In other words, ancestor worship with a Roman twist.
Not content with having deities for every conceivable occasion, object and concept, the Romans even turned themselves into Gods. This was a typically self-indulgent exercise as you might imagine.
To become a God, all you had to do was die. Preferably leaving a few pots of gold behind to remind your relatives of their noble duty.
It was quite easy. You just got worshiped a bit. Nothing in Jupiter’s league, of course. Perhaps the merest mention during a list of invocations. A smallish statue in your honor bearing the legend ’Dis Manibus’ (to the Divine Souls). Modest shrine facilities.
Of course, by definition, if something is worshiped it must therefore be a deity in the opinion of its worshiper. So when the Romans worshiped their ancestors, they were quite literally turning them into Gods.
This practice was in everyone’s interest. In return for a little consideration, the dead could look kindly upon the living and ensure health and happiness all round. And with the prospect of divinity to look forward to, death may well have lost its sting.
With such a mutually beneficial system, even the bitterest of family feuds could turn out nicely in the end.
Manes Facts and Figures
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: DI-MANES
Gender: Male and female
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present
In charge of: the Dead
Area of expertise: The Dead
Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 796
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Article last revised on November 18, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.