In Roman mythology, Portunes (alternatively spelled "Portumnes" or "Portunus") was a god of keys and doors and livestock. He protected the warehouses where grain was stored. Probably because of folk associations between "porta" "gate, door" and "portus" "harbor", the "gateway" to the sea, Portunus later became conflated with Palaemon and evolved into a god primarily of ports and harbors. ["Portunus gives to the sailor perfect safety in traversing the seas; but why has the raging sea cast up so many cruelly-shattered wrecks?" the Christian apologist Arnobius asks, ca 300 CE ("Seven Books against the Heathen" III.23 ( [http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG1008/__P3.HTM on-line text] ).] In the Latin adjective "importunus" his name was applied to untimely waves and weather and contrary winds, and the Latin echoes in English "opportune" and its old-fashioned antonym "importune", meaning "well-timed' and "badly-timed". Hence Portunus is behind both an "opportunity" and "importunate" or badly-timed solicitations ("OED").

His festival, celebrated on August 16, the seventeenth day before the Kalends of September, was the Portumnalia, a minor occasion in the Roman year. On this day, keys were thrown into a fire for good luck in a very solemn and lugubrious manner. His attribute was a key and his main temple in the city of Rome, the Temple of Portunus, was to be found in the Forum Boarium.



*Marcus Terentius Varro, "De Lingua Latina" vii.19.

External links

* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Portumnalia.html William Smith, 1875. "A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities"( John Murray, London,): "Portumnalia"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hobbit (word) — The invention of the word hobbit is traditionally ascribed to J. R. R. Tolkien. When The Hobbit was first published, however, there was some debate over the actual origins of the word. This debate would continue for some time. Generally Hobbit is …   Wikipedia

  • Opportunism — Opportunity Seized, Opportunity Missed. Engraving by Theodoor Galle, 1605. Contents 1 General definition …   Wikipedia

  • Dei Lucrii — Topics in Roman mythology Important Gods: Jupiter Minerva Mars Mercury Quirinus Vulcan Vesta Ceres Juno …   Wikipedia

  • Neptune (mythology) — Neptune velificans in his triumphal chariot drawn by hippocamps (mid 3rd century AD, Musée archéologique de Sousse) Ancient Roman religion …   Wikipedia

  • Roman festivals — Roman holidays generally were celebrated to worship and celebrate a certain god or mythological occurrence, and consisted of religious observances, various festival traditions and usually a large feast. The most important festivals were the… …   Wikipedia

  • College of Pontiffs — Pontifex redirects here. For other uses, see Pontifex (disambiguation). Priesthoods of ancient Rome Flamen (250 260 AD) …   Wikipedia

  • Flamen — A flamen was a name given to a priest assigned to a state supported god or goddess in Roman religion. There were fifteen flamines in the Roman Republic. The most important three were the flamines maiores (or major priests ), who served the three… …   Wikipedia

  • Interpretatio graeca — is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as Zeus , Dionysus and Hephaestus ,… …   Wikipedia

  • Denham Tracts — The Denham Tracts constitute a publication of a series of pamphlets and jottings on folklore, fifty four in all, collected between 1846 and 1859 by Michael Denham, a Yorkshire tradesman. Most of the original tracts were published with fifty… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Roman deities — Ancient Roman religion Marcus Aurelius (head covered) sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.