Presentation Title

Lararia and Roman Domestic Religion in the Bay of Naples

Moderator

Dr. Robert Jeske

Location

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Start Date

28-5-2015 11:30 AM

End Date

28-5-2015 12:30 PM

Abstract

This research investigates a tangible component of ancient Roman religion through an examination of a selection of lararia, (shrines dedicated to the Lares, Roman gods of the household), which have been found in Roman houses and villas around the Bay of Naples in Italy. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 preserved many lararia; in particular, the lararium of Villa San Marco at Stabiae retains a high level of preservation and will be the focal point for comparisons with other lararia found in neighboring sites destroyed by the eruption.

Through an analysis of the location as well as the material and decorative features of these lararia this paper aims at discussing religious beliefs and rituals associated with the household and the Lares in particular. Moreover, since all the lararia examined are clearly dated before AD 79, their study can provide an insight into religious rituals and beliefs that were prevalent in a domestic context during a very crucial and transformative time in Roman history, such as the late Republican and early Imperial period. The use of LiDAR scans for this study, which allows to enhance the detail with which architectural and decorative features are analyzed, will be discussed and assessed as an important tool for the collection and elaboration of data in an archaeological context.

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May 28th, 11:30 AM May 28th, 12:30 PM

Lararia and Roman Domestic Religion in the Bay of Naples

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

This research investigates a tangible component of ancient Roman religion through an examination of a selection of lararia, (shrines dedicated to the Lares, Roman gods of the household), which have been found in Roman houses and villas around the Bay of Naples in Italy. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 preserved many lararia; in particular, the lararium of Villa San Marco at Stabiae retains a high level of preservation and will be the focal point for comparisons with other lararia found in neighboring sites destroyed by the eruption.

Through an analysis of the location as well as the material and decorative features of these lararia this paper aims at discussing religious beliefs and rituals associated with the household and the Lares in particular. Moreover, since all the lararia examined are clearly dated before AD 79, their study can provide an insight into religious rituals and beliefs that were prevalent in a domestic context during a very crucial and transformative time in Roman history, such as the late Republican and early Imperial period. The use of LiDAR scans for this study, which allows to enhance the detail with which architectural and decorative features are analyzed, will be discussed and assessed as an important tool for the collection and elaboration of data in an archaeological context.