Roman household shrines, also called larariums, are generally the focal point for Religio Romana practice.
The lararium is a sacred space within the home. Larariums can be quite modest in size and nature or large and expensively equipped. Typically household shrines include:
- a candle (however oil lamps are more traditional).
- a plate on which to place food offerings for the Lares.
- a container for liquid offerings (typically wine or milk).
- a salinum - a container of salt.
The location of the lararium is traditionally located near the entrance to the property or in an open space on the property, or in the kitchen or even the bedroom. It should usually be prominently placed.
Gods of the LarariumEdit
The core purpose of a lararium is to honour the Lares. However it is not unusual for other Gods to also be honoured on larariums. These other Gods may include other household deities such as Janus (God of doorways), Vesta (Goddess of the hearth), the Genius of the head of the family and the Penates (guardians of the storerooms/pantry). Ancestors may also be honoured at larariums, as may patron Gods - for example married women may particularly honour Juno and those seeking good health may especially honour Apollo. In Pompeii the most popular divine subject associated with larariums, after the Lares, included Mercury, Venus and Minerva.
Wealthier homes may have separate shrines for each deity sought to be especially honoured.