Religion in the Homes and City of Ancient Rome
Romans set up in their homes alters and shrines known as Lararium. The head of the household, usually the father, was responsible for prayer and incense to the Lares, or household gods. I was believed the Lares protected the home and helped with the fields and the crops. The Romans set up altars around their fields to try to please gods, which would then help the crops. A second set of household gods were the Penates, which they believed provided food for the families.
In the city of Rome, two special deities were worshiped. The first was Roma, who represented the city of Rome. The second was Vesta. At her temple, a fire was tended by six young ladies known as Vestals. The Vestals were chosen as young ladies and were expected to serve for thirty years without marring. Vesta was never represented by a statue like most other gods of the Roman pantheon. Instead a fire was lit at her temple in March, and tended by the Vestal Virgins for the rest of the year. As long as the fire burned, it was believed that Rome would remain strong. The temple and the Vestals were guarded to insure the flame continued to burn