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A faun, as painted by Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse

In Roman mythology, fauns are place-spirits (genii) of untamed woodland. Romans connected their fauns with the Greek satyrs, wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Bacchus (Greek Dionysus). However, fauns and satyrs were originally quite different creatures. Both have horns and both resemble goats below the waist, humans above; but originally fauns had goat-like hooves, satyrs human feet. The Romans also had a god named Faunus and goddess Fauna, who, like the fauns, were goat-people.

The Barberini Faun (Glyptothek, Munich, Germany) is a Hellenistic marble, c. 200 BC that was found in the Mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian (the Castel Sant'Angelo) and installed at Palazzo Barberini by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (later Pope Urban VIII), the patron of Bernini, who heavily restored and refinished it, so that its present 'Hellenistic baroque' aspect may be enhanced.

Fauns in fiction

  • Elora from the original Spyro the Dragon games is a Faun, as well as many other Fauns appearing in the second game's level "Fracture Hills".
  • Mr. Tumnus is a faun who appears in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • In Guillermo del Toro's 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno), a faun guides the film's protagonist, Ofelia, to a series of tasks, which would lead her to a wondrous netherworld. However, the faun in this movie differs from most depictions, looking as if made of earth and water.

See also



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