Fides: loyalty, devotion, faith, honesty

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to start a new topic, which will take a while. In fact I’m going to explain the Roman virtues, in order to show you how important they were in that society.

The Roman virtues were known as mos maiorum, ancestors’ manners, because they resulted from the first Romans’ way of life. At the beginning, they were handed down by word of mouth, thanks to religious ministers. According to some ancient writers, like Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the first two Roman kings started to write these manners creating laws. Later a lot of people, from writers to officials, from commanders to emperors, were insipired by the mos maiorum.

It’s a Latin word which means loyalty, devotion, faith and honesty. It is related with trusting in one’s word. The idea of good faith in legal studies comes from this Roman value. It is absolutely important because in the Roman age verbal agreements were very common. Romans could trust in one’s word and agree on a deal due to the fact that fides was one of the basic virtues of Roman society. The idea of fides was common not only in business, but also in everyday relationships: masters and slaves, patrons and clients, husband and wife.
There was also a temple in which people could worship the goddess Fides, which was built in Rome in 254 BC, close to the temple of Jupiter.
8767627366_c53c0182e1According to Romans’ opinion, the goddess lived in the right hand, which is the hand used for oaths and for concluding agreements. That’s why today we use that hand to take an oath on a civil or religious book while we are taking part in a trial.


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