Genius (mythology)

geniusgeniiGenius of LibertygeniusesAngeldivine generative essenceGenius Augustigenius of freedomGenius of RussiaGenius of Scotland
In Roman religion, the genius (plural geniī) is the individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing.wikipedia
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Genius loci

genii locigenii locorumguardian spirit
Each individual place had a genius (genius loci) and so did powerful objects, such as volcanoes.
In classical Roman religion, a genius loci (plural genii locorum) was the protective spirit of a place.

Religion in ancient Rome

ancient Roman religionRoman religionRoman
In Roman religion, the genius (plural geniī) is the individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing.
So-called "emperor worship" expanded on a grand scale the traditional Roman veneration of the ancestral dead and of the Genius, the divine tutelary of every individual.

Lares

larariumLarlararia
Each lararium features a panel fresco containing the same theme: two peripheral figures (Lares) attend on a central figure (family genius) or two figures (genius and Juno) who may or may not be at an altar.
Painted shrine-images of paired Lares show them in mirrored poses to the left and right of a central figure, understood to be an ancestral genius.

Mount Vesuvius

VesuviusVesuvioeruption of Vesuvius
In another, unrelated fresco (House of the Centenary) the snake-in-meadow appears below a depiction of Mount Vesuvius and is labelled Agathodaimon, "good daimon", where daimon must be regarded as the Greek equivalent of genius.
It was considered a divinity of the Genius type at the time of the eruption of AD 79: it appears under the inscribed name Vesuvius as a serpent in the decorative frescos of many lararia, or household shrines, surviving from Pompeii.

Imperial cult of ancient Rome

Imperial cultdeifiedRoman Imperial cult
Thus began the tradition of the Imperial cult, in which Romans worshipped the genius of the emperor rather than the person.
Every head of household embodied the genius – the generative principle and guardian spirit – of his ancestors, which others might worship and by which his family and slaves took oaths; his wife had a juno.

Genius

high intelligencegenius-level intellectgeniuses
If the genius of the imperator, or commander of all troops, was to be propitiated, so was that of all the units under his command.
In ancient Rome, the genius (plural in Latin genii) was the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of a person, family (gens), or place (genius loci).

Juno (mythology)

JunoJuno ReginaGiunone
It featured a father, Jupiter, who was also the supreme divine unity, and a mother, Juno, queen of the gods.
The view that Juno was the feminine counterpart to Genius, i.e. that as men possess a tutelary entity or double named genius, so women have their own one named juno, has been maintained by many scholars, lastly Kurt Latte.

Jupiter (mythology)

JupiterJoveJupiter Optimus Maximus
It featured a father, Jupiter, who was also the supreme divine unity, and a mother, Juno, queen of the gods.
Wissowa suggested that Semo Sancus is the genius of Jupiter, but the concept of a deity's genius is a development of the Imperial period.

House of the Centenary

In another, unrelated fresco (House of the Centenary) the snake-in-meadow appears below a depiction of Mount Vesuvius and is labelled Agathodaimon, "good daimon", where daimon must be regarded as the Greek equivalent of genius.
In the foreground is a crested and bearded serpent that embodies the Agathodaemon or Genius.

Di Penates

penatesDei PenatesPenates Dei
A lararium was distinct from the penus ("within"), another shrine where the penates, gods associated with the storerooms, was located.
They were thus associated with Vesta, the Lares, and the Genius of the paterfamilias in the "little universe" of the domus.

Jinn

geniedjinnjinns
Jinn
The Anglicized form genie is a borrowing of the French génie, from the Latin genius, a guardian spirit of people and places in Roman religion.

Tutelary deity

tutelary deitiespatron deitytutelary
Tutelary deity
In late late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death.

Daemon (classical mythology)

daemondaimondaemons
In another, unrelated fresco (House of the Centenary) the snake-in-meadow appears below a depiction of Mount Vesuvius and is labelled Agathodaimon, "good daimon", where daimon must be regarded as the Greek equivalent of genius.
The comparable Roman concept is the genius who accompanies and protects a person or presides over a place (see genius loci).

Guardian angel

guardian angelsHoly Guardian Angelsguardian spirit
Much like a guardian angel, the genius would follow each man from the hour of his birth until the day he died.

Augustine of Hippo

AugustineSt. AugustineSaint Augustine
The Christian theologian Augustine equated the Christian "soul" with the Roman genius, citing Varro as attributing the rational powers and abilities of every human being to their genius.

Soul

soulsspirithuman soul
The Christian theologian Augustine equated the Christian "soul" with the Roman genius, citing Varro as attributing the rational powers and abilities of every human being to their genius.

Marcus Terentius Varro

VarroMarcus VarroVarro Reatinus
The Christian theologian Augustine equated the Christian "soul" with the Roman genius, citing Varro as attributing the rational powers and abilities of every human being to their genius.

List of Roman birth and childhood deities

Birth and childhood deitiesCubaPartula
For example, to protect infants one propitiated a number of deities concerned with birth and childrearing: Cuba ("lying down to sleep"), Cunina ("of the cradle") and Rumina ("of breast-feeding").

Pompeii

PompeianPompeiancient Roman ruins
Hundreds of lararia, or family shrines, have been discovered at Pompeii, typically off the atrium, kitchen or garden, where the smoke of burnt offerings could vent through the opening in the roof.

Atrium (architecture)

atriumatriaatriums
Hundreds of lararia, or family shrines, have been discovered at Pompeii, typically off the atrium, kitchen or garden, where the smoke of burnt offerings could vent through the opening in the roof.

Campania

Campania RegionCampaniaeCampanian
Campania and Calabria preserved an ancient practice of keeping a propitious house snake, here linked with the genius.

Calabria

BruttiumCalabreseCalabrian
Campania and Calabria preserved an ancient practice of keeping a propitious house snake, here linked with the genius.

Indo-European languages

Indo-EuropeanIndo-European languageIndo-European language family
Etymologically genius (“household guardian spirit”) has the same derivation as nature from gēns (“tribe”, “people”) from the Indo-European root *gen-, "produce."

Plautus

Titus Maccius PlautusPlautineTitus Macchius Plautus
The genius appears explicitly in Roman literature as early as Plautus, where one character in the play, Captivi, jests that the father of another is so avaricious that he uses cheap Samian ware in sacrifices to his own genius, so as not to tempt the genius to steal it. In this passage, the genius is not identical to the person, as to propitiate oneself would be absurd, and yet the genius also has the avarice of the person; that is, the same character, the implication being, like person, like genius.