Viridios

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Reverse of Limestone figurative carving recovered in Ancaster and dedicated to Viridios, probably an altar piece depicting a naked man.

Viridios, or Viridius is the supposed deified masculine spirit of verdure, in ancient Roman Britain.

Centres of worship[edit]

Viridios was worshipped in Roman Britain and altar-stones raised to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, at Ancaster. Ancaster is so far the only place where inscriptions to this god have been found. The Latin name "Visidius" is known from Cicero as the name of a brave and loyal Roman soldier ("Vis" means strength and force"). As the Ancaster inscriptions are in Latin it is therefore not unlikely that the name (as there is a similar Latin name documented) is also in Latin. The name is used in the form of the dative meaning "to"(the god). The nominative form, and therefore the name of this god would be Viridius [1] There are two possible Latin derivations: 1. "vir" meaning "man" plus the suffix "-idius" ( meaning "resembling" from the Greek "idios") In this case the Ancaster God Viridius could have been "Jupiter" under a different name. 2. "viridis" meaning "green, fresh, young verdant". The Ancaster God could then have been a God of Spring or of Agriculture. As Ancaster is a rural, traditionally agricultural place this makes sense too.

The Ancaster inscriptions[edit]

An inscribed stone, found in an Ancastrian church and originally part of an archway, says:

DEO VIRIDIO TRENICO ARCVM FECIT DE SVO DON

"For the god Viridius, Trenico made this arch, donated from his own funds."

Channel 4's archaeological television programme Time Team uncovered a second inscription, part of a late Roman or early Dark Age burial:

DIO VRIDI SANCTO

"To the holy god Viridius ..."

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