Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare and the sponsor of arts and strategy. From the second century BC onward, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena, though the Romans did not stress her relation to battle and warfare as the Greeks did. Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, swallowed by Jupiter, burst from her father's head armed and clad in armor. Jupiter forcefully impregnated the titaness Metis, which resulted in her attempting to change shape to escape him. Jupiter recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Saturn, in turn, Saturn had Caelus. Fearing that their child would be male, would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly; the titaness gave birth to Minerva and forged weapons and armor for her child while within Jupiter's body. In some versions of the story, Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter's mind as the source of his wisdom.
Others say she was a vessel for the birth of Minerva. The constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter's head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, adult, in full battle armor, she was the virgin goddess of music, medicine, commerce and the crafts. She is depicted with her sacred creature, an owl named as the "owl of Minerva", which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge as well as, less the snake and the olive tree. Minerva was worshipped at several locations in Rome, most prominently as part of the Capitoline Triad, she was worshipped at the Temple of Minerva Medica, at the "Delubrum Minervae", a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day, called, in the neuter plural, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an artisans' holiday. A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, who were useful to religion.
In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine Hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus; the Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic. As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and physicians; as Minerva Achaea, she was worshipped at Lucera in Apulia where votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple. Her worship was spread throughout the empire. In Britain, for example, she was syncretized with the local goddess Sulis, invoked for restitution for theft. In Fasti III, Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works". Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, when she became equated with the Greek goddess Athena, she became a goddess of battle. Unlike Mars, god of war, she was sometimes portrayed with sword lowered, in sympathy for the recent dead, rather than raised in triumph and battle lust.
In Rome her bellicose nature was emphasized less than elsewhere. Minerva is featured on the coinage of different Roman emperors, she is represented on the reverse side of a coin holding an owl and a spear among her attributes. Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā, the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva, it is presumed that Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, art and commerce, she was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva burst from the head of her father, who had devoured her mother in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent her birth. By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning "mind" because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual; the word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men-'mind'. The Etruscan Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva.
As a patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva features in statuary, as an image on seals, in other forms at educational institutions. The Seal of California depicts the Goddess Minerva, her birth fully-grown parallels California becoming a state without first being a territory. According to John Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy, the third degree of the Bavarian Illuminati was called Minerval or Brother of Minerva, in honor of the goddess of learning; this title was adopted for the first initiation of Aleister Crowley's OTO rituals. Minerva Schools at KGI is a global four-year undergraduate program A statue of Minerva is displayed by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is the university's new graphic identity starting 2004. A small Roman shrine to Minerva stands in Chester, it sits in a public park. A statue to Minerva was designed by John Charles Felix Rossi to adorn the Town Hall of Liverpool, where it has stood since 1799, it was restored as part of the 2014 renovations conducted by the city.
The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, located at the crossing of the López Mateos, Vallarta, López Cotilla, Agustín Yáñez, G
Claudius Gothicus known as Claudius II, was Roman emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought against the Alemanni and decisively defeated the Goths at the Battle of Naissus, he died after succumbing to "pestilence" the Plague of Cyprian that had ravaged the provinces of the Empire. Claudius' origin is uncertain. Born on May 10, 214, he was either from Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior or from Naissus in Moesia Superior. According to the fourth-century Epitome de Caesaribus, he was thought to be a bastard son of Gordian II, but this is doubted by some historians. Claudius had served with the Roman army for all his adult life, making his way up the military hierarchy until Emperor Gallienus made him the commander of his elite cavalry force and subsequently his military deputy. In September 268, he found himself assigned as a military tribune with the Imperial Army besieging the usurper Aureolus in Milan, his troops proclaimed him Emperor amid charges, never proven, that he murdered his predecessor Gallienus.
However, he soon proved to be less than bloodthirsty, as he asked the Roman Senate to spare the lives of Gallienus' family and supporters. He was less magnanimous toward Rome's enemies, it was to this that he owed his popularity, it is possible Claudius gained his position and the respect of the soldiers by being physically strong and cruel. A legend tells of Claudius knocking out a horse's teeth with one punch; when Claudius performed as a wrestler in the 250s, he knocked out the teeth of his opponent when his genitalia had been grabbed in the match. Claudius, like Maximinus Thrax before him, was of barbarian birth. After an interlude of failed aristocratic Roman emperors since Maximinus' death, Claudius was the first in a series of tough “soldier emperors” who would restore the Empire from the Crisis of the Third Century. During the 260s, the breakup of the Roman Empire into three distinct governing entities placed the whole Roman imperium into a precarious position. Gallienus was weakened by his failure to defeat Postumus in the West, the ability of Odaenathus to live with his arrangement with Gallienus in the East.
By 268, the situation had changed, as Odaenathus was assassinated, most out of court intrigue, Gallienus fell victim to a mutiny in his own ranks. Upon the death of Odaenathus, power fell to his younger son, dominated by his mother, Zenobia. Under threat of invasion by multiple tribes, Gallienus' troubles lay with Postumus, whom he could not attack because his attention was required in dealing with Macrianus and the invading "Skythai." After four years of delay, Postumus had established power, but in 265, when Gallienus and his men crossed the Alps, they defeated and besieged Postumus in an Gallic city. When victory appeared to be near, Gallienus made the mistake of approaching the city walls too and was gravely injured, compelling him to withdraw the campaign. In the next three years, Gallienus' troubles would only get worse; the "Skythai" invaded the Balkans in the early months of 268, Aureolus, a commander of the cavalry, declared himself an ally of Postumus and the new emperor in Milan. At this time, another invasion was taking place.
A group called the Herulians navigated through Asia Minor and into Greece on a naval expedition. Details of these invasions are abstract, as it is nearly impossible to reconstruct the happenings, due to the chain of conflicts initiated by the Herulians in 268. Scholars assume Gallienus' efforts were focused on Aureolus, the officer who betrayed him, the defeat of the Herulians was left to his successor, Claudius Gothicus; the death of Gallienus is surrounded by betrayal, as were many emperors' deaths. Different accounts of the incident are recorded, but they agree that senior officials wanted Gallienus dead. According to two accounts, the prime conspirator was the Praetorian Prefect. One version of the story tells of Heraclianus bringing Claudius into the plot while the account given by Historia Augusta exculpates the would-be emperor and adds the prominent general Lucius Aurelius Marcianus into the plot; the removal of Claudius from the conspiracy is due to his role as the progenitor of the house of Constantine, a fiction of Constantine's time, may serve to guarantee that the original version from which these two accounts spring was current prior to the reign of Constantine.
It is written that while sitting down at dinner, Gallienus was told that Aureolus and his men were approaching the camp. Gallienus rushed to the front lines, ready to give orders, when he was struck down by a commander of his cavalry. In a different and more controversial account, Aureolus forges a document in which Gallienus appears to be plotting against his generals and makes sure it falls into the hands of the emperor's senior staff. In this plot, Aurelian is added as a possible conspirator; the tale of his involvement in the conspiracy might be seen as at least partial justification for the murder of Aurelian himself under circumstances that seem remarkably similar to those in this story. Whichever story is true, Gallienus was killed in the summer of 268, Claudius was chosen by the army outside of Milan to succeed him. Accounts tell of people hearing the news of the new Emperor, reacting by murdering Gallienus' family members until Claudius declared he would respect the memory of his predecessor.
Claudius had the deceased emperor buried in a family tomb on the Appian Way. The traitor Aureolus was not treated with the same reverence, as he was killed by his besieger
In Roman mythology, Flora is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers and of the season of spring – a symbol for nature and flowers. While she was otherwise a minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth, her Greek counterpart is Chloris. Her name is derived from the Latin word "flos" which means "flower". In modern English, "Flora" means the plants of a particular region or period, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B. C. E, on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was given a temple in 238 B. C. E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, the women wearing forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares.
On May 23 another festival was held in her honor. Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god known as Zephyr, her companion was Hercules. Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome. Flora is the main character of the ballet The Awakening of Flora, she is mentioned in Henry Purcell's Nymphs and Shepherds. There are many monuments of Flora, e.g. in Valencia and Szczecin. Ovid, Fasti V.193-212 Macrobius, Saturnalia I.10.11-14 Lactantius, Divinae institutions I.20.6-10 Media related to Flora at Wikimedia Commons "Flora". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914. "Flora". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory: Flora
In classical mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love and affection. He is portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, he is known in Latin as Amor. His Greek counterpart is Eros. Although Eros is portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or a deity, shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves to set the plot in motion, he is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons, he experiences the ordeal of love. Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as "Love conquers all" and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid. In art, Cupid appears in multiples as the Amores, or amorini in the terminology of art history, the equivalent of the Greek erotes.
Cupids are a frequent motif of both Roman art and Western art of the classical tradition. In the 15th century, the iconography of Cupid starts to become indistinguishable from the putto. Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love as an icon of Valentine's Day; the Romans reinterpreted myths and concepts pertaining to the Greek Eros for Cupid in their own literature and art, medieval and Renaissance mythographers conflate the two freely. In the Greek tradition, Eros had a contradictory genealogy, he was among the primordial gods. In Hesiod's Theogony, only Chaos and Gaia are older. Before the existence of gender dichotomy, Eros functioned by causing entities to separate from themselves that which they contained.
At the same time, the Eros, pictured as a boy or slim youth was regarded as the child of a divine couple, the identity of whom varied by source. The influential Renaissance mythographer Natale Conti began his chapter on Cupid/Eros by declaring that the Greeks themselves were unsure about his parentage: Heaven and Earth and Aphrodite, Night and Ether, or Strife and Zephyr; the Greek travel writer Pausanias, he notes, contradicts himself by saying at one point that Eros welcomed Aphrodite into the world, at another that Eros was the son of Aphrodite and the youngest of the gods. In Latin literature, Cupid is treated as the son of Venus without reference to a father. Seneca says. Cicero, says that there were three Cupids, as well as three Venuses: the first Cupid was the son of Mercury and Diana, the second of Mercury and the second Venus, the third of Mars and the third Venus; this last Cupid was the equivalent of Anteros, "Counter-Love," one of the Erotes, the gods who embody aspects of love.
The multiple Cupids frolicking in art are the decorative manifestation of these proliferating loves and desires. During the English Renaissance, Christopher Marlowe wrote of "ten thousand Cupids". In the classical tradition, Cupid is most regarded as the son of Venus and Mars, whose love affair represented an allegory of Love and War; the duality between the primordial and the sexually conceived Eros accommodated philosophical concepts of Heavenly and Earthly Love in the Christian era. Cupid is winged because lovers are flighty and to change their minds, boyish because love is irrational, his symbols are the arrow and torch, "because love wounds and inflames the heart." These attributes and their interpretation were established by late antiquity, as summarized by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae. Cupid is sometimes depicted blindfolded and described as blind, not so much in the sense of sightless—since the sight of the beloved can be a spur to love—as blinkered and arbitrary; as described by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream: In Botticelli's Allegory of Spring known by its Italian title La Primavera, Cupid is shown blindfolded while shooting his arrow, positioned above the central figure of Venus.
In ancient Roman art, cupids may carry or be surrounded by fruits, animals, or attributes of the Seasons or the wine-god Dionysus, symbolizing the earth's generative capacity. Cupid carries two kinds of arrows, or darts, one with a sharp golden point, the other with a blunt tip of lead. A person wounded by the golden arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire, but the one struck by the lead feels aversion and desires only to flee; the use of these arrows is described by the Latin poet Ovid in the first book of his Metamorphoses. When Apollo taunts Cupid as the lesser archer, Cupid shoots him with the golden arrow, but strikes the object of his desire, the nymph Daphne, with the lead. Trapped by Apollo's unwanted advances, Daphne prays to her father, the river god Peneus, who turns her into a laurel, the tree sacred to Apollo, it is the first of several tragic love affairs for Apollo. A variation is found in The Kingis Quair, a 15th-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, in which Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle "smiting", cured
Imperial cult of ancient Rome
The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State. Its framework was based on Roman and Greek precedents, was formulated during the early Principate of Augustus, it was established throughout the Empire and its provinces, with marked local variations in its reception and expression. Augustus's reforms transformed Rome's Republican system of government to a de facto monarchy, couched in traditional Roman practices and Republican values; the princeps was expected to balance the interests of the Roman military and people, to maintain peace and prosperity throughout an ethnically diverse empire. The official offer of cultus to a living emperor acknowledged his office and rule as divinely approved and constitutional: his Principate should therefore demonstrate pious respect for traditional Republican deities and mores. A deceased emperor held worthy of the honor could be voted a state divinity by the Senate and elevated as such in an act of apotheosis.
The granting of apotheosis served religious and moral judgment on Imperial rulers and allowed living Emperors to associate themselves with a well-regarded lineage of Imperial divi from which unpopular or unworthy predecessors were excluded. This proved a useful instrument to Vespasian in his establishment of the Flavian Imperial Dynasty following the death of Nero and civil war, to Septimius in his consolidation of the Severan dynasty after the assassination of Commodus; the Imperial cult was inseparable from that of Rome's official deities, whose cult was essential to Rome's survival and whose neglect was therefore treasonous. Traditional cult was a focus of Imperial revivalist legislation under Diocletian. Christian apologists and martyrologists saw the cult of the Emperor as a offensive instrument of pagan impiety and persecution, it therefore became a focus of theological and political debate during the ascendancy of Christianity under Constantine I. The emperor Julian failed to reverse the declining support for Rome's official religious practices: Theodosius I adopted Christianity as Rome's state religion.
Rome's traditional gods and Imperial cult were abandoned. However, many of the rites and status distinctions that characterized the cult to emperors were perpetuated in the theology and politics of the Christianized Empire. For five centuries, the Roman Republic did not give worship to any historic figure, or any living man, although surrounded by divine and semi-divine monarchies. Rome's legendary kings had been its masters. Rome's ancestor-hero Aeneas was worshipped as Jupiter Indiges; the Romans worshipped several gods and demi-gods, human, knew the theory that all the gods had originated as human beings, yet Republican traditions were staunchly conservative and anti-monarchic. The aristocrats who held all Roman magistracies, thereby occupied all of the Senate, acknowledged no human as their inherent superior. No citizen, living or dead, was regarded as divine, but the honors awarded by the state — crowns, statues, processions — were suitable to the gods, tinged with divinity. Among the highest of honors was the triumph.
When a general was acclaimed imperator by his troops, the Senate would choose whether to award him a triumph, a parade to the Capitol in which the triumphator displayed his captives and spoils of war in the company of his troops. The triumphator rode in a chariot, bearing divine emblems, in a manner supposed to be inherited from the ancient kings of Rome, ended by dedicating his victory to Jupiter Capitolinus; some scholars have viewed the triumphator as impersonating or becoming a king or a god for the day but the circumstances of triumphal award and subsequent rites functioned to limit his status. Whatever his personal ambitions, his victory and his triumph alike served the Roman Senate and gods and were recognised only through their consent. In private life, tradition required that some human beings be treated as more or less divine; 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.
A client could call his patron "Jupiter on earth". The dead and individually, were gods of the underworld or afterlife. A letter has survived from Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, expecting that when she was dead, her sons would venerate her as deus parens, a parental divinity. A prominent clan might claim divine influence and quasi-divine honors for its leader. Death masks were displayed in the atria of their houses; the mask of Scipio Africanus, Cornelia's father and victor over Hannibal, was stored in the temple of Jupiter. A tradition arose in the centuries after his death that Africanus had been inspired by prophetic dreams, was himself the son of Jupiter. There are several cases of unofficial cult directed at men viewed as saviors, political. In Further Spain i
Pluto was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife. Ploutōn was conflated with Ploutos, a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest; the name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades, by contrast, had few temples and religious practices associated with him, he is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone. Pluto and Hades differ in character. In Greek cosmogony, the god received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brother Zeus ruling the Sky and his other brother Poseidon sovereign over the Sea.
His central narrative is the abduction of Persephone to be the queen of his realm. Plouton as the name of the ruler of the underworld first appears in Greek literature of the Classical period, in the works of the Athenian playwrights and of the philosopher Plato, the major Greek source on its significance. Under the name Pluto, the god appears in other myths in a secondary role as the possessor of a quest-object, in the descent of Orpheus or other heroes to the underworld. Plūtō is the Latinized form of the Greek Plouton. Pluto's Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most taken to mean "Rich Father" and is a direct translation of Plouton. Pluto was identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place; the borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades. Pluto becomes the most common name for the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms.
The name Plouton does not appear in Greek literature of the Archaic period. In Hesiod's Theogony, the six children of Cronus and Rhea are Zeus, Poseidon, Hades and Hestia; the male children divide the world into three realms. Hades takes Persephone with the consent of Zeus. Ploutos, "Wealth," appears in the Theogony as the child of Demeter and Iasion: "fine Plutus, who goes upon the whole earth and the broad back of the sea, whoever meets him and comes into his hands, that man he makes rich, he bestows much wealth upon him." The union of Demeter and Iasion, described in the Odyssey, took place in a fallow field, ploughed three times, in what seems to be a reference to a ritual copulation or sympathetic magic to ensure the earth's fertility. "The resemblance of the name Ploutos to Plouton..." it has been noted, "cannot be accidental. Plouton is lord of the dead, but as Persephone's husband he has serious claims to the powers of fertility." Demeter's son Plutus merges in the narrative tradition with her son-in-law Pluto, redefining the implacable chariot-driver Hades whose horses trample the flowering earth.
That the underworld god was associated early on with success in agricultural activity is evident in Hesiod's Works and Days, line 465-469: "Pray to Zeus of the Earth and to pure Demeter to make Demeter's holy grain sound and heavy, when first you begin ploughing, when you hold in your hand the end of the plough-tail and bring down your stick on the backs of the oxen as they draw on the pole-bar by the yoke-straps." Plouton was one of several euphemistic names for Hades, described in the Iliad as the god most hateful to mortals. Plato says that people prefer the name Plouton, "giver of wealth," because the name of Hades is fear-provoking; the name was understood as referring to "the boundless riches of the earth, both the crops on its surface—he was a god of the land—and the mines hidden within it." What is sometimes taken as "confusion" of the two gods Plouton and Ploutos held or acquired a theological significance in antiquity. As a lord of abundance or riches, Pluto expresses the aspect of the underworld god, positive, symbolized in art by the "horn of plenty", by means of which Plouton is distinguished from the gloomier Hades.
The Roman poet Ennius, the leading figure in the Hellenization of Latin literature, considered Pluto a Greek god to be explained in terms of the Roman equivalents Dis Pater and Orcus. It is unclear; some scholars think that rituals and beliefs pertaining to Pluto entered Roman culture with the establishment of the Saecular Games in 249 BC, that Dis pater was only a translation of Plouton. In the mid-1st century BC, Cicero identifies Pluto with Dis, explaining that "The earth in all its power and plenty is sacred to Father Dis, a name, the same as Dives,'The Wealthy One,' as is the Greek Plouton; this is because everything is born of the earth and returns to it again."During the Roman Imperial era, the Greek geographer Strabo makes a distinction between Pluto and Hades. In writing of the mineral wealth of ancient Iberia, he says that among the Turdetani, it is "Pluto, not Hades, who inhabits the region down belo
In Roman religion, the genius is the individual instance of a general divine nature, present in every individual person, place, or thing. Much like a guardian angel, the genius would follow each man from the hour of his birth until the day he died. For women, it was the Juno spirit; each individual place so did powerful objects, such as volcanoes. The concept extended to some specifics: the genius of the theatre, of vineyards, of festivals, which made performances successful, grapes grow, celebrations succeed, respectively, it was important in the Roman mind to propitiate the appropriate genii for the major undertakings and events of their lives. 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. Although the term genius might apply to any divinity whatsoever, most of the higher-level and state genii had their own well-established names. Genius applied most to individual places or people not known.
Houses, gates, districts, each one had its own genius. The supreme hierarchy of the Roman gods, like that of the Greeks, was modelled after a human family, it featured a father, the supreme divine unity, a mother, queen of the gods. These supreme unities were subdivided into genii for each individual family; the male function was a Jupiter. The juno was worshipped under many titles: Iugalis, "of marriage" Matronalis, "of married women" Pronuba, "of brides" Virginalis, "of virginity"Genii were viewed as protective spirits, as one would propitiate them for protection. For example, to protect infants one propitiated a number of deities concerned with birth and childrearing: Cuba and Rumina. If those genii did not perform their proper function well, the infant would be in danger. Hundreds of lararia, or family shrines, have been discovered at Pompeii off the atrium, kitchen or garden, where the smoke of burnt offerings could vent through the opening in the roof. A lararium was distinct from the penus, another shrine where the penates, gods associated with the storerooms, was located.
Each lararium features a panel fresco containing the same theme: two peripheral figures attend on a central figure or two figures who may or may not be at an altar. In the foreground is one or two serpents crawling toward the genius through a meadow motif. Campania and Calabria preserved an ancient practice of keeping a propitious house snake, here linked with the genius. In another, unrelated fresco 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 word is loaned from genius, deriving from gēns from the Indo-European root *gene-, "give birth, produce". The genius appears explicitly in Roman literature as early as Plautus, where one character in the play, 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, yet the genius has the avarice of the person.
Horace, writing when the first emperor was introducing the cult of his own genius, describes the genius as "the companion which controls the natal star. Octavius Caesar on return to Rome after the final victory of the Roman Civil War at the Battle of Actium appeared to the Senate to be a man of great power and success a mark of divinity. In recognition of the prodigy they voted. In concession to this sentiment he chose the name Augustus, capturing the numinous meaning of English "august." The household cult of the Genius Augusti dates from this period. It was propitiated at every meal along with the other household numina, thus began the tradition of the Imperial cult, in which Romans worshipped the genius of the emperor rather than the person. 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; the provincial troops expanded the idea of the genii of state. Inscriptional dedications to genius were not confined to the military.
From Gallia Cisalpina under the empire are numerous dedications to the genii of persons of authority and respect. Sometimes the dedication is combined with other words, such as "to the genius and honor" or in the case of couples, "to the genius and Juno."Surviving from the time of the empire hundreds of dedicatory and sepulchral inscriptions ranging over the entire t