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great and mighty deities, the supreme powers of nature -- were adored at first without specific names.
In old Latium the pontifices concealed the names of the gods.
The earliest documents of history show that religion had long existed at the time of their composition.
sea, lake, river, spring, cloud; and thus was had a fourth elemental deity. the worship of the stars that illumine the earth -- developed above all the worship of the sun. the rain-clouds -- but even then doubts spring up, and the poetic writers ask themselves whether, after all, there are such things as the Devas.
Where soil and vegetation was rich, the earth was regarded as a nursing mother, and Geolatry in many forms arose. In Homer and Hesiod the forces of nature are conceived as persons -- e.g.
( French déité ; Late Latin deitas ; Latin deue , divus , "the divine nature", "godhead", "god"). The scientific spirit demands statements of facts verified beyond dispute or inductions in accord with facts.
The original meaning of the word is shown in the Sanskrit dyaus , gen. Thus viewed, the history of religions shows on the subject of the Deity: Religion, in its most general sense, is a universal phenomenon of mankind.