The daily worship of these deities took place at the
family meal. The table would be placed at the side of the hearth, and when the
father and his family sat down to it, a little food would be thrown into the
flames and a portion of wine poured out, as an offering to the gods. The images
of the Lares and Penates would also be fetched from the shrine and placed on
the table in token of their presence at the meal. This religion of the family
lasted with little change throughout the entire period of Roman history.
JANUS AND VESTA
The early Roman state was only an enlarged family, and
hence the religion of the state was modeled after that of the family. Some of
the divinities, such as Janus and Vesta, were taken over with little change
from the domestic worship. The entrance to the Forum formed a shrine of Janus,
 which Numa himself was said to have built. The door, or gateway, stood
open in time of war, but shut when Rome was at peace. At the south end of the
Forum stood the round temple of Vesta, containing the sacred hearth of the
city. Here Vesta was served by six virgins of free birth, whose duty it was to
keep the fire always blazing on the altar. If by accident the fire went out, it
must be relighted from a "pure flame," either by striking a spark
with flint or by rubbing together two dry sticks. Such methods of kindling fire
were those familiar to the prehistoric Romans.
 Since a door (janua) had two sides, Janus, the door
god, was represented with the curious double face which appears on Roman coins. The month of January in the Julian calendar was named for him.