Lares (pl.) (or Genii loci, or - rarely - Lases) were Roman deities protecting the house and the family. See also Genius, Larvae, Di Penates, Manes.
Lares are presumed sons of Zeus and Lara, and deeply venerated by ancient Romans through small statues, usually put in higher places of he house, far from the floor, or even on the roof (but some statues were also on some crossings of roads).
The Genius loci was presumed taking part in all what happened inside the house, and a statue was also put on the table durimg the meals.
In the early roman times, in every house there was at least one little statue. Later, a sort of confusion connected their figure with those of Mani, deities of Hades (and the most virtuous dead persons of the family). Finally the confusion included the Penati too (other minor deities, so called because usually represented with an evident erected penis).
Types of Lares:
- Lares Compitales - crossroads
- Lares Domestici - the house
- Lares Familiares - family
- Lares Patrii
- Lares Permarini - the sea
- Lares Praestitis - the state
- Lares Privati
- Lares Rurales - land
- Lares Viales - travelers