It was, save where animal sacrifices survived, the Christian sacrifice, par excellence, the counterpart for the converted of the sacrificial communions of paganism; and though charged with higher significance than these, it yet reposed on a like background of religious usage and beliefs.
How it arose or how any credence came to be reposed in the legend, it is difficult to surmise.
In ancient Rome the Di manes, or as we should say the blessed dead, who reposed in their necropolis outside the walls, were specially commemorated on the dies parentales or days of placating them (placandis Manibus).
However carefully the preliminary rites of embalmment and burial might have been performed, however sumptuous the tomb wherein the dead man reposed, he was never- The soul.
His personality stands out at this period as the central power in which each faction chiefly reposed trust, and under which it could join hands with the others in the service of the state.