manes (māˈnēz) [key], in Roman religion, spirits of the dead. Originally, they were called di manes, a collective divinity of the dead. Manes could also refer to the realm of the dead and, later, to the individual souls of the dead. Eventually, the Romans placated the manes with offerings at the graves of the dead. In later times, when the family tomb was introduced into burial custom, the di manes were identified with the di parentes, the ancestors of the family, and as such watched over the welfare of the family along with the lares and penates.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on manes from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient Religion