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Fides (deity)

Pompeia Plotina coin, celebrating Fides on the reverse.
The turtle-dove, a traditional emblem of Fides.[1]

Fides (Latin: Fidēs) was the goddess of trust and bona fides (good faith) in Roman paganism.[1][2] She was one of the original virtues to be considered an actual religious divinity.[3]


Her temple, the Temple of Fides on the Capitoline Hill,[1] was also called the Fides Publica and Fides Publica Populi Romani.[4] Dedicated by Aulus Atilius Calatinus, and restored by M. Aemilius Scaurus, the structure was surrounded by a display of bronze tables of laws and treaties, and was occasionally used for Senate meetings.[4]

Worship and depiction

She was also worshipped under the name Fides Publica Populi Romani ("Public (or Common) Trust of the Roman People").[5] She is represented as a young woman crowned with an olive or laurel wreath,[2] holding in her hand a turtle-dove,[1] fruits or grain,[2] or a military ensign. She wears a white veil.[1]

Traditionally Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius, was said to have instituted a yearly ceremony devoted to Fides Publica in which the major priests (the three flamines maiores—Dialis, Martialis, and Quirinalis) were to be borne to her temple in a covered arched chariot drawn by two horses on 1 October.[1] There they should conduct her services with their heads covered and right hands wrapped up to the fingers to indicate absolute devotion to her and to symbolise trust.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Harry Thurston Peck (1898). "Fides (2)". Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Perseus Hopper. New York: Harper and Brothers. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  2. ^ a b c  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLeonhard Schmitz, Leonhard (1870). "Fides". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Latin Word Study Tool, Perseus Project, Tufts University.
  3. ^ Adams, John Paul (May 2009). "The Roman Concept of Fides". Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures College of Humanities, California State University Northridge.
  4. ^ a b L. Richardson, Jr., A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).
  5. ^ Samuel Ball Platner (revised by Thomas Ashby) (1929). "Aedes Fidei". A Topography of Ancient Rome. Lacus Curtius. p. 209.
  6. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:21