Romans in space


you kinda have it backwards, I belive it was the Romans who named those planets (unless I am hugely mistaken). Astronology was one of the sciences that the Romans excelled at. As for the space missions being named after roman gods, they probably were just continuing with the theme, or like us, think mythology sounds cool :p


Myths are cool! And since Western civilization is so heavily influenced by Classical myth, they wanted to continue the tradition, as when Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered centuries later.

The naming of the planets predates the Greeks and Romans as well. Mesopotamian astronomers associated the planets, or wandering stars, with their own deities. For example, Nabu the god of writing and messenger of the gods was assigned the fastest travelling planet. Ishtar, the goddess of beauty, was associated with the brightest planet.

Babylonian astrology and astronomy influenced Greece and Rome, and in some cases the names of the planets were associated with their own gods. The Romans were excellent syncretists and found ways to associate incorporate the gods of other cultures with their own to expand their influence, even cultures like Mesopotamia that were more powerful before the Romans' time.

The Romans identified Nabu with Mercury, and Ishtar with Venus, and so on. When Rome became the height of power in Europe, its gods were adopted as the choice names for the planets into the Middle Ages and up to present day. So our popular astronomy and space names have a predominantly Roman influence.