In Roman religion, Lares (also known as Lares Familiares) were the spirits of deceased ancestors who were honored and revered as guardian deities of the household. They were believed to protect and watch over the home, the family, and the property.
They were also associated with the fertility of the land, the harvest, and the prosperity of the household.
Lares were typically represented as small statues, which were kept in a small shrine or lararium, often located in the atrium of the home.
The household would make offerings and perform rituals to the Lares on a regular basis, such as at the beginning of the month, and on special occasions such as weddings and births.
The Lares were also honored during the Compitalia festival, which was held in honor of the Lares Compitales, the guardian spirits of the crossroads.
The Lares were also seen as protectors of travelers and were honored with small shrines, called Lares Viales, along the roads.
The Lares were honored as well in the context of the Roman army and military camps, where they were known as Lares Praestites.
In summary, the Lares were a central part of Roman religious practice and were seen as powerful protective spirits who watched over the household, land, and community.
They were honored and propitiated with regular offerings and rituals, with the belief that they would bring good luck and prosperity to the household.