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Household Gods in Pompeii & Herculaneum

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Presentation on theme: "Household Gods in Pompeii & Herculaneum"— Presentation transcript:

1 Household Gods in Pompeii & Herculaneum
The Gods Religious Practices’ Larariums

2 The Gods Within Roman religion there were a multitude of Gods which were believed to posses certain powers and were associated with different factors of life. There were three main god like figures which were worshipped in the home of Pompeian's and Herculean populations. The Lares, Penates, Genius and the Agath Odenion (snake/serpent). The Lares were guardian spirits who appear to be associated with places of crossing or entry. Other gods which the Pompeian and Herculean people worshipped include the Goddess Vesta, protector of the Hearth. Depending on your craft as well, usually dictated which gods you would want to appease so that your business would boom. Eg Bacchus and Mercury could be sometimes found together in paintings/frescos.

3 Religious Practices’ These religious figures worshipped in a number of ways. The most common form was the Lararium. These can be found in many houses around Pompeii and Herculaneum. Religious sacrifices were also common, when one wanted to appease a spirit or god. Organic remains found in both Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit religious practices. Other rituals included prayers, seeking out blessings from the gods and spirits. Special occasions such as marriages and births all seek blessings from the gods and spirits, to ensure good fortune.

4 Larariums The Lararium was a shrine to the guardian spirits of the Roman household. Family members performed daily rituals at this shrine to guarantee the protection of these domestic spirits, the most significant of which were the Lares. Lararias varied in size and expense depending on the wealth of the family. If you were poor, you would either have a small, plain Lararium or you would go to the Temple of the Public Lares, located in the forum and pray there to the spirits for the protection of your home. The wealthy had extremely large Lararias with bronze statues or paintings which represented the Lares or the spirits of the home.

5 Segment from The House of the Vettii Lararium.
Depicted left is the Genius (middle figure) and the Lares (left and right). This typical of a Lararium, with the spirits painted onto the wall of the Lararium. The Genius represents the Paterfamilias and is prayed to, to ensure that the family line would continue. BACK

6 Lararium in the Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus featuring Mercury and Dionysis.
A Lararium from a thermopolium in Pompeii depicts 5 figures. 2 of which are Dionysis and Mercury. Mercury and Dionysis would have been included in this Lararium as it is a business and Mercury is the God of commerce, and Dionysis the God of wine. BACK

7 Fresco from Pompeii, depicting Agath Odenion (snakes).
The Fresco found within Pompeii, exhibits two serpents (Agath Odenion) slithering towards an altar. These snakes/ serpents, were protectors of the household and of the families prosperity. BACK

8 Extract from http://www. angelfire. com/va/goddesses/mine
Extract from explaining the Goddess Minerva’s importance Minerva (pronounced mi-ner'vah), the Roman and Etruscan Goddess of intelligence, creativity, wisdom, domestic skills, and handicrafts was the patroness of artisans, of all people whose handiwork was guided by their minds. Her very name comes from the ancient root for "mind". Minerva appears here with her sacred tree, the olive. She wears an aegis, which is a breastplate edged with snakes and an owl on her headdress which identifies her as a Goddess of death and the deepest mysteries. Minerva being the goddess of craftsmen, she would have been worshipped in homes with shops that had an industry with links to craftsmanship. Minerva is also mentioned in Lararium prayers BACK

9 “Di obsecro vostram fidem,"
Lararium Prayer from "Salva sis, Vesta mater." “Haec aqua a corpore impuritates modo simile plumbo mutando ad aurum eluat." "Jane pater, te hac strue obmovenda bonas preces precor, uti sis volens propitius mihi (liberisque meis) domo familiaeque meae." “Jane pater, macte istace libatione pollucenda esto, macte vino inferio esto.” "Di Penates meium parentum, familiai Lar pater, vobis mando, meum parentum rem bene ut tutemini." "Larem (corona nostrum decoro) venerare ut nobis haec habitatio bono fausta felix fortunataque euenat." “Di obsecro vostram fidem," Depicted right is a ritual prayer that was said every time one went to pray at a Lararium. The prayer honours the Gods and Goddess, great importance was placed on keeping the gods balanced. The Lares, Penates and Genius are also mentioned and honoured during this prayer. BACK

10 Extract from http://www. religioromana. net/lararia
Extract from depicting Lararium rituals. “Residents of the household would gather around the familial shrine or Lararium and, led by the Paterfamilias (head of the household), commence in daily communion with the Lares familiares (protective ancestral spirits).  The religious observation consisted of prayers and offerings to the divine in order to achieve Pax Deorum (peace with the gods).   These daily practices at the Lararium ensured the protection and favor of the prevailing divine forces for the well-being of the residents, properties and lands.” This website extract provides insight into the rituals that would have been performed at Pompeian and Herculean Lararia. Rituals were led by the Paterfamilia, and sometimes included sacrifices on special occasions. BACK

11 Modern Day reconstruction of a Lararium.
Although not a Pompeii or Herculaneum Lararium. This modern day Lararium still shares some common ideals with the ancient ones of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Picture frames represent Genius, Lares and Penates. Items on second shelf represent offerings. Scales and god like figurines represent the balance needed between Roman deities. BACK

12 Segment of a chart demonstrating some of the various worship and offerings that occur within households and at Lararias. This chart extract gives a clear demonstration of some of the offerings and rituals that occur at a household Lararium. Some rituals would differ depending on the occasion. BACK

13 Lararium found at Pompeii with statues intact.
Depicted right is a Lararium found in Pompeii. Inside the Lararium are remains of the small statuettes that would sometimes replace fresco’s, in larger, more elaborate houses. The statues were of two men in dancing positions, with the genius in the middle. BACK

14 House of the Vettii, Segment of a Fresco Lararium.
To the left is the whole Lararium at the house of the Vettii, the snake (Agath Odenion) at the bottom is believed to have been the protector of the household, genius loci. The role of the snake was to keep vermin away from food sources. BACK

15 House of the Skeleton; Lararium in Herculaneum.
Depicted right is a Lararium found in the House of the Skeleton, Herculaneum. It is obvious from the Lararium itself that the family were quite well off. The Lararium demonstrates the typical design that is quite similar to a temple front or a door way, which the Lares were thought to be the guardians of. Also known as Aedicula. BACK

16 Lararium at the house of the Faun; Pompeii.
This Lararium at the House of the Faun, is a typical design of many of the wealthy homes in Pompeii. This Lararium is a Niche style Lararium, with a common temple resemblance. BACK

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