LATINUS, in Roman legend, king of the aborigines in Latium, and eponymous hero of the Latin race. In Hesiod (Theogony, 1013) he is the son of Odysseus and Circe, and ruler of the Tyrsenians; in Virgil, the son of Faunus and the nymph Marica, a national genealogy being substituted for the Hesiodic, which probably originated from a Greek source. Latinus was a shadowy personality, invented to explain the origin of Rome and its relations with Latium, and only obtained importance in later times through his legendary connexion with Aeneas and the foundation of Rome. According to Virgil (Aeneid, vii.-xii.), Aeneas, on landing at the mouth of the Tiber, was welcomed by Latinus, the peaceful ruler whose seat of government was Laurentum, and ultimately married his daughter Lavinia.
Other accounts of Latinus, differing considerably in detail, are to be found in the fragments of Cato's Origines (in Servius's commentary on Virgil) and in Dionysius of Halicarnassus; see further authorities in the article by J. A. Hild, in Daremberg and Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquites.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)