Names of the Week: Fides and Elpis

Statue of Fides, from

This week, I’m being a little naughty and doing two female names, and to compensate, I’ll go into male variants of the two names. And apologies for the lack of Names of the Week post last week.

This post sort of comes as a step up from the resurge of virtue names, by looking at Goddesses of virtues, or rather, two Goddesses of virtue which I particularly enjoy.
Our first name is Fides, who was the Roman Goddess of Truth, it was her function to oversee the moral integrity of the Romans and she was represented as a young woman crowned with an olive branch, holding a turtle or cup, and wearing a white stola or veil.
Fides was closely associated with Jupiter, and was honoured with a temple built near his on the Capitoline Hill in 254 bc; in symbolic recognition of the secret, inviolable trust between gods and mortals, attendants presented sacrificial offerings to her with covered hands.
In the later Roman period, she was known as Fides Publica Populi Romani (as in, Public Trust of the Roman People), and was considered the guardian of treaties amnogst other things. On a side note, Romani is a nice name.
Traditionally, Rome’s second king, Numa Pompilius, instituted a yearly festival devoted entirely to Fides, and established that the major priests travel to her temple in a covered chariot, which would be drawn by two horses. Whilst conducting her services, theyir heads would be covered, and right hands wrapped up to the fingers as an indication of absolute devotion to her and to symbolise trust.
The bad side of this name? Fido. The Latin for I trust, but also the petname for you loving pet…dog.
Male names which mean truth:
  • Amin, arabic
  • Arash, persian
  • Kenshin, japanese
Then we have Elpis, who is most notable for her mention in the story of Pandora’s Box, when after all the evils inside were unleashed, the only spirit left was the only thing left in the box was the spirit of hope, Elpis, who in Greek mythology is the personification of hope.
Aesop’s Fables say of the legend:
Zeus gathered all the useful things together in a jar and put a lid on it. He then left the jar in human hands. But man had no self-control and he wanted to know what was in that jar, so he pushed the lid aside, letting those things go back to the abode of the gods. So all the good things flew away, soaring high above the earth, and Spes / Elpis (Hope) was the only thing left. When the lid was put back on the jar, Elpis (Hope) was kept inside. That is why Elpis (Hope) alone is still found among the people, promising that she will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away.
This make Elpis a truely unique name to bear, as she has this wonderful mythology of hope around her, and it’s rather uplighting, don’t you think?
Elpis is depicted as a young woman carrying flowers in her arms. Her opposite is Moros, the spirit of hopelessness and doom.
Like Fides, she has her drawbacks, notably, the ending syllable, which has a solution. Modern Greece uses the variant name, Elpida, as opposed to Elpis. We also have Elpidus, the male version.
Male names which mean hope:
  • Imeda, georgian
  • Kouki, japanese
  • Omid, persian
  • Toivo, finnish
Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Fides and Elpis

  1. Cole

    I find myself drawn to Fides, she’s rather beautiful.


  2. Pingback: Weekend Post: Praying for Norway « Mer de Noms

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