In Roman religion, guardian deities. Originally gods of cultivated fields, Lares were later worshiped in association with the Penates, the gods of the household. The household Lar, considered the center of the family cult, was often represented as a youthful figure holding a drinking horn and cup. Two Lares might be portrayed standing on either side of Vesta or some other deity. A prayer was said to the Lar or Lares every morning, and offerings were made at family festivals. Public Lares presided over local districts marked by a crossroad; state Lares (praestites), guardians of Rome, were worshiped in a temple on the Via Sacra.
Lar Lar, n.; pl. Lares, sometimes Lars. [L.] (Rom. Myth.) A tutelary deity; a deceased ancestor regarded as a protector of the family. The domestic Lares were the tutelar deities of a house; household gods. Hence, Eng.: Hearth or dwelling house. Nor will she her dear Lar forget, Victorious by his benefit. --Lovelace. The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint. --Milton. Looking backward in vain toward their Lares and lands. --Longfellow.