Harvard Theological Review

Research Article

Numen inest: ‘Animism’ in Greek and Roman Religion

Herbert Jennings Rosea1

a1 University of St. Andrews, Scotland

To Ovid, sophisticated as he was, ancient and simple piety made an appeal; not, as in the case of Vergil, because it accorded with deep-seated feelings of his own, but rather in the same way as plain fare will sometimes please an over-indulged palate, by a certain piquancy of contrast. It is therefore not so surprising that in him we find one of the most perfect expressions of the oldest recoverable stratum of Italian, or even ancient Mediterranean, religious sentiment. It occurs in the Fasti, iii, 296–7: Frazer thus renders the couplet: ‘Under the Aventine there lay a grove black with the shade of holm-oaks; at sight of it you could say, “There is a spirit here.’”