of shoes, he was the god of merchants, and of speed.

Venus was also known as Aphrodite. She was the goddess of love and beauty, and was often involved in all sorts of adventures in order to untangle her own romantic life.

Jupiter was also known as Zeus, who was the king of the gods. In addition to being a great and just ruler, he was also a bit of a ladies man. He's the father of Hercules as well.

Mars was also known as Ares, the god of war. He really didn't focus on much else other than conflict, though he was involved with an affair with Venus (Aphrodite). Unfortunately, Aphrodite had a husband (Hephaistos), and he was none too pleased with their shenanigans. He set up a trap that captured them mid-coitus and presented the couple to the gods. The females declined the look, but many of the males commented that they would gladly take Mars' place, given that Venus was one of the most gorgeous women around.

Diana was also known as Artemis, the Mistress of Animals. She was the goddess of the hunt, and was also associated with the moon. Despite being very lovely and gentle, she could also be very deadly with her bow, if she needed to be. She's also another one of Zeus' offspring (and sister to Apollo.)

Apollo's name is the same in Greek and Roman mythology. He is the god of the arts, as well as archery, and stands for virtues such order and harmony.

Also known as Poseiden, Neptune is the god of the sea. He's notorius for being extremely ill-tempered - he was the one who punished Odysseus for failing to worship him properly. Also one of Zeus' brothers.

Saturn is apparently only in Roman mythology - he is the protector of farming.

Also spelled "Ouranos", he is both the son and husband (!!) of Gaea, the earth goddess, he fathered the Titans, the beings who ruled before Zeus ruled Olympus.

Also known as Hades, he is the god of the Underworld, and brother of Zeus and Poseiden. Since he got stuck ruling the dastardly realm of the dead, Pluto got rather lonely and convinced his brother Zeus to let him kidnap one of his many daughters, Persephone. Despite these rather nasty circumstances, she grew to love him and spent part of every year in the underworld to be with him.

Growing up, I knew salamanders to be tiny little lizards that looked like worms with legs (and got squished just as easily.) According to legend though, salamanders are affiliated with fire and can also appear to be dragons, or at least larger lizards. They were also meant to aid magic and alchemy.

Snakes, pure and simple. They have since long been associated with evil. Satan took the form of a serpent when tempting Adam and Eve with the Forbidden Tree in the book Genesis in the bible.

Mandragora is the same name as the Mandrake plant. There's a legend that if you pull a mandrake root from the ground, it will let out an ear piercing shreak and kill you on the spot. In reality, there is apparently some poison in the root that would cause hallucinations and then death. Despite its danger, Mandrake roots are also said to have healing powers. It was believed to spring up from vile substances like dead criminals' semen - which is somewhat related to the story of Alraune (see the Enemy Myths section.)

The Golem story is also mentioned on the Enemies Mythology page, but here's the story again, from Jewish folklore. The Rabbi Loew of Prague, wanting to create a guardian for the weak and poor of the city, was created with a skeleton of tree sticks and flesh made of clay. He was brought to life, and made a servant of the people. He could take orders and learn, but he could not speak. Eventually, he experienced enough to grow a personality, and his power went to his head. The golem became a menace and the Rabbi had to dismantle him. There is still a statue of the Golem in Prague.

The Cockatrice is a combination of a rooster and a snake that, like many mythological creatures, could turn living beings into stone. If a chicken's egg was incubated and hatched by a serpent, then a Cockatrice would be born.

Yet another creature from Greek mythology, the manticore has the face of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of either a snake or a scorpian. They are filled with venom, and a slightest scratch or bite will cause instant death.

The Griffon is a large predatory animal that is a combination of an eagle and a lion. There are also several spellings for this creature, including "gryffon".

The Thunderbird is actually taken from legends of various Pacific Northwest Indian tribes (including the Winnebago and Quillayute tribes.) It is (obviously) a gigantic bird that can make thunder and lightning, and is the creator of storms. It is said to be in constant battle with the sea, and is the guardian spirit of the tribe.

The Unicorn is meant to be just like a horse, except slightly larger, with a single horn sticking out of its head. According to the Christian church, values such as meekness and chastity were attributed to the gentle beast. Its horn was said to have magical healing powers as well. According to folklore, the Unicorn became extinct when the last surviving creatures were thrown from Noah's Ark during the storm.

Black Dog
There is no specific creature called a black dog, but rather it is a legend. Much like the black cat, there was a superstition that if you saw a black dog, then either you or someone close to you would die. The story is of Scottish/British origin, and the creature is sometimes known as "Shuck". The sight of a black dog (and interpretation as a death omen) is what haunts Harry Potter through much of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Alright, there's no "Roc" card, but the item that lets you super-jump is called a Roc's Feather and I didn't know where else to put this. Anyway, a Roc is simply a very, very large bird whose feathers may grant magical powers. In some stories (like those old Sinbad movies) the Roc was two-headed.

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History - Circle of the Moon DSS Card Origins