A surname of Jupiter, which is probably derived from ferire, to strike; for persons who took an oath called upon Jupiter, if they swore falsely, to strike them as they struck the victim they sacrificed to him.1 Others derived it from ferre, because he was the giver of peace, or because people dedicated (ferebant) to him spolia opima, "rich spoils."2 A Roman commander would offer Jupiter Feretrius the spolia opima if he had personally killed the general of the enemy forces (these would be the arms and other effects of the defeated leader).3

His priests were called the Fetiales and they performed certain religious ceremonies when war was declared.



  1. Festus, s.v. Lapidem Silicem.
  2. Festus, s.v. Feretrius; Livy. The History of Rome i, 10; Sextus Propertius. Elegies iv, 10.46.
  3. Livy. History of Rome iv, 20.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.