Ops, Opi, the Roman Fertility Goddess

| |

Ops or Opis is a Roman archaic fertility deity that represents the earth and distributes agricultural plenty of Sabine origin.

Her equivalent in Greek mythology was Rhea. She is shown in Ops’ statues and coinage sitting seated, as Chthonian goddesses typically are, and usually holding a scepter or a cornucopia and corn spray. Saturn was Ops’s spouse in Roman mythology.

Titus Tatius, one of the Sabine rulers of Rome, is credited by Roman legend with founding the worship of Opis. Opis quickly rose to the position of matron of wealth, abundance, and success. The Capitolium was home to the great temple of Opis. Originally, on August 10, a celebration was held in Opis’ honor. The Opalia was also celebrated on December 19 (other sources suggest December 9). The Opiconsivia was held on August 25. Opis also went by the name Opiconsivia, which denoted the time of the earth’s sowing. These celebrations also featured events referred to as Consualia in honor of her consort Consus.

When Opis is combined with Greek mythology, she is shown to be not only Saturn’s wife but also his sister and the offspring of Caelus (a.k.a. Uranus) and Tellus. Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta were her offspring. Opis was given royal rank and was thought to be a powerful goddess. She had legal authorization to use temples, priests, and sacrifices.

Saturn (as Cronus) devoured his offspring one by one when they were born after learning of a prophecy that his children via Opis would defeat him. Opis was unable to just stand, so she fed a boulder to Saturn instead of their last kid, Jupiter, after wrapping it in swaddling cloths. Later, Opis raised Jupiter in secret before assisting him in releasing his siblings from their father’s tummy.

Le livre des échecs amoureux moralisés, c.1401, Evrart de Conty. Jupiter castrating Saturn, Ops (goddess of plenty) handing out bread to the poor , Saturn-Kronos devouring her own children.

Featured image. Medallion with the Goddess Ops, Léonard Limosin, between 1540 and 1549

Last Updated on 2022/10/17


Parcae, the Three Fates


Get new posts by email:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.