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δαίμων). Originally a term applied to deity in general, manifested in its active relation to human life, without special reference to any single divine personality. But as early as Hesiod the daemones appear as subordinates or servants of the higher gods. He gives the name especially to the spirits of the past age of gold, who are appointed to watch over men and guard them. In later times, too, the daemones were regarded as beings intermediate between the gods and mankind, forming, as it were, the retinue of the gods, representing their powers in activity, and intrusted with the fulfilment of their various functions. This was the relation, to take an instance, which the Satyrs and Sileni bore to Dionysus. But the popular belief varied in regard to these deities.

Another kind of daemones are those attached to individual men, attending them, like the Roman genius (q. v.), from birth to death. In later times two attendant daemones were assumed for every one; but this feeling was not universal, both good and evil being regarded as emanating at different times from the same daemon. The good spirit who gave rural prosperity and presided over vineyards (a sort of Hellenic brownie or Robin Goodfellow) was called Agathodaemon (ἀγαθοδαίμων).

On the famous daemon of Socrates, see the article Socrates.

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