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Fides

(1,654 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
[German version] I. Religion F. is the cultically venerated personification of faith and veracity [1]. According to Varro (Ling. 5,74), she had been adopted in Rome from the Sabini; her cult is still in evidence at the end of the 2nd cent. AD (Tert. Apol. 24,5). F. is depicted as a woman, her head adorned with a garland or veil, dressed in a   chitṓn and péplos [2]. She appears frequently in poetry, but rarely in prose. She was considered to be a very ancient deity (Sil. Pun. 1,329f.; 2,484ff.) and therefore referred to as cana (Verg. Aen. 1,292). According to Agathocles Perì Kyzíkou (Fest. 328 L…

Truth

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Sauer, Werner (Graz) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
(ἀλήθεια/ alḗtheia; Latin veritas). [German version] I. Philosophy It was in a didactic poem by Parmenides (about 500 BC) that alḗtheia was first elevated from an element of colloquial language to a central philosophical term. In that poem, the goddess teaches the poet to distinguish the truth (ἀληθείη/ alētheíē) from the mere illusion of human opinions (δόξαι/ dóxai) (28 B 1 and 8 DK). Only that which is (or 'being') is true, for what is not can be neither thought nor expressed (28 B 2, 3 and 8 DK); and that which is (being) is a single entity. Parme…

Pistis

(1,359 words)

Author(s): Polleichtner, Wolfgang (Würzburg) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
(Πίστις/ Pístis). [German version] A. Religion P. is the personification of the Greek goddess of loyalty and faith. Except for Thgn. 1137 (2nd half of the 6th cent. BC), P. rarely appears as a deity, and only very late. She had a cult of which at least a shrine in Athens can be identified in Diogenianus 2,80. P. was regarded by the Romans as equivalent to Fides . It was not until Christianity that the term pistis came to mean a belief in revealed truth (see section E below). Polleichtner, Wolfgang (Würzburg) [German version] B. Philosophy According to Parmenides, πίστις ἀληθῆς ( pístis alēthês, …

Spes

(423 words)

Author(s): Bloch, René (Berne) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
(The Roman personification of 'hope'). [German version] I. Roman Unlike the Greek Elpis, Spes ('Hope') had a cult and temples. In the 1st Punic War, A. Atilius [I 14] Calatinus dedicated a temple to Spes on the Forum Holitorium in Rome (Cic. Leg. 2,28; Tac. Ann. 2,49). The building burned down on several occasions (Liv. 25,7,6; Cass. Dio 50,10,3); there was a rededication under Germanicus in AD 17; the remains of the temple are visible in the church of St. Nicola in Carcere. According to Liv. 2,51,2 and …

Pneuma

(949 words)

Author(s): Tieleman, Teun (Leeuwarden) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
(πνεῦμα/ pneûma; Lat. spiritus). [German version] A. General The primary meaning of pneuma (< πνέω/ pnéō, 'blow, waft ') is wind or breath. In scientific and philosophical literature, the term gradually acquired a more technical meaning. In the Hellenistic and subsequent periods, pneuma is a central idea in a number of important medical and natural-philosophical (including theological) systems. Tieleman, Teun (Leeuwarden) [German version] B. Historical overview As early as the 5th and 4th cents. BC, pneuma is used as an explanatory principle for physiological processes…

Spiritus

(498 words)

Author(s): Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
[German version] [1] Breath or spirit ('breath', 'spirit'). Büchli, Jörg (Zürich) [German version] I. Graeco-Roman The Latin word spiritus (denominative from spirare 'blow', 'breathe') describes any stream of air, also the breathing in and out of life-giving air, and hence even life itself. Thus in Cicero (Rosc. Am. 72) spiritus is what is common to all living beings. Unlike Greek pneûma , spiritus has a more anthropological/moral accentuation and it also describes self-reliance, positively as courage, self-confidence, pride, enthusiasm, negatively as arro…