AskDefine | Define lemures

Extensive Definition

In Roman mythology, the larvae or lemures (singular lemur) were the spectres or spirits of the dead; they were the malignant version of the lares. Some Roman writers describe lemures as the common name for all the spirits of the dead, and divide them into two classes: the lares, or the benevolent souls of the family, which haunted and guarded the domus or household, and the larvae, or the restless and fearful souls of wicked men. But the more common idea was that the Lemures and Larvae were the same. They were said to wander about at night and to torment and frighten the living.
On May 9, 11, and 13, the Lemuralia or Lemuria, the feast of the Lemures, occurred, when black beans were offered to the Larvae in the hopes of propitiating them; loud noises were also used to frighten them away.
Lemurs were so named by Linnaeus for their big eyes, nocturnal habits and unearthly noises they make at night. Some species of lemur were identified by their calls before scientists had seen individuals.


The singular form of larvae is larva in both Latin and English. The singular of lemures is lemur in both languages; Dungeons & Dragons and some other fantasy worlds have adopted the back formation lemure as the singular, following English singularization rules and therefore presumably pronounced as demure, immure, etc.


  • At the Original Video Animation (OVA) of the anime Vampire Princess Miyu (80's),Larva appears as her shinma (a hybrid of God and devil being) companion. Larva's friend, that appears during the 3rd episode of the series is called Lemures.
lemures in German: Larvae
lemures in Modern Greek (1453-): Λεμούρια
lemures in French: Lémure
lemures in Italian: Lèmures
lemures in Lithuanian: Larvai
lemures in Dutch: Lemures
lemures in Norwegian: Lemurer (gjenferd)
lemures in Polish: Lémur
lemures in Russian: Лярва
lemures in Swedish: Larvae
lemures in Ukrainian: Лемури (міфологія)
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