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.
Manes is derived from an archaic adjective manus meaning "good"" which was the opposite of immanis. 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.
The Manes were offered blood sacrifices. The gladiatorial games, originally held at funerals, may have been instituted in the honor of the Manes. According to Cicero, the Manes could be called forth from the caves near Lake Avernus.
- Bailey, Cyril (1907). The Religion of Ancient Rome. London, UK: Archibald Constable & Co.
- Burriss, Eli Edward (1931). Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion. New York, USA: Macmillan Company.