I have always been inspired by the simplicity and practicality of ancient Roman culture. Every student or enthusiast of philosophy finds Stoicism or Epicureism relatively easy to understand. Moreover, teachings of these ancient philosophical systems are highly applicable in real life situations. This is what makes them so popular these days. In my second book, Wintertide Rites, I wrote quite a lot about ancient Roman virtues. I also gave some practical examples of how our ancestors emulated these honourable qualities. Before we continue, here is some fiery, martial and solar music that you may want to consider listening to:
What follows is a list of four ancient Roman virtues that I consider worth emulating in our daily lives:
Someone who has pietas exhibits the qualities of devotion, loyalty, and filial piety. In religious terms, Pietas was a divine personification of a respectful and faithful attachment to gods, country, superiors, and relatives, especially teachers and parents. Pietas had a temple in Rome, consecrated in 181 BCE, and was frequently depicted on coins as a female figure carrying a palm twig and a sceptre, or as a matron casting incense upon an altar, sometimes accompanied by a stork, which was the symbol of filial piety.
In Vedic tradition, it was essential to offer our respectful obeisances to elders and guru figures, even if they were not perfect and had their flaws. In fact, honouring these people is one of traditional Vedic remedies for dealing with weak Saturn and Jupiter. According to Vedic astrologer, Komilla Sutton, if you honour the teacher who is teaching you at present, you will attract better and better teachers.
Someone who has firmitas exhibits the qualities of tenacity, firmness, and perseverance. During his campaign in Gaul, Julius Caesar was known for his extremely rapid advances done to manoeuvre around enemy formations. Despite hunger, cold, and fatigue, Caesar’s legionaries determinedly marched through Gaul. Had it not been for the virtue of firmitas exemplified by these soldiers, the conquest and subjugation of Gaul would not have been possible.
In Vedic astrology, Mars and Saturn are two planets that help us deal with obstacles. While Mars deals with immediate problems (such as escaping from a burning building or protecting yourself from a mugger), Saturn gives perseverance to overcome long-term troubles (such as surviving in wilderness) or accept undesirable situations that we cannot change (such as chronic diseases). Its strength in natal chart shows a person’s capacity for patience and tolerance for discomfort.
Someone who has frugalitas exhibits the qualities of frugality, simplicity, sobriety, and temperance. These are all Saturnian traits. The Stoic philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius spoke highly of simplicity in his famous work Meditations:
Take the shortest route, the one that nature planned – to speak and act in the healthiest way. Do that, and be free of pain and stress, free of all calculation and pretention.
Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.
If you seek tranquility, do less. Or do what’s essential – what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’
In Vedic astrology, a strong natal Saturn helps a person separate them from distractions or undesirable situations and relationships, so that he or she can direct their attention towards something better and more fulfilling. If we don’t get rid of things that we no longer need, it’s just a matter of time when these things cause problems.
Someone who has gravitas exhibits the qualities of seriousness, dignity, self-control, and a sense of responsibility. Such a person does not easily give in to frivolous behaviour or excessive levity. For ancient Romans, gravitas was one of the main prerequisites for being a good leader. Regardless of whether one was a military tribune or a consul, an attitude of solemn dignity was highly praised.
In this strange modern age of memes and endless entertainment, it is essential for us to evaluate what we direct our attention to. While there is a time and a place for joking and having fun, the purpose of life is not just to have fun. In the words of Marcus Aurelius:
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. If you would like to learn more about ancient Roman religious and philosophical beliefs, I highly recommend you to read my book Wintertide Rites.
If you would like to emulate these ancient virtues more efficiently by mastering your natal planets, please check out my updated SERVICES section. I have recently added a new reading option (Behaviour Reading), which focuses on how the planetary strengths and weaknesses (Shadbala) inherent to your horoscope have shaped your behaviour and personality.
May the deities protect you,