I'm having trouble understanding how the Roman mythology revolves around or is associated with the concept of Genius. From what I understand, every thing has a spirit or soul, that can be venerated in some way. This was the thought that eventually led to the Imperial Cult, where the Emperor himself was not actually worshiped, but it was his Genius.
If I were to hazard to guess, I would say that the Genii came first. People worshiped the sky, which eventually became Jupiter, the god of the sky. But by the time we get to 30 BC with the advent of the Imperial Cult, they are still talking about it. So they didn't abandon it as a primitive understanding of the gods, but embraced it as fundamental to divinity.
So around 30 BC, at the advent of the Imperial Cult, how did the Romans at this time typically understand how the Genii fit into the mythology?
Some side questions spawn out of this so here they are out of curiosity, not expectation that they should be answered:
- Doesn't this just make Roman Mythology a kind of pantheism?
- Were there different theologies based on this concept that asserted that Jupiter et al. didn't actually exist like the myths portrayed?