AskDefine | Define manes

Dictionary Definition

Manes n : a Persian prophet who founded Manichaeism (216-276)

User Contributed Dictionary



From classical Latin manes ‘spirits of the dead’.


manes p
  1. The souls or spirits of dead ancestors, conceived as deities or the subjects of reverence.
    • 1658, this was the Ustrina or place of burning their bodies, or some sacrificing place unto the Manes — Sir Thomas Browne, Urne-Burial (Penguin 2005, p. 9)
  2. Plural of mane



es-verb-form manar

Extensive Definition

In Roman mythology, the Manes were the souls of deceased loved ones. As minor spirits, they were similar to the Lares, Genii and Di Penates. They were honored during the Parentalia and Feralia in February.
The Manes were also called the Di Manes (Di meaning "Gods"), and Roman tombstones often included the letters D.M., which stood for dis manibus, or "dedicated to the Manes-gods". The word was also used as a metaphor to refer to the underworld.
Manes is derived from "an archaic adjective manus-'good'- which was the opposite of immanis"..
The Manes were offered blood sacrifices. The gladiatorial games, originally held at funerals, may have been instituted in the honor of the Manes.

Lapis manalis

When a new town was founded, a round hole would be dug and a stone called a lapis manalis would be placed in the foundations, representing a gate to the underworld..

Lapis manalis, "The Flowing Stone", "The Rain Stone"

Bailey (1907) states:
There is, for instance, what anthropology describes as 'sympathetic magic'—the attempt to influence the powers of nature by an imitation of the process which it is desired that they should perform. Of this we have a characteristic example in the ceremony of the aquaelicium, designed to produce rain after a long drought. In classical times the ceremony consisted in a procession headed by the pontifices, which bore the sacred rain-stone from its resting-place by the Porta Capena to the Capitol, where offerings were made to the sky-deity, Iuppiter, but from the analogy of other primitive cults and the sacred title of the stone (lapis manalis), it is practically certain that the original ritual was the purely imitative process of pouring water over the stone.


manes in Catalan: Manes
manes in Danish: Di Manes
manes in German: Manen
manes in Spanish: Manes
manes in French: Mânes
manes in Lithuanian: Manai
manes in Dutch: Manes
manes in Polish: Many (mitologia)
manes in Portuguese: Manes
manes in Finnish: Maanit
manes in Swedish: Manes
manes in Ukrainian: Мани
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