She is the Goddess of agreement in marriage and in civic society. Harmonia is the Greek equivalent. Concordia had her first Temple by the Forum in Rome.
Today is also the birthday of Pax and her Greek equivalent, Irene. She is the Goddess of Peace and the daughter of Jupiter and the Justitia, Goddess of Justice. This suggests that a lasting peace can only be assured by strength and justice. Pax had her festival on the 30th January. Ovid in Fasti writes:
Book I: January 30
My song has led to the altar of Peace itself.
This day is the second from the month’s end.
Come, Peace, your graceful tresses wreathed
With laurel of Actium: stay gently in this world.
While we lack enemies, or cause for triumphs:
You’ll be a greater glory to our leaders than war.
May the soldier be armed to defend against arms,
And the trumpet blare only for processions.
May the world far and near fear the sons of Aeneas,
And let any land that feared Rome too little, love her.
Priests, add incense to the peaceful flames,
Let a shining sacrifice fall, brow wet with wine,
And ask the gods who favour pious prayer
That the house that brings peace, may so endure.
Now the first part of my labour is complete,
And as its month ends, so does this book.
Translated by A. S. Kline 2004 (Tony has a lovely site here: where he makes his translations freely available.)
The coin above is of Julia Aquilia Severa. She was a vestal virgin, who married the Emperor Elagabalus (c. 204 – 11/12 March 222). She was his 2nd and also his 4th wife, despite the fact a vestal virgin was normally buried alive, if found having lost her virginity.
But I probably should say ‘her 2nd and 4th wife’ as some sources suggest he wanted to be known as a woman. The Wikipedia page of his wife has Elagabalus with the pronoun, ‘Her’ while her own web page, ‘Elagabalus’ calls her ‘him’ throughout. Clear? She married several women and was said by some to be married to several men and to have prostituted herself in Taverns and Brothels. Wikipedia says:
‘In November 2023, the North Hertfordshire Museum in Hitchin, United Kingdom, announced that Elagabalus would be considered as transgender and hence referred to with female pronouns in its exhibits due to claims that the emperor had said “call me not Lord, for I am a Lady”‘
Elagabalus was born Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus, and adopted the name of Elagabalus as he sought to raise the religion of the Syrian Sun God Elagabal to the top of the Roman Pantheon of Gods. He himself was from Syrian. Varius rose to power partly because of his strong Grandmother, Julia Maesa, who was the sister of Julia Domna, the wife of Septimus Severus, (who lived for some time in York). His rule was fairly chaotic, and he lost power, when his Grandmother transferred support to his cousin, Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were assassinated.
Here, is a fascinating article in the Guardian about the kind of peace the Romans brought to Europe. ‘Their heads were nailed to trees.’
Pax & Tagging
Posh boys in England, playing tagging games, used to shout ‘Pax’ to claim immunity or to call a temporary halt in the contest. I remember we used to use the word ‘vainites’ as well as pax. Others use ‘barley’. Wikipedia has a list of other terms used as ‘truce’ words in tagging games.