By Ivy Walls
What is that?
A lararium is a household shrine mounted on the wall that the Romans would use to worship their household gods. It was made to look like a miniature temple.
How was this made?
First I made a sketch of the lararium.
Next I cut out all the pieces from cardboard.
Then I constructed it and used paper mâché on some of it to make it sturdier.
Then I painted it and added the background figures.
What's in the background?
One of the figures is a genius, which was thought of as a man's guardian spirit. The others were the lares, which were the gods of the household.
How else did the Romans worship?
They would usually make sacrifices to the gods. In return for this, the gods were supposed to grant them favor, protection, or whatever the Roman asked for. If it didn't happen, the Roman would assume that the ritual went wrong, as everything had to be perfect or it wouldn't work.
The Romans also had temples. These were not used for direct worship like the larariums, but instead were for priests only. There were different kinds of priests, such as the soothsayers who would interpret the entrails of the sacrifices.
What (or who) did they worship?
There were countless gods and goddesses, each with a different job or specialty. These included Diana, goddess of the hunt, Minerva, goddess of wisdom, and Jupiter (Iupiter), god of the sky, as well as lesser known deities such as Muta, goddess of silence, and Mellona, goddess of bees.
When did this stop?
In 312 AD, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. This let the Christians, who were brutally persecuted before, have religious freedom. Eventually the Christians had the support of emperors and the law, and became the major religion.