Salus, The Goddess of security, welfare, health, and prosperity

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Salus was the Roman goddess of security, welfare, health, and prosperity for both the individual and the state.

Her name means “salvation” or “welfare.” She is frequently compared to the Greek goddess Hygieia, despite the fact that their roles are very different. One of the first Roman deities, Salus has also been called Salus Semonia. The obscure ritual of the Augurium Salutis, celebrated annually on August 5 for the preservation of the Roman state, attests to the high antiquity and significance of the religion of Salus. All of Italy was affected by her cult. Relationships with Spes and Fortuna are mentioned in literary texts.

Salus was frequently depicted sitting with her legs crossed (a typical Securitas posture), her elbow resting on the arm of her throne. Her right hand frequently extends a patera, a small dish used during religious rituals, to feed a snake that is coiling itself around an altar. The snake raises its head and leans toward the patera.

Featured image: A statuette of Salus (c. 69-192 A.D.; Roman Imperial Period) by an anonymous sculptor; marble. Located in the Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, South Carolina).

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