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Larunda (also Larunde, Laranda, Lara) was a naiad nymph, daughter of the river Almo in Ovid's Fasti.[1] (The only known mythography attached to Lara is little, late and poetic coming to us from Ovid’s Fasti.) She was famous for both beauty and loquacity (a trait her parents attempted to curb). She was incapable of keeping secrets, and so revealed to Jupiter's wife Juno his affair with Juturna (Larunda's fellow nymph, and the wife of Janus). For betraying his trust, Jupiter cut out Lara's tongue and ordered Mercury, the psychopomp, to conduct her to Avernus, the gateway to the Underworld and realm of Pluto. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to her on the way; this act has also been interpreted as a rape. Lara thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares, invisible household gods. However, she had to stay in a hidden cottage in the woods so that Jupiter would not find her.

Larunda is likely identical with Muta "the mute one" and Tacita "the silent one", nymphs or minor goddesses.[2][3]

Other different descriptions of Lara;[edit]

1-Larunda’s themes are earth, home and ghosts. Her symbols are stoves or ovens, soil or clay. Lara is one of the Roman Goddesses of earth and the home. She is also the mother and guardian to ghosts, or lares, who reside in the hearth and protect the family. In Rome, festival day Larentalia* was a time to say prayers for the dead and the nation, as well as to bring joy to one’s home.

2-Lara’s themes are peace, death and protection. Her symbols are roses, violets, wine and crossroads. Lara, whose name means ‘mother of the dead’, was the guardian of ancestral spirits in whose care is the home, the family and by extensions, the community. According to tradition, crossroads are sacred spots for Lara, being the meeting of two roads, symbolic of an area where the temporal world and spirit world ‘cross’ over one another.

*Larentalia: In Roman mythology Acca Larentia's festival which was celebrated on December 23. But Roman sources mention this Goddess passingly as ‘mother of the dead,’ an underworld Goddess (meant Lara) who may have been the same one who granted prosperity as Acca Larentia.


  1. ^ Ovid, Fasti 2, V. 599.
  2. ^ Lactantius, The Divine Institutions, I. 20
  3. ^ J. A. Hartung, Die Religion der Römer: Nach den Quellen, vol. II, p. 204

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