Lar with Patera, Flared Tunic and Leafy Crown

By
Laura Hutchison
Laura Hutchison is a student in the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Classical Art and Archaeology at Hopkins. Her research interests include Greek and Roman religion, the human form in ancient art, and modern issues in illicit trade of antiquities. She was excited and grateful to work so closely with ancient objects in preparation for The Roman House at Hopkins.

 

 

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  • Accession Number: JHUAM 416
  • Measurements: Width: 3.4cm, Height: 7.9cm
  • Material: Copper alloy
  • Culture/Date: Roman, 1st-2nd c. CE
  • Provenance: Capua, Italy

The Lares were tutelary deities of the Roman household. The right hand of this Lar holds a patera. The other hand, now lost, would have likely held an incense box that released smoke during worship. The Lares (the plural form of Lar) were worshipped multiple times during each calendar month, on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides, receiving gifts, offerings, and prayers. Worship of the Lares involved the whole household, including the slaves.

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Back view.

Beginning in the Augustan period, the Lares were customarily displayed and worshipped as a pair. This was originally a civic convention, as the Lares were venerated in civic shrines embodying the two compita, or crossroads, that defined each of the 265 vici, or neighborhoods, of Rome. The Lares were associated with various places, including the compita, state buildings, and the house.