Un pantheon per le virtù: antropologia delle divinità ideali a Roma

Laura R. Bevilacqua


This paper explores a distinctive feature of Roman religion: that for each relevant area of Roman life, there are peculiar gods with matched powers. In particular, I focus on nine divinities known to scholarship as "abstract divinities" or "personifications": Concordia, Fides, Honos, Mens, Pietas, Pudicitia, Salus, Victoria and Virtus. They enjoy a special place in the Roman pantheon and we should instead name them "ideal divinities" since they really are a part of a whole in the divine taxonomy. They are in accordance with an anthropological pattern of attitudes, and serve, as it were, as a kind of handbook for the Roman citizen. I analyze the main attributes of these divinities as the Romans themselves described them: virtues that have a human essence and are functional for the community. There is also a slight distinction to be made. Some of them are intrinsic to humankind, while others are what every citizen is supposed to aim for. I also scrutinize the history of the subject matter: whereas I agree with categorizing such gods as "personifications", I strongly believe that designating them as abstract or concrete is not practicable.

Bevilacqua_Un_Pantheon_per_le_virtù.pdf412.02 KB