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p667 Lararium

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on pp667‑668 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

LARA′RIUM was a place in the inner part of a Roman house, which was dedicated to the Lares, p668and in which their images were kept and worshipped. It seems to have been customary for religious Romans in the morning, immediately after they rose, to perform their prayers in the lararium. This custom is said at least to have been observed by the emperor Alexander Severus (Lamprid. Al. Sev. 29, 31), who had among the statues of his Lares those of Christ, Abraham, Orpheus, and Alexander the Great. This emperor had a second lararium, from which the first is distinguished by the epithet majus, and the images of his second or lesser lararium were representations of great and distinguished men, among whom are mentioned Virgil, Cicero, and Achilles. That these images were sometimes of gold, is stated by Suetonius (Vitell. 2). We do not know whether it was customary to have more than one lararium in a house, or whether the case of Alexander Severus is merely to be looked upon as an exception.


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