The myths of the Romans are stories not about the gods but about the Romans themselves. Writers such as Livy, Virgil and Ovid presented myths as if they were actual histories of the origins and early days of Rome. The stories of Aeneas, Romulus and Remus and the "Seven Kings" give varying accounts of the founding of the city; Rome's destiny - her divinely fore-ordained rise to power - is stressed in all of them. Some myths provided models of virtuous and public-spirited behaviour which all citizens were encouraged to emulate. The myths could add lustre to the reputations of Rome's ruling families and stress their fitness for power, by describing past acts of heroism and civic duty. Roman myths were, in short, propaganda.
Introduction - the nature of Roman myths; Aeneas and the destiny of Rome; founding fathers - Romulus and kings of Rome; the hero and the state; legendary ladies; some gods old and new; cults and festivals.