Roman Household Spirits: Manes, Panes and Lares

Nov 08, 2019 1350

BY: Joshua J. Mark

To the ancient Romans, everything was imbued with a divine spirit (numen, plural: numina) which gave it life. Even supposedly inanimate objects like rocks and trees possessed a numen, a belief which no doubt grew out of the early religious practice of animism. There were spirits of a place, of rivers and springs, hills and valleys, the home - and even aspects of the home – as well as those who guarded, or could threaten, the people who lived there.

The earth spirits (known as chthonic forces) had never inhabited human form, nor had many of the others, but there were also the spirits of the dead – one’s ancestors, the recently deceased, and the general dead – who could influence one’s daily life.

Read more


You may be interested