Article name Hearth in the Sacral Topography of a Roman House and Ritual Practice of Familia
Authors Fedchenko , ,; O.V. History teacher,
Bibliographic description Fedchenko O. V. Hearth in the Sacral Topography of a Roman House and Ritual Practice of Familia // Humanitarian Vector. 2021. Vol. 16, No. 3. PP. 167–175. DOI: 10.21209/1996-7853-2021-16-3-167-175.
Section Archaeological Culture
UDK 94
DOI 10.21209/1996-7853-2021-16-3-167-175
Article type
Annotation 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.
Key words atrium, focus, ritual, paterfamilias, materfamilias, Lares, Penates, Vesta
Article information
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Full articleHearth in the Sacral Topography of a Roman House and Ritual Practice of Familia