Faunus, thought to be of ancient Italian origin, meaning “the kindly one,” from favere, was the god of fruitfulness of the fields and animals. He belonged to the forests and was especially worshipped by herdsmen. As the son of Picus (a minor god) and grandson of Saturn, he is thought to have been one of the early kings of Rome. He possessed prophetic powers, and his rites were purificatory, animals being sacrificed in his honor. He was indirectly linked to Pan, and given similar attributes including the horns and legs of a goat.

He was associated with Funa (Bona Dea), his daughter or wife, who was worshipped exclusively by women, and with Ops, a Sabine goddess of agricultural fertility. A.G.H.


Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 180
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 81