Sancus - Origins and Significance - Sancus and Hercules

Sancus and Hercules

Aelius Stilo's interpretation of the theonym as Dius Filius is based partly on the interchangeability and alternance of letters d and l in Sabine, which might have rendered possible the reading of Dius Fidius as Dius Filius, i.e. Dios Kouros, partly on the function of guarantor of oaths that Sancus shared with Hercules: Georg Wissowa called it a gelehrte Kombination, while interpreting him as the genius, (semo) of Iupiter. Stilo's interpretration in its linguistic aspect looks to be unsupported by the form of the theonym in the Iguvine Tables, where it appears as Fisus or Fisovius Sancius, formula that includes the two component parts of the theonym. This theonym is rooted in an ancient IE *bh(e)idh-tos and is formed on the rootstem *bheidh- which is common to Latin Fides.

The connexion to Hercules looks to be much more substantial on theological grounds. Hercules, especially in ancient Italy, retained many archaic features of a founder deity and of a guarantor of good faith and loyalty. The relationship with Jupiter of the two characters could be considered analogous. Hence both some ancient scholars such as Varro and Macrobius and modern ones as R. D. Woodard considers them as one.

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