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Silvanus was originally a god of forests and wildlife, identified with Mars. Later, he was considered the god of fields, herds, orchards, groves, agriculture and the protector of the house and property. Silvanus was considered the protector of cattle herds. It scared away wolves and improved their fertility. According to Dolabella, the village engineer, Sylvanus was to be the first to set up the stones that marked the boundaries of the fields. Each property had three so-called Silvani: Silvanus domesticus, Silvanus agrestis (worshipped by shepherds) and Silvanus orientalis

He was to be the son of a shepherd and goat or woman of Tusculum named Valeria and her own father. He was a nagging god, scaring wanderers wandering through forests, while the Romans scared children with him.

He did not have an officially established cult but was a deity extremely popular with peasants, commoners, and slaves. The sacrifice was made of fruit (grapes), other products (ears, milk, meat, wine) and the offspring of domestic animals (pigs), but only men could perform the sacrificial activities.

Silvanus was identified with Faunus or the Greek Lord. The Mithraists, on the other hand, identified him with the deified soul of the bull, killed by Mithra.

He was depicted as a strong old man in a wreath of ivy, dressed in peasant clothes, with a sickle in his hand and accompanied by a dog. He was also imagined in the form of a stone or a tree.

  • Kempiński Andrzej, Encyklopedia mitologii ludów indoeuropejskich, Warszawa 2001
  • Schmidt Joël, Słownik mitologii greckiej i rzymskiej, Katowice 1996

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