The name by which indigenous gods and heroes were invoked at Rome, that is, such as were believed to have once lived on earth as mortals, and were after their death raised to the rank of gods, e.g. Janus, Picus, Faunus, Aeneas, Evander, Hercules, Latinus, Romulus, and others.1 Thus Aeneas, after his disappearance on the banks of the Numicus, became a deus Indiges, pater Indiges, or Jupiter Indiges; and in like manner Romulus became Quirinus, and Latinus Jupiter Latialis.2
The Indigetes are frequently mentioned together with the Lares and Penates,3 and many writers connect the Indigetes with those divinities to whom a share in the foundation of the Latin and Roman state is ascribed, such as Mars, Venus, Vesta, etc.4 Paulus Diaconus5 describes the Indigetes as dii, quorum nomina vulgari non licet, a statement which is repeated by others, though its import is rather obscure.
The origin of the name Indigetes was also a matter of dispute with the ancients,6 but they were at all events Δεοὶ ἐγχιόριοι, and we are therefore inclined rather to connect the name with induagere than with indigilare, as Festus thinks; in addition to which the plural is not Indigites, but Indigetes. We may therefore define the Indigetes to be indigenous heroes of the country, whom the grateful veneration of their countrymen raised after their death to the rank of gods. They were regarded as manifestations of the supreme deity, and worshiped as the protectors of the country to which they had done good service during their mortal life.
- Servius on Virgil's Aeneid xii, 794; Livy. The History of Rome viii, 9; Vergil. Georgics i, 498, Aeneid viii, 314; xii, 794; Arnobius. Adversus Nationes i, p. 39.
- Gellius, ii, 16; Virgil, Livy, ll.cc.; Silius Italicus, viii, 39; Tibullus, ii, 5,44; Solinus, 2; Aurelius Victor. The origins of Roman Race, 14.
- Vergil. Georgics i, 498; Lucan, i, 556; Silius Italicus, ix, 294.
- Silius Italicus, l.c.; Ovid. Metamorphoses xv, 862; Claudian. De Bello Gildonico, 82; Livy. The History of Rome viii, 9.
- p. 106 in Müller's edition of Festus.
- Servius on Virgil's Aeneid xii, 794.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.