This gallery is a visual guide to Roman mythology. It includes some of the more influential or popular deities, heroes and spirits from Roman mythology, and their identifying features. Roman mythology was a collection of legends and traditions that developed to help them understand the world and their place in it. It included legendary traditions about the founding of Rome and the creation of the world. Roman religion was partly founded on these myths, particularly the gods and heroes described in them. Many Roman deities increased in importance while others receded over the course of Roman history as traditional pantheons were reinterpreted. Roman beliefs were heavily influenced by Etruscan and Greek mythology early in Roman history, which they absorbed and incorporated into Roman mythology. As the Roman Empire expanded, it was also influenced by Near Eastern and Egyptian mythology.