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, faithfulness, and good faith (bona fides) in ancient Roman religion.[1][2] She was one of the original virtues to be considered an actual religious divinity.[3] Fides is everything that is required for "honour and credibility, from fidelity in marriage, to contractual arrangements, and the obligation soldiers owed to Rome."[4] Fides also means reliability, "reliability between two parties, which is always reciprocal." and "bedrock of relations between people and their communities",[5] and then it was turned into a Roman deity and from which we gain the English word, 'fidelity'.[6]

The Roman deity may have an example in Regulus "who refuses to save himself at the expense of the Republic. Regulus defied his own best interests for those of his country. In this act alone, he acted with fides."[4]


Her temple, the Temple of Fides on the Capitoline Hill,[1] was also called the Fides Publica and Fides Publica Populi Romani.[7] 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.[7]

Worship and depiction

She was also worshipped under the name Fides Publica Populi Romani ("Public (or Common) Trust of the Roman People").[8] 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.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Peck, Harry Thurston (1898). "Fides (2)". Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York: Harper and Brothers.
  2. ^ a b c  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSchmitz, Leonhard (1870). "Fides". In Smith, William (ed.). 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 Perley, Sara. "Fides Romana: Aspects of fides in Roman diplomatic relations during the conquest of Iberia" (PDF). University of Otago. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  5. ^ "God of the Month: Fides". Neptune's Dolphins.
  6. ^ Pfingsten, Max. "Roman Virtues and Stoicism -" (PDF). goblues.org. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b L. Richardson, Jr., A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).
  8. ^ Samuel Ball Platner (revised by Thomas Ashby) (1929). "Aedes Fidei". A Topography of Ancient Rome. p. 209.
  9. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:21