In the instruction of the First Degree, it is said that "our ancient Brethren worshipped a deity under the name of Fides or Fidelity, which was sometimes represented by two right hands joined, and sometimes by two human figures holding each other by the right hands." The deity here referred to was the goddess Fides, to whom Numa first erected temples, and whose priests were covered by a white veil as a symbol of purity which should characterize Fidelity. No victims were slain on her altars, and no offerings made to her except flowers, wine, and incense. Her statues were represented clothed in white mantles, with a key in her hand and a dog at her feet. The virtue of Fidelity is, however, frequently symbolized in ancient medals by a heart in an open hand, but more usually by two right hands clasped. "FIDES" is often (and wrongly) translated 'faith.' For the Romans, FIDES was an essential element in the character of a man of public affairs, and a necessary constituent element of all social and political transactions (perhaps = 'good faith' or 'fidelity'). FIDES meant 'reliability', a sense of trust between two parties if a relationship between them was to exist. FIDES was always reciprocal and mutual, and implied both privileges and responsibilities on both sides. In both public and private life the violation of FIDES was considered a serious matter, with both legal and religious consequences. FIDES, in fact, was one of the first of the 'virtues' to be considered an actual divinity at Rome.

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