- In pre-Islamic and Islamic lore, a DJINN. The term genie is an English translation of djinn, which first appeared in print in 1655 and is probably also related to the older Latin term genius, a type of guardian or tutelary spirit of people, places, and things that was demonized by Christianity.Genie became the popular English term for djinn, primarily because the French translators of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Arabic folktales, used it in place of djinn. One of the most familiar tales, “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp,” features a genie released from a magical lamp that fulfills wishes. In Roman mythology, the genius (pl. genii) is present at the birth of a person, remains with him or her throughout life, and shapes the person’s character and destiny. If a guardian of a place, the genius serves as the animating force that gives a location its unique power and atmosphere. In Assyrian lore, the genie is a guardian spirit or minor deity. In art, it is often portrayed as having a role in royal rituals. Genies are anthropomorphic, with animal heads (and sometimes wings) and human torsos and limbs. They guard and purify kings, members of royalty, supernatural figures, and open doorways against malevolent demons and the disorders they cause. In art, they are shown holding a pinecone in the right hand and a bucket of either water or pollen in the left hand. Both bucket and cone have associations of purification. Portrayals of genies were placed in buildings as guardians.See djinn.FURTHER READING:- Black, Jeremy, and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. London: British Museum Press, 1992.
Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 2009.