FAUNUS. One of the oldest of the Italian deities. He was the god of forests, plains, fields, and shepherds. As such he came to be identified with the Greek god Pan (q.v.). He was worshipped also as a god of pro phecy. " He revealed the future in dreams and strange voices, communicated to his votaries while sleeping in his precincts upon the fleeces of sacrificed lambs " (O. Seyffert). As a god of prophecy, he was called Fatuus. J. G. Frazer mentions (G.B., Pt. II., 1911) that those who consulted the oracle of Faunus were required to be chaste, to eat no flesh, and to wear no rings. He explains that rings seem to have been regarded as magical fetters which prevented the egress or ingress of spirits. With Faunus was associated a goddess Fauna or Fetus. The festival Faunalia at which honour was done to the deity by peasants was celebrated ou the 13th of February and the 5th of December. In legend Faunus is represented as the grandson of Saturn (q.v.), and as an ancient king of Latium who taught the people agriculture and cattle breeding. To Faunus the god were assigned a number of Fauni or Fauns, just as to Pan (q.v.) were assigned a number of little Pans (Paniskoi), and to Silenus Silenuses. Like the Pans, Silenuses, and Satyrs (q.v.),
the Fauns are represented as being to some extent in the form of goats. They were regarded as " merry, capricious beings, and in particular as mischievous goblins who caused night-mares " (O. Seyffert). J. G. Frazer points out that all such minor divinities in the form of goats partake more or less clearly of the char acter of woodland deities. " The Fauns are expressly designated as woodland deities; and their character as such is still further brought out by their association, or even identification, with Silvanus and the Silvanuses, who, as their name of itself indicates, are spirits of the woods." He paints out further that there is a close connection between tree-spirits and corn-spirits. This is seen in the case of the Fauns. Though wood-spirits, they were supposed to foster the growth of the crops. In folk-custom the corn-spirit is frequently represented as a goat. Frazer agrees with Mannhardt that on the whole " the Pans, Satyrs, and Fauns perhaps belong to a widely diffused class of wood-spirits conceived in goat form." See Chambers' Encycl.; O. Seyffert, Diet.; J. G. Frazer, G.B., Pt. V., vol. ii.