Di indigetes  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In Georg Wissowa's terminology the di indigetes or indigites ("indigenous gods") were Roman deities and spirits not adopted from other mythologies, as distinguished from the di novensides ("newcomer gods"). Ancient usage, however, does not maintain this clear-cut distinction, nor treat the two terms as a dichotomy.

The term Indiges, singular in form, is classical Latin, applied to Sol (Sol Indiges) and to Jupiter of Lavinium, later identified with Aeneas. Wissowa interpreted Indiges to mean "indigenous", but this interpretation is no longer widely accepted and the meaning remains uncertain. One theory holds that it means the "speaker within", and goes back to before the recognition of divine persons. Another, which the Oxford Classical Dictionary holds more likely, is that it means "invoked", by means of "pointing to", as in the related word indigitamenta.

Evidence pertaining to di indigites is rarely found outside Rome and Lavinium, but a fragmentary inscription from Aletrium (modern Alatri, north of Frosinone) records offerings to di Indicites including Fucinus, a local lake-god; Summanus, a god of nocturnal lightning; Fiscellus, otherwise unknown; and the Tempestates, weather deities. In Augustan literature, the di indigites are often associated with di patrii and appear in lists of local divinities (that is, divinities particular to a place). Servius notes that Praeneste had its own indigetes.

WIssowa's di indigetes

WIssowa listed 33 di indigetes, including two collectives in the plural, the Lares of the estate and the Lemures of the dead. Any list of indigetes, however, is conjectural; Raimo Anttila points out that "we do not know the list of the di indigetes."

See also

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