220px-Lar romano de bronce (M.A.N. Inv.2943) 01

A lar with a cornucopia


A lararium; two lares on the outside flank a genius (guardian of the family line) in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii.

Lares, (singular: Lar) are household guardians in Roman mythology. They were worshiped at a household shrine called a lararium (plural: lararia). They protected the homes and residents of their supplicants and had many role and forms. The paterfamilias (head of the family) would present offerings to the lares at lararia and were responsible for the reverence and general upkeep of the shrines. Lares may have originated as ancestor spirits

Forms and Domains

The lares had many specific functions based on their roles

  • Lares Augusti: associated with the first day of August and thus the initiation of magistracies and Emperor Augustus
  • Lares Compitales/Compitalicii: associated with their local neighbourhood. Their shrines were usually located at crossroads
  • Lares Domestici/Familiares: lares of the house and household
  • Lares Militaris: who protected common soldiers. Gladiators would sometimes have small statuettes to make offerings to
  • Lares Permarini: who protected seafarers and mariners
  • Lares Rurales: lares who protected fields and farms
  • Lares Viales: lares who protected roads and travelers

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