Before smothering his father to death in the film, Gladiator, Commodus tells his father, Marcus Aurelius, that when he, the father, sent his son the Roman virtues to read, Commodus read them and knew he possessed none of them. What he did have, however, he said, was ambition, and that too should please the father who he knew never loved him.

The Roman Virtues & Belief

Personal Virtues These are the qualities of life to which every Citizen (and, ideally, everyone else) should aspire. They are the heart of the Via Romana the Roman Way and are thought to be those qualities which gave the Roman Republic the moral strength to conquer and civilize the world. Today, they are the rods against which we can measure our own behavior and character, and we can strive to better understand and practice them in our everyday lives.

Auctoritas: "Spiritual Authority" The sense of one's social standing, built up through experience, Pietas, and Industria.

Comitas: "Humor" Ease of manner, courtesy, openness, and friendliness.

Clementia: "Mercy" Mildness and gentleness.

Dignitas: "Dignity" A sense of self-worth, personal pride.

Firmitas: "Tenacity" Strength of mind, the ability to stick to one's purpose.

Frugalitas: "Frugalness" Economy and simplicity of style, without being miserly.

Gravitas: "Gravity" A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness.

Honestas: "Respectibility" The image that one presents as a respectable member of society.

Humanitas: "Humanity" Refinement, civilization, learning, and being cultured.

Industria: "Industriousness" Hard work.

Pietas: "Dutifulness" More than religious piety; a respect for the natural order socially, politically, and religiously. Includes the ideas of patriotism and devotion to others.

Prudentia: "Prudence" Foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion.

Salubritas: "Wholesomeness" Health and cleanliness.

Severitas: "Sternness" Gravity, self-control.

Veritas: "Truthfulness" Honesty in dealing with others.
Information above From About.com

aThe old Roman household paid reverence every day to the divinities thought to preside over hearth and home. Food and flowers were offered at a small shrine like a miniature temple (left) which was often elaborately decorated.

Restricted to Men: the Cult of Mithras

Another mystery cult which found favour, especially with the military, and enjoyed widespread popularity particularly in the 3rd century was that of Mithras. Unlike the other mystery cults, whose central theme of immortality was enshrined in the drama of the death and regeneration of the saviour god, be he Dionysus, Attis or Osiris, Mithraism promulgated a different belief. Mithras, whom the Romans regarded as Persian, was the personification of the spirit of good. The legend, in brief, held that Mithras was created by Ahuramazda, the power of good, from a rock, or as he is sometimes represented, from an egg. The central theme, represented in many paintings and sculptures, is the struggle of Mithras with the bull, the first of living creatures, and his eventual slaughter of it. From the sacrifice of its blood came the harvest of nature, and thus, by association, Mithras came to be regarded as the renewer of life. He guarded the first humans against the machinations of the spirit of evil, and then was taken up to heaven in the chariot of the Sun. He was worshipped as the ideal of manly valeur; Mithraism was a faith which placed value on endurance and effort, and inculcated the moral qualities and virtues required for such ideals.

Mithraism, which was restricted to men, appears to have had no priesthood, but for the initiates themselves there was a hierarchy of grades-soldier, gryphon, lion, raven, sun-runner and father. The initiates progressed through the grades by submitting themselves to a series of tests and ordeals, and these ceremonies and the worship of Mithras were conducted in underground shrines. The widespread popularity of the cult is evident from the records of Mithraea which have been identified all over the empire, and which are still coming to light. One of the best preserved, under the church of St Prisca on the Avendne in Rome, excavated over the last ten years, retains wall-paintings showing the ceremonial dress of some of the grades and in a side chapel is a pit which played a part in the ordeals. In recent years the remains of a Mithraeum and the sculptures which adorned it have come to light at the Walbrook in the City of London; and the popularity of this cult with the soldiery is evidenced by Mithraic shrines in isolated frontier posts, as at Dura Europus in the East and at Carrawburgh on Hadrian's wall, the most northerly frontier of the Roman world.

Info above from The Birth of Western Civilization

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