genius

genius, in Roman religion, guardian spirit of a man, a family, or a state. In some instances, a place, a city, or an institution had its genius. As the guardian spirit of an individual, the genius (corresponding to the Greek demon) was largely the force of one's natural desires. The genius of the paterfamilias was honored in familial worship as a household god and was thought to perpetuate a family through many generations. Notable achievements or high intellectual powers of an individual were attributed to his genius, and ultimately a man of achievements was said to have genius or to be a genius.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on genius from Fact Monster:

  • Baby Geniuses - Starring Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Kim Cattrall, Peter MacNicol, Dom Deluise
  • The Genius Club - Starring Carol Abney, Stephen Baldwin, Jacob Bonnema, Tricia Helfer, Matt Medrano
  • Real Genius - Starring Stacy Peralta, Daniel Ades, Andres Aybar, Louis Giambalvo, Ed Lauter
  • Charles Dickens: Dickens's Genius - Dickens's Genius Charles Dickens is one of the giants of English literature. He wrote from his ...
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius - Starring Debi Derryberry, Rob Paulsen, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient Religion