In Roman belief the Larvae, in contrast to the Lares (the good spirits of the departed),
were the souls of dead persons who could find no rest, either owing to their own guilt, or
from having met with some indignity, such as a violent death. They were supposed to wander
abroad in the form of dreadful spectres, skeletons, etc., and especially to strike the living
with madness. Similar spectres of the night are the Lemures
. To expel them from the house, peculiar expiatory rites were held on three
days of the year, the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May, the Lemuria, when all the temples were
closed, and marriages avoided.