From NovaRoma
Revision as of 19:28, 26 August 2009 by Gaius Equitius Cato (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Ops, more properly Opis, (Latin: "plenty") is a fertility deity and earth-goddess in Roman mythology of Sabine origin.

Her husband is Saturn, the bountiful monarch of the Golden Age. Just as Saturn is identified with the Greek deity Cronus, Ops is identified with Rhea, Cronus' wife. Opis is not only the wife of Saturn, she is His sister and the daughter of Caelus. Her children are Iuppiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres and Vesta. Opis also acquired queenly status and was reputed to be an eminent goddess and the Mother of the Gods. By public decree temples, priests, and sacrifices were accorded Her.

In Her statues and coins, Ops is figured sitting down, as Chthonian deities normally are, and generally holds a scepter or a corn spike as Her main attributes. In Latin writings of the time, the singular nominative (Ops) is not used; only the form Opis is attested by classical authors. According to Festus (203:19), "Opis is said to be the wife of Saturn. By her they designated the earth, because the earth distributes all goods to the human genus" (Opis dicta est coniux Saturni per quam uolerunt terram significare, quia omnes opes humano generi terra tribuit). The Latin word ops means "riches, goods, abundance, gifts, munificence, plenty". The word is also related to opus, which means "work", particularly in the sense of "working the earth, ploughing, sowing". This activity was deemed sacred, and was often attended by religious rituals intended to obtain the good will of chthonic deities such as Ops and Consus. Ops is also related to the Sanskrit word ápnas ("goods, property").

The cult of Ops was (mythically) instituted by King Titus Tatius, the Sabine monarch. Ops soon became the patroness of riches, abundance, and prosperity, both on a personal and national level. Ops had a famous temple in the Capitolium. Originally, a festival took place in Ops' honor on August 10. Additionally, on December 19 (some say December 9), the Opalia was celebrated. On August 25, the Opiconsivia was held. Opiconsivia was another name used for Opis, indicating when the earth was sown.


Personal tools