As promised, I continue my 'investigation' on the ancient Greek household religiosity with my second brief note on the ἥρως οἰκουρός, my translation which seems it is extremely formal, 'household hero'. The formality of my translation has its basis in the use of the term 'hero' derived from the LSJ's entry for ἥρως = heroes, as objects of worship - as part of my conception for 'hero's worship' was to generate a cultural stimulus (not just only in the defence of the city and encouragement of the soldiers but also within the sphere of arts and philosophy) Farnell (1921) clearly identifies it as such. Within the conception of the household religious practice, the hero, "was deemed to help his people". It may Farnell's claim seems outdated but regardless of whether a household hero is regarded a formal presence of ancestor's cult practice or a ghost which haunts that receives worship equals to state's divinities one fact remains unchanged: the 'objects' of private worship can multiply and acknowledged with sacral significance. 

In reality as correctly was pointed on Rose (1957), ἥρως οἰκουρός is effectively "a friendly and worshipful ghost" (my underline). Rose believes that an household hero was a common element within the household religious culture. Rose's attention has being drawn by Babrius (Fab. LXIII) and Theophrastus' δεισιδαίμον (Char., 10, 13) where, in the later, the over reacted pietist perceives the presence of a snake as the manifestation of the Sabazios. Within the same lines Lucian has to offer his story of Πέλλιχος ὁ Κορίνθιος στρατηγὸς in Philopseudes (18-20). The story is clearly a 'ghost story' in which the Corinthian general's spirit not only uses his bronze statue to interconnect with the physical word but also to perform cures from diseases. As a result He received gifts and offerings from these healed patients. However, what Lucian underlines is that when a Lydian slave tried to steal the offerings, was beaten to death by the offended divinity:

καὶ τότε μὲν πληγὰς οὐκ ὀλίγας ἔλαβεν ἁλούς, οὐ πολὺν δὲ ἐπιβιοὺς χρόνον κακὸς κακῶς ἀπέθανεν μαστιγούμενος, ὡς ἔλεγεν, κατὰ τὴν νύκτα ἑκάστην, ὥστε καὶ μώλωπας εἰς τὴν ἐπιοῦσαν φαίνεσθαι αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματος.

Following the above example, once again in Lucian, a doctor had his personal household cult of 'Hippocrates' (Philops. 21). The doctor's household hero was getting extremely upset by creating an uninhabited house - as the doctor complained - up to the moment He was appeased:

Ἱπποκράτης ἤδη ὁ ἰατρὸς θύεσθαι αὑτῷ, καὶ ἀγανακτεῖ ἢν μὴ κατὰ καιρὸν ἐφ᾽ ἱερῶν τελείων ἑστιαθῇ; ὃν ἔδει ἀγαπᾶν, εἴ τις ἐναγίσειεν αὐτῷ ἢ μελίκρατον ἐπισπείσειεν ἢ στεφανώσειε τὴν στήλην.

All the above occasions can be grouped within a specified family of cult practice - categorized by Farnell - the 'cults of real or historic persons'. At this specific moment, it can be clear, that the concept of worshipping and therefore the inclusion of deceased 'real' persons within the divinity sphere was in fact a healthy practice visible in the Roman religion's paterfamilias to Apollonius of Tyana and even to Jesus of Nazareth as the central figure of Christian's worship and doctrine. In Babrius Fables (LXIII), there is a fabulous statement of the commonly accepted perception towards personalized cults of household heroes:

Ἦν τις κατ' οἴκους ἀνδρὸς εὐσεβοῦς ἥρως
ἔχων ἐν αὐλῇ τέμενος. ἔνθα δὴ θύων
στέφων τε βωμοὺς καὶ καταβρέχων οἴνῳ
προσηύχετ' ἀεί ' χαῖρε, φίλταθ' ἡρώων,
καὶ τὸν σύνοικον ἀγαθὰ δαψιλῆ ποίει. '                                 5
κἀκεῖνος αὐτῷ νυκτὸς ἐν μέσαις ὥραις
' ἀγαθὸν μέν ' εἶπεν ' οὐδ' ἂν εἶς τις ἡρώων
ὦ τᾶν παράσχοι· ταῦτα τοὺς θεοὺς αἴτει·
κακῶν δὲ πάντων ἅτε σύνεστιν ἀνθρώποις
δοτῆρες ἡμεῖς. τοὶγαρ εἰ κακῶν χρῄζεις,                              10
εὔχου· παρέξω πολλά, κἂν ἓν αἰτήσῃς. '

Babrius is clear: the heroes give to humans only evils; only the Gods alone give good things (ἀγαθὰ). Babrius sounds strict and even authoritative; possibly it is true to call him - as Rose nicknamed him - "zealous servant of the Olympians". Regardless of how much effort and importance the ancient Greeks gave to their individual household hero's worship, the reality is that all had their personal hero and accordingly a private cult which offered the appropriate offerings. No one - except in this example Babrius - had any objections towards anyone's privately worshipping what gods he or she chose, as long as it remained within the private sphere of the household and the family and not discussed publicly.

ResearchBlogging.org

Farnell, L. (1921). Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 41 DOI: 10.2307/625523

Rose, H.J. (1957). The religion of a Greek household Euphrosyne, 1, 95-116