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Numen ("an influence perceptible by mind but not by senses", pl. numina) is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in the Roman philosophical and religious thought. The many names for Italic gods may obscure this sense of a numinous presence in all the seemingly mundane actions of the natural world.The animistic aspect of Roman religion is generally noted in all surveys, though as a phase characterising the earliest, most fundamental layers in a pseudo-evolutionary model of Italic religion it is criticised as "mostly a scholarly fiction" by Kevin McGeough, The Romans: new perspectives 2004:179 "Numinous Forces and Other scholarly Inventions"; "Scholars may have to content themselves with nodes of meanings for the Italic gods rather than hard-and-fast definitions", observes Charles Robert Phillips III, in "A Note on Vergil's Aeneid 5, 744", Hermes 104.2 (1976:247-249) p. 248, with recent bibliography; Gerhard Radke's classification of the forms and significances of these multifarious names in Die Götter Altitaliens (Münster, 1965) was criticized as "unwarranted precision" in the review by A. Drummond in The Classical Review, New Series, 21.2 (June 1971:239-241); the coupling and uncoupling of Latin and Italic cognomina of the gods, creating the appearance of a multitude of deities, were classically dissected in Jesse Benedictus...
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