Lares Altar

The Lares of the Roman Empire were guardian deities. Most homes highways, seaways, towns, cities, even the state and its military were protected by their own particular guardian Lar. Lares protected, watched and influenced everything within the boundaries of their location or function.

The countryside Lares were celebrated at a Compitalia festival (from the Latin compitum, a crossroad) just after the Saturnalia that closed the old year. In the rites of Compitalia, a pig was often led in a celebratory procession through the streets of the town then sacrificed to the Lares at their crossroad Compitalia shrine. This altar may be portraying such a procession with the animals in front for the sacrifice and the dancers joining hands over the altar while the piper plays in the back.

Polytheistic Rome - Lares altar

Gods or goddesses; powerful supernatural figures worshipped by humans.

A broad, diverse group of nations ruled by the government of a single nation.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.