Also known as: Titan; Manus; Manus True

Manus is the largest of the Admiralty Islands off the northern coast of New Guinea. However, the name Manus is also an ethnonym given to the speakers of the Titan language, a specific group living on and around the southern coast of the island. To distinguish the Titan-speakers from other peoples of Manus, they are sometimes known as "Manus True". Manus religion, which the worship of spirits of deceased fathers by their sons, was studied in detail by Fortune (1935).

Show Map of Location

Traditional Culture(1900)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Fortune (1935), pp. 62-63
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Fortune (1935)
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Fortune (1932), pp. 75, 79
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 18-50
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 31-33

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 49

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 6, 13-18
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 13-18
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Mead (1956), pp. 64
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Mead (1956), pp. 64
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 18-50
Mead (1956), pp. 64

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 59

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 75, 244
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 50
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 49, 138, 148, 151, 152


Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (1996)
Keesing (1984)
Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (1996)
Keesing (1984)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 233
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Fortune (1935)
Largest religious community Larger than a household, no larger than the local community (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Gustafsson (1992), pp. 18-50
Parkinson (2010), pp. 178


Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Mead (1930), pp. 56-72, 174-203
Scarification Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 106-107
Mead (1930), pp. 56-72, 174-189
Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Mead (1930), pp. 184-185, 191-192
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Mead (1930), pp. 66-67
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Mead (1930), pp. 56-72, 174-203
Social Environment +
Population 2000 (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 211
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 211
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Carrier (1991), pp. 174
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Carrier (1991), pp. 174
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 237
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Carrier (1991), pp. 174


(No) external warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 233-234
Conflict within community Moderate (Source)
Carrier (1991), pp. 175
Mead (1937), pp. 212
(No) internal warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 233-234
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Distance to nearest continent 1048.0 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Schooling & Schooling (1988)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Carrier (1991), pp. 173
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Fortune (1935), pp. 4, 50
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Land-based gathering Minor (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Agriculture / Horticulture Absent (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210, 231
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210, 219
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210, 219

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Mead (1937), pp. 210
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Schooling & Schooling (1988)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)
Island Size (km²) 1639.0 (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)
Maximum elevation (meters) 718.0 (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)


Latitude -2.2 (Source)
Schooling & Schooling (1988)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 147.2 (Source)
Schooling & Schooling (1988)
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +


Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
Mead (1956), pp. 89
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Mead (1956), pp. 89
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Gibbs (2004), pp. 183-184
Mead (1956), pp. 88-90

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, but did not survive to the present-day (Source)
Gibbs (2004), pp. 184
Mead (1956), pp. 165-208, 274-275, 277
Schwartz (1993), pp. 533
Wanek (1996), pp. 189-218
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Mead (1956), pp. 73, 148
Immigration Absent (Source)
Wanek (1996), pp. 79-80
Language shift Medium (Source)
Eberhard (2020)
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Schwartz (1993), pp. 517-519
Wanek (1996), pp. 103-104

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Wanek (1996), pp. 79-80
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)
Wanek (1996), pp. 81, 149-150

Modern Infrastructure

Air travel Present, local only (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)
Sea port Present (Source)
'Manus Island' (2013)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Otto (1998), pp. 74, 148
Mead (1956), pp. 148
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Schwartz (1993), pp. 74
Mead (1956), pp. 71, 73
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Gibbs (2004), pp. 183-184
External Links
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from

Blust, R. (1996). Beyond the Austronesian Homeland: The Austric Hypothesis and its Implications for Archaeology. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 86 (5), 117-158. Retrieved from

Carrier, J.G. (1991). "Manus". In T.E. Hays (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II: Oceania) (pp 173-176). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Area Calculator. (2014). Retrieved from:

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014).

Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (eds.). (2020). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (23rd ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. Retrieved from

Fortune, R. F. (1932). Sorcerers of Dobu: The social anthropology of the Dobu islanders of the western Pacific. London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd

Fortune, R.F. (1935). Manus Religion. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society.

Gibbs, P. (2004). Growth, Decline and Confusion: Church Affiliation in Papua New Guinea. Catalyst, 34 (2), 164-184.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from

Gustafsson, B. (1992). Houses and ancestors: continuities and discontinuities in in leadership among the Manus. Göteborg, Sweden: IASSA. Retrieved from https://ehrafworldcultures-yale-edu/ehrafe/

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156,

Manus Island (2013). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from

Mead, M. (1930). Growing up in New Guinea: A Comparative Study of Primitive Education. New York, NY: W. Morrow and Company. Retrieved from'/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OM06')&docId=om06-001&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP&resultSelect=2

Mead, M. (1937). The Manus of the Admiralty Islands. In M. Mead (ed.), Cooperation and competition among primitive peoples (pp. 210-239)/ London: McGraw-Hill Book Company. Retrieved from https://ehrafworldcultures-yale-edu/ehrafe/

Mead, M. (1956). New Lives for Old: Cultural Transformation – Manus, 1928-1953. New York, NY: Morrow. Retrieved from https://ehrafworldcultures-yale-edu/ehrafe/

Otto, T. (1998). Local Narratives of a Great Transformation: Conversion to Christianity in Manus, Papua New Guinea. Folk: Journal of the Danish Ethnographic Society, 40, 71-97. Retrieved from'/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OM06')&docId=om06-012&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Parkinson, R. (2010). Thirty Years in the South Seas (J. Dennison, trans.). Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press. Retrieved from

Schooling, S., & Schooling, J. (1988). A preliminary sociolinguistic and linguistic survey of Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Pacific Linguistics. Series A. Occasional Papers, (76), 211-241.

Schwartz, T. (1993). Kastom, 'Custom', and Culture: Conspicuous Culture and Culture-Constructs. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, 6 (4), 515-540, DOI: 10.1080/00664677.1993.9967430

Wanek, A. (1996). The State and its Enemies in Papua New Guinea. Richmond, UK: Curzon Press Ltd.