Religion in ancient Roman times could be divided into two main Categories; State and Domestic Religion. However there were two other types of religion present in ancient Rome and these were Emperor Cult and Foreign Religions.
"The most sacred, the most hallowed place on earth is the home of each and every citizen. There are his sacred hearth and his household gods; there is the very centre of his worship, religion and domestic ritual." Quote on the importance of religion by an ancient Roman writer Cicero.
Ancient Romans worshipped gods in and around the household everyday. The small ceremonies and offerings to the gods were performed often and precisely. Romans were always conscious of the gods they worshipped and simple tasks like walking down the street was interrupted by the need to make an offering to the gods. Romans believed in Polytheism meaning many gods.
Ancient Romans believed their homes were controlled by groups of numina (household spirits), one group, Penates, protected the stores. Another, the lares, looked after the household. Lares were souls of the dead and they also protected the head of the house and his family. Each house had a shrine to the lares called a lararium, where the family prayed each day, and offered small gifts such as wine, bread or fruit. There were ceremonies celebrated each month, and other ceremonies for important family occasions such as births, coming of age, weddings and special anniversaries. Lares were also worshipped at crossroads and at lares temples.
Each family had its own guardian spirit, the genius and ancestral spirits, the manes. These beliefs began among early farmers, but were adapted to more sophisticated urban households. .
The lares were everyone's gods no matter of social status. Even the slaves of many households were allowed to participate in the daily worshipping.