Roman Virtues

The Romans had a strong sense of how they thought their citizens should behave and what they should be, and they also had a set of virtues that described how the country as a whole should govern and interact with other societies. The focus of this site is personal improvement, so naturally this page and its subsequent sub-pages will focus on the personal virtues that Romans valued.

The Roman Virtues represented the whole of what the Roman people wanted to be, and what they admired in their heroes. The Roman philosophers often praised and wrote about the Roman Virtues as they tried to discover how to live up to their own ideals and the ideal they envisioned for their Republic.

While these virtues may be very old, in fact most of our virtues are very old, so any value system from a successful society deserves fair and careful consideration—and it would be silly to suggest that the Roman Virtues haven't been an important inspiration to Western Society; their philosophical ideas about governing and the Republic, like those written about by Cicero, were also inspirational and studied by many of America's founding fathers. With all this in mind, it would serve you well to look at these virtues and see if they suit you and your personal goals. At the very least, it should be an educational experience for you.

One you join our program, you will have the opportunity to read and study these virtues along with the values of many other societies and culture groups, and if you decide that these work for you, you will get the help you need in order to grow and overcome your personal obstacles to achieving your goals. Everybody has their own unique challenges, but everyone overcomes them by recognizing their own faults through careful self-reflection and by the support of those around them, and then taking the proactive steps needed to overcome them.

This site uses an online record of sorts where you record your daily successes and failures in every journal; keeping personal records and journals remains one of the most valuable tools available to recognize your faults and remain mindful to work on them. When you study virtues, reflect on your own life, and work daily to improve your personal strength then you will become a happier, better person. So, if you are determined to improve your character and your life, then you have nothing to lose except time wasted with procrastination. Everyone can bring positive change into their lives, but no one can grow a minute younger!

In Our Program You Will:

  • Define a roadmap that will work best for you
  • Find your weaknesses, and develop tools and techniques to overcome them
  • Keep a record of your progress and you make your goals


  • Spiritual Authority — The sense of one's social standing, built up through experience, sense of duty, and industry.
  • Humor — Balanced perspective and power in a powerless situation.
  • Perseverance — Military stamina, mental and physical endurance.
  • Mercy — Mildness and gentleness.
  • Dignity — A sense of self-worth, personal pride.
  • Discipline — Military oath under Roman protective law & citizenship.
  • Tenacity — Strength of mind, the ability to stick to one's purpose.
  • Frugality — Economy and simplicity of style, without being miserly.
  • Gravity — A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness.
  • Respectability — The image that one presents as a respectable member of society.
  • Humanity — Refinement, civilization, learning, and being cultured.
  • Industry — Hard work.
  • Justice — Sense of moral worth to an action.
  • Dutifulness — More than religious piety; a respect for the natural order socially, politically, and religiously. Includes the ideas of patriotism and devotion to others.
  • Prudence — Foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion.
  • Wholesomeness — Health and cleanliness.
  • Sternness — Gravity, self-control.
  • Truthfulness — Honesty in dealing with others.
  • Manliness — Valor, excellence, courage, character, and worth. Vir meaning "man" (don't worry women, I extrapolate a little on this virtue).


For Augustine, Rome became a great power because its citizens did not care about self-interest narrowly understood (monetary gain). Instead, they had a consuming passion for fame and glory. This passionate love of glory was the cause of great acts of courage and devotion to the cause of Rome. Divine providence rewarded the Romans by giving them a great empire and a universal fame. The current setbacks of the Empire should give one no reason to complain about the justice of God. The Romans have received their reward in full. From a Christian perspective, Roman virtues are admirable in a sense, but they are worthless in the final analysis because they have the sin of pride as their single source. Glory, Augustine says, "is puffed up with empty conceit." Consequently, "it's most improper that the Virtues, with their solidity and strength, should be their servants." This applies even to those who "pay no heed to the opinions of others" and "esteem themselves as wise men and win their own approval," because "the man who wins his own approval, is still a man," and as such, his virtue is still "dependent on the praise of man." Augustine's final word on the Roman Empire is the famous distinction between the earthly city, "created by self-love (amor sui)," and the Heavenly City, created "by the love of God." The earthy city "looks for glory from men," while the Heavenly City "finds its highest glory in God."

Pierre Force | Self-interest Before Adam Smith: A Genealogy of Economic Science

Recommended Reading

Marcus Aurelius: A Biography (Roman Imperial Biographies) — by Anthony Richard Birley

Anthony Richard Birley reconstructs the life of Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180 A.D) and Stoic philosopher, remembered by history as the author of "Meditations".

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians — by Peter Heather

This groundbreaking book describes the later Roman Empire, the 'barbarians' who invaded it, and the post-Roman successor states generated by the collision.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort. Confucius