Or Portumnus, the protecting genius of harbors among the Romans. He was invoked to grant a happy return from a voyage. Hence a temple was erected to him at the port of the Tiber, from whence the road descended to the port of Ostia. At his temple an annual festival, the Portunalia, was celebrated on the 17th of August.

Portunus is occasionally identified with Tiberinus and a few authors refer to the festival on August 17 as the Tiberinalia. This may be related to the fact that the grain silos of Rome were located at the banks of the Tiber River and because the important role of the harbor and the river played in the supply of grain. A square temple which still exists at the Forum Boarium (the current Piazza Bocca della Verità) is by some regarded as the temple of Portunus while others say that the round temple at the same plaza is his.

At the time when the Romans became familiar with Greek mythology, Portunus was identified with the Greek Palaemon.1


The god is depicted with a key in his hand, portus as well as porta, which signifies a place that can be opened and closed.



  1. Festus, s.v. Portunus, p. 242 (ed. Muller).


  • Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Arnobius, iii, 23.
  • Cicero. On the Nature of the Gods ii, 26.
  • Seyffert, Oskar. (1894). Dictionary of Classical Antiquities.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Varro. On the Latin Language vi, 19.
  • Virgil. Aeneid v, 241.

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