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with Vesta and Lar, the household gods of the Romans; strictly the guardianS of the storeroom (penus), which in old Roman houses stood next the atrium; in later times, near the back of the building (penetralia). They were two in number, and presided over the well-being of the house, their blessing being shown in the fulness of the store-room. This chamber therefore, as being sacred to them, was holy, and not to be entered except by chaste and undefiled persons. The hearth of the house was their altar, and on it were sculptured the figures of the two Penates beside that of the Lar. Often they were represented dancing and raising a drinking-horn, to symbolise a joyful and prosperous life. The offerings to them were made jointly with those to the Lar (see LARES). There were also Penates belonging to the State. These at first had their temple in the quarter Velia, where their statues stood below those of the Dioscuri. Afterwards it was supposed that the original Penates, brought from Samothrace to Troy, and thence conveyed by Aeneas to Lavinium, were identical with certain symbols kept, with the Palladium, in a secret part of the temple of Vesta. The Penates of the Latin League, which were at first regarded as the Trojan Penates, were enshrined in the sanctuary at Lavinium. Annual offerings were brought to them by the Roman priests, and also by consuls, praetors, and dictators on assuming or laying down office, and by generals on their departure for their provinces.
Type: Standard
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