), and in Latin, Patrii Dii,
are, properly speaking, all the gods whose worship has been handed down in a nation or a family from the time of their fathers, whence in some instances they are the spirits of departed ancestors themselves. (Lucian, De Mort. Pereg.
36.) Zeus was thus θεὸς πατρῷος
at Athens (Paus. 1.3.3
), and among the Heracleidae, since the heroes of that race traced their origin to Zeus. (Apollod. 2.8.4
.) Among the Romans we find the divinities avenging the death of parents, that is, the Furiae or Erinnyes, designated as Patrii Dii.
(Cic. in Ferr.
2.1, 3 ; eomp. Liv. 40.10
But the name was also applied to the gods or heroes from whom the gentes erived their origin. (Serv. ad Aen. 3.832
; State. Theb.