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Her face was sickly pale, her whole body lean and wasted, and she squinted horribly; her teeth were discoloured and decayed, her poisonous breast of a greenish hue, and her tongue dripped venom. … Gnawing at others, and being gnawed, she was herself her own torment.
~ Ovid (about Invidia) in Metamorphoses.

Invidia is an ancient Roman Goddess of Envy who personified jealousy and hatred. Invidia according to Roman mythology, is pitied by the Roman deities who sees her as somewhat hideous and spiteful. She holds a great grudge against her kind and seeks to poison all creation with her taint of hate, one soul at a time. Her name, which is in Latin, is the origin and the sense of envy or jealousy, a "looking upon" associated with the evil eye, from invidere, "to look against", "looking with malice" or "to look at in a hostile manner.". Invidia ("Envy") is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian theology.


Invidia is a personification of envy, often envisioned as a woman, though it can also simply be used as a term for the emotion (without the personification aspect): in medieval times Invidia was considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins and was drawn as a woman with a serpent coiled round her breast and biting her heart, "to signify her self-devouring bitterness; she also raises one hand to her mouth to show she cares only for herself.".



  • Invidia, or simply envy, is the uneasy emotion denied by the shepherd Melipoeus in  Virgil's Eclogue 1.
  • In Latin, invidia might be the equivalent of two Greek personifications, Nemesis and Phthonus. Invidia might be personified, for strictly literary purposes, as a goddess, a Roman equivalent to Nemesis in Greek mythology, though Nemesis did receive cultus, notably at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, Greece.
  • In the allegorical mythography of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the 3 heads of the canine beast Cerberus sometimes represent three kinds of invidia.
  • Invidia is the fatal flaw of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello: "O you are well tuned now; but I'll set down the pegs that make this music." (Othello II.i).
  • Invidia's name is also the Roman name for the ancient Greek goddess, Nemesis.

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