God of the Month: Fides

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Roman morality is governed by two sets of virtues – personal and public. These thirty-one virtues give Romans their moral, physical and spiritual grounding. Personal virtues are the qualities that ordinary people should aspire to. Meanwhile, public virtues are for the community to govern itself by. Because of their importance to Roman life, many of the public virtues have become deities.

Often mistaken to mean “faith,” fides is defined as “reliability between two parties, which is always reciprocal.” Fides is an essential quality for those who are in the public arena such as politicians. Since fides is the bedrock of relations between people and their communities, this virtue is now a Roman Goddess.

Rome’s second king, Numa Pompilius began the annual rites to Fides Publica (Public Trust) on October 1. Her temple in Rome held the state treaties. One of the oldest of Roman Gods, Fides holds the same place of importance with Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter the Best and Brightest) and Dius Fidius, the God of Oathtaking.

Salve Fides!
May we keep the trust of others.
May they keep our trust.
Let us have mutual faith.
Both are needed
For society to thrive.
Salve Fides!

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4 thoughts on “God of the Month: Fides

  1. It is interesting that the Romans had cults of Gods that represented cultural, political and elevated qualities, usually to govern the public affairs of their city (and later Empire). Because the Greeks lacked such cults, some of their philosophers engaged in a great deal of argumentative allegory (blasphemous usually, in the traditional view) to explain myths and “theological” functions and positions in the universe. It seems then that what the Greeks had as a problem of individualism was a collective benefit for the Romans. This may be because the Roman authorities (whether royal, senatorial or imperial) held greater power over the regulation of religion and lay distant from Eastern influences of Persian Magi and itinerant teachers who later influenced the individual views of Greek philosophers.

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  2. Pingback: GODS OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER | Neptune's Dolphins

  3. Pingback: Romanitas: The Character of Being a Roman | Neptune's Dolphins

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