||The article is devoted to the analysis of the hearth as the most important sacred center of Roman dwelling
interior space. It addresses such issues as the role of the hearth in a Roman family’s sacra privata; peculiarities
of the ritual practice of paterfamilias, materfamilias and their children. Attention is paid to the pantheon of gods
related to the hearth and rituals aimed at their veneration. The relevance of this study lies in addressing the
religious component of Roman living space, which, unfortunately, is not a priority for the specialists in Roman
history who focus more on social aspects analysis of the space of a Roman house. Historicism and scientific
objectivity principles served as a methodological basis for the research, the comparative-historical method was
also used. A study of Romans’ home religion made it possible to establish that all significant events in the family
were accompanied by rituals at the hearth; they also turned to it for help in the event of a threat; the hearth
could warn a family of danger ‒ it could “bleed” or be “overturned”. It is important to note that the sacredness of
the hearth is also confirmed by the fact that they should have bring it from home and not light a fire on the spot.
The paterfamilias’ daughters and not his wife, were involved in daily rituals at the hearth, probably due to their
“purity” which they kept until marriage. Research result is the partial reconstruction of family’s sacred sphere,
especially ritual practice. Conducting this reconstruction is very problematic and conditionally due to the lack
of sources, but it is important to note that even a partial reconstruction allows us to define the main functions
of participants in ritual practice and claim that family’s sacred sphere was primarily associated with the hearth,
which was the basis of the ancient Romans’ sacra privata.
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