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Family Gods Detail

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Family Gods Detail
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A view of a small family worship shrine (Lararium/Sacrarium) with an altar and a niche.  The household deities, lares/penates, were placed here.  The small "busts" are actually plaster casts made from the cavities left by the original wooden busts.  This lararium is located in the southwest corner of the Peristyle Garden—in "Area 25."

. . . Lares functioned as guardians over various settings.  The most common were domestic Lares of each household (Latin: Lares domestici), which represented spirits of family dead who had been elevated to a special kind of spiritual existence on account of their goodness and/or importance.  These spirits protected the family, and all members of the household were expected to reverence them daily in offerings and prayers at the Lararium, a small altar typically placed in the Roman house. . . . In comparison to the more well–known gods, the Lares . . . figured much more frequently in the day–to–day ritual life of people.

. . . . members of Roman households, the family and their slaves too, gathered daily to reverence the household Lares.  (Hurtado pp. 46–47).

Hurtado, Larry W.  Destroyer of the gods — Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World.   Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2016.

And see my blog entry Here.


The House of Menander is located to the southeast of the Roman Forum of Pompeii.  It is one of the largest and most opulent houses of Pompeii (19,000 sq ft.).  A personal seal and graffiti indicate that Quintus Poppaeus Sabinus was its owner.  He was a relative of the Empress Poppea Sabina, Nero's second wife.  Its name comes from a fresco of a famous Greek dramatist, Menander found on one of the walls.

Regio I, Insula X.4 (= Region 1, Block 10, Doorway 4 [plus others]) — Area 25.