COMPLICATED GENIUS: “Genius has no country. It blossoms everywhere. Genius is like the light, the air. It is the heritage of all.” From Jose Rizal’s toast (brindis) to the artists Juan Luna and Felix Resurrección Hidalgo in Madrid, Spain. (25 June 1884)

February 21 is the day we commemorate Felix Resurrección Hidalgo’s 159th birth anniversary. In this detail of the study for Per Pacem Et Libertatem, the genius spirits are seen holding attributes of compass, swords, and something that resembles a caduceus. (And another, a lyre, which is not included in this image.)

In Ancient Roman tradition, Genius is the god of men, the personification of creativity and strength in mortal males, the counterpart of Juno. Originally the Genius seems to have been the procreative power that enables a family to continue generation after generation. As time passed, the Genius merged with a quite different idea, that of a personal (daemon) spirit who watched over an individual throughout his life, a guardian angel.

When a child took its first step, when it is purified and adopted into a family, when it was named, when it came of age, when it first undertook a domestic art or craft, when it married – at each new undertaking, whether on the farm, in the shop or in the pursuit of a profession, a new spiritual entity came into being to serve the occasion, until finally the Genius, the familiar spirit of the grown man, took charge. 


——–
Sources:

Man and His Gods by Homer W. Smith
The Romans and Their Gods in the Age of Augustus by R.M. Ogilvie
The Encyclopedia of Gods by Michael Jordan