I.e. "the good ones" (Mana), is the general name by which the Romans designated the souls of the departed; but as it is a natural tendency to consider the souls of departed friends as blessed spirits, the name of Lares is frequently used as synonymous with Manes, and hence also they are called dii Manes, and were worshiped with divine honors.
At certain seasons, which were looked upon as sacred days (feriae denicales), sacrifices were offered to the spirits of the departed with the observance of various ceremonies. But an annual festival, which belonged to all the Manes in general, was celebrated on the 19th of February, under the name of Feralia or Parentalia, because it was more especially the duty of children and heirs to offer sacrifices to the shades of their parents and benefactors.1
The letters D.M. (Dis Manibus, i.e. "dedicated to the Manes") can often be found on tombstones.
- Apuleius. De Deo Socratis.
- Augustine. City of God viii, 26; ix, 11.
- Cicero. De Legibus ii, 9, 22.
- Horace. Carmina ii, 8. 9.
- Ovid. Fasti ii, 842.
- Servius on Virgil's Aeneid iii, 63, 168.