According to Roman mythology, the Roman God Ops is an earth Goddess and a fertility deity. Ops is also referred to as Opis, which is the Latin word for plenty. Opis is married to Saturn of the Golden Age. Saturn is identified with Cronus, the Greek deity and considered a bountiful monarch. Ops is identified with the wife of Cronus, Rhea. Ops is also the sister of Saturn in addition to his wife.
Her mother is Caelus, and her children are Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Ceres, Juno and Vesta. The queenly status of Ops was said to come from the Mother of the Gods and an eminent Goddess. The name Ops is connected to copia, inops, opulentus and opimus.
Ops was highly regarded as Saturn’s wife. She was considered the protector of anything linked to agriculture. Those wishing to make vows or invoke Ops did so by touching the ground since it was believed she lived within the earth. The people believed the places they lived and their food were gifts from Ops. She cared for the new born children as well. There was an intimate connection between Ops and Saturn for the worshipers. The couple shared numerous festivals and temples. Ops also had separate places of worship in sanctuaries near the temple of Saturn in Vicus Jugarius and on the Capitol. She additionally shared an alter with Ceres.
Legend says the treasure chest of the state was brought by Caesar to her temple on the Capitol so it could be protected by Ops. She had other temples in Rome including the Ops Opifera. Her festivals are referred to as Opiconsivia and Opalia. These names are derived from Consive, her surname and linked to the verb serere or to sow. On December 19th, the Opalia was celebrated. On August 25th there was a ceremony at the Regia on the Forum at the alter to celebrate Ops Consiva. This is the only day the Vestal Virgins and the official priest were able to approach the altar. An additional festival took place on the temple of Ops of August 10th.
Saturn was Ops husband, the sower and the protector. He was the supreme ruler of the universe but a prophecy stated he would be overthrown by one of his children and lose his throne. Saturn vowed to prevent this from happening by doing everything he possibly could to prevent it. He then swallowed every child born by his wife. Ops wanted at least one her her children to be protected. When Jupiter, her sixth son was born, she took a stone and wrapped it in swaddling clothes and hid her child. Saturn believed the rock was his new child and swallowed the rock the same as he had all of his other children. Jupiter remained safe and was raised far away so he could be protected.
Once Jupiter was grown, he made the decision to take control and overthrow his father. He additionally decided to save his siblings. He took the job of cup bearer for his father and eventually managed to add a potion causing Saturn to vomit when he drank from the cup. This action freed Jupiter’s sisters and brothers from his stomach and resulted in a war between the siblings and Saturn. The resulting battles lasted for years but Jupiter was eventually victorious. Once Jupiter ascended the throne, his father fled to Rome and established the Golden Age. During this period, the people experienced peace and harmony during the time Mercury reigned.
Ops has been associated with numerous themes including fertility, opportunity, wealth and growth. These themes are linked to many symbols including soil, bread and birds. Ops become known for providing opportunities for mortals to remain productive each and every day. This included what was provided by the earth and time spent as family units. The Cult of Ops was instituted by the Sabine monarch King Titus Tatius. Ops became recognized as the patroness of abundance, riches and prosperity on both a personal and national level. She was granted one of the famous temples of Capitolium. This led to festivals in her honor in August and a day in December.
Ops is sitting down when she is portrayed in coins and statues. This was common for Chthonian deities. She is usually holding either a corn spike or a scepter. The Latin word Ops has many different meanings including plenty, munificence, abundance, riches, gifts and goods. The word Ops is also connected to opus. This means work as in working, sowing or ploughing the earth. This was considered a sacred activity, often including religious rituals to procure the good will of the chthonic deities including Consus and Ops. Ops is also connected to the Sanskrit word apnas meaning property or goods. The Sabine monarch King Titus Tatius was believed to have instituted the mythical cult of Ops.