The Ancient Library

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On this page: Larunda – Larvae – Lasus – Latifundium – Latini – Latinus – Latona – Lavatrina – Laverna – Lavinia – Leander



in the dtrium j the group as a whole was also commonly called either the Lares or the Penates. The ancient Roman and his children saluted it daily with a morning prayer and an offering from the table; for, after the chief meal was over, a portion of it was laid on the fire on the hearth. When the hearth and the tares were not in the eating-room, the offering was placed on a special table before the shrine. Regular sacrifices were offered on the calends, nones, and ides of every month and at all important family festivities, such as the birthday of the father of the family, the assumption by a son of the tdga virllis, the marriage of a child, or at the reception of a bride, or the return of any member of the family after a long absence. On such occasions the Lares were covered with gar­lands and cakes and honey; wine and in­cense, and animals, especially swine, were offered up. Out of doors the Lares were also honoured as tutelary divinities, and in the chapels at the cross-ways (compUa) there were always two lares compitales or viconim (one for each of the intersecting roads) which were honoured by a popular festival (Compitalia) held four times a year (cp. cut). Augustus added to the Lares the Genius Augusti, and commanded two regular feasts to be held in honour of these divinities, in the months of May and August. Further, there were Lares belong­ing to the whole city (lares prwsfUSs}. They were invoked with the mother of the Lares, also called Lara, Larunda, or Mania (q.v.), and had an ancient altar and temple to themselves in Rome. The Lares were invoked as protectors on a journey, in the country, in war, and, on the sea. In con­trast to these good spirits we have the Larvce (q.v.).

Larunda. See mania.

Larvse. In Roman belief the Larvce, in contrast to the Lares (the good spirits of the departed), were the souls of dead people who could find no rest, either owing to their own guilt, or from having met with some indignity, such as a violent death. They were supposed to wander abroad in the form of dreadful spectres, skeletons, etc., and especially to strike the living with madness. Similar spectres of the night are the LSmilres. To expel them from the house, peculiar expiatory rites were held on three days of the year, the 9th, llth, and 13th of May, the Llm&rta, when all the temples were closed, and marriages avoided.

Lasus (Gr. Lasos). A Greek dithyrambic poet. (See dithyrambos.)

Latlfundium. The Latin term for an extensive landed estate which was worked by means of slaves. Lands of the State (see acer publicus) taken into permanent use by occupdtlo formed the foundation of these properties, and their possessor enlarged them by obtaining contiguous pro­perty either by purchase or by forcible appropriation. This system of Jatifundia gradually caused the utter ruin of the Italian peasantry, and involved in it the general destruction of the community [Lati-fundia perdtderi Itallam, Pliny, £?. H., xviii 35].

Latin!. The name originally given by the Romans, in the language of constitu­tional law, to those who belonged to the Latin league. At its dissolution, in b.c. 338, they did not receive the right of Roman citizenship, but entered into the condition of dependent sdcii (q.v.); they had a defi­nite precedence over the other socii, pos­sessed the commercium (q.v.), and the right of settlement in Rome, and their attain­ment of the right of citizenship was mate­rially facilitated. They received this when they had once filled any annual public office in their community, or when, on settling in Rome, they left a sou behind them in the colony to which they belonged. After the right of citizenship had been given to all the inhabitants of Italy (b.c. 89), this ius Latii, or Latin Right, became useless for Italy; it was even given by many of the emperors to communities in the provinces, and a.d. 212 all free inhabi­tants of the empire received the right of citizenship. After this time the only Latini remaining were those called the Latini luniani, slaves who had been in­formally set at liberty, and who were allowed this privilege from the time of Tiberius.

Latinus. Son of Fauuus and of the Nymph MSrlca (according to another story, of Her­cules and Fauna, or of Odysseus and Circe). He was king of Latium, and father of Lavinia, the wife of J5ueas (q.v,).

Latona. See leto.

Lavatrina. Sec baths.

Laverna. The Roman patroness of thieves. There was an altar dedicated to her at the gate named after her the Porta Lavernalii.

Lavinia. Daughter of Latinus, and wife of jEneas (q.v.).

Leander (Gr. LZandrOs). A youth of Abydos, on the Hellespont, whose story was

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