LA'RES, MANES, AND PENA'TES were tutelary spirits. genii, or deities of the ancient Romans, The derivation of the names is not perhaps quite certain, but the first is generally considered the plural of lap, an Etruscan word signifying " lord," or "hero;" the second is supposed to mean "the good or benevolent ones;" and the third is connected with penes, innermost part of a house or sanctuary." The Lares, Manes, and Pcnates do not appear to have been regarded as essentially different beings, for the names are frequently used either interchangeably or in such a conjunction as almost implies identity. Yet some have thought that a distinction is discernible, and have looked upon the Lares as earthly, the Manes as infernal, and the Penates as heavenly protectorsóa notion which has probably originated in the fact that Manes is a general name for the souls of the departed, those who inhabit the lower world ; while among the Penates are included such great deities as Jupiter, Juno, Vesta, etc. Hence we may perhaps infer that the Manes were just the Lares viewed as departed spirits, and that the Penates embraced not only the Lares, but all spirits, whether demons or deities, who exercised a "special providence" over families, cities, etc. Of the former, Manes. we know almost nothing distinctively. An annual festival was held in their honor, on Feb. 19, called Feralia or Parentalia; of the latter, Penates, we are in nearly equal ignorance, but of the Lares we have a somewhat detailed account. They were, like the
Penates, divided into two classesóLares domesteci, and Lares publici. The former were the souls of virtuous ancestors set free from the realm of shades by the Acherontic rites, and exalted to the rank of protectors of their descendants. They were, in short, house hold gods, and their worship was really a worship of ancestors. The first of the Laces in point of honor was the Lar familiaris, the founder of the house, the family Lar, who accompanied it in all its changes of residence. The fares publici had a wider sphere of influence, and received particular names from the places over which they ruled. Thus, We read of Lares eornpitales (the Litres of cross-roads), Laves vicorum (the Litres of streets), the Lares rurales (the rural Laces), Laves viales (the Litres of the highways), Lares (the Lares of the sea), and the Lares cubicu-li (the Lares of the bed chamber). The images of these guardian spirits or deities were placed (at least in large houses) in it small shrine or compartment called adicsila or lararia. They were wor shiped every day: whenever a Roman family sat down to meals, a portion of the food was presented to them; but particular honors were paid to them on the calends, nones, and ides of the month; and at festive gatherings, the lararia were thrown open, and the images of the household gods were adorned with garlands.