One of the best known Vestales was Rhea Silvia, who broke her vows and conceived twins Romulus and Remus with the god Mars. His twin brother was Remus. Breaking the vow of celibacy was punished by burying the offending priestess alive, outside the city of Rome. In ancient Roman religion, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins, were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Marble head of a Vestal Virgin. By tending what was supposed to be an eternal flame in Vesta's temple, they were symbolically tending to the hearth of all of Rome. It was the Pontifex' task to administer their punishment. Hera remained faithful to her faithless husband. Besides aristocratic birth, vestals had to meet certain criteria assuring their perfection, including being free of bodily imperfection and having living parents. They prepared the mola salsa that was used in all state sacrifices. Should a Vestal be unchaste, her brutal ritual sacrifice would punish not only her but whatever might be polluting Rome. Romulus' mother, Rhea Silvia, was forced to become a Vestal Virgin (a chaste priestess of the Roman goddess Vesta) by her uncle, Amulius. The College of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. Her impurity threatened the safety of Rome. It was also forbidden to shed the blood of a Vestal. They tended to the sacred fire of Vesta and had many rights and privileges, such as being carried in a palanquin (which had a right of way), being able to pardon criminals/slaves, the right to own property and vote, being able to give evidence without an oath and a reserved seat at games and performances. The College of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. A Vestal who lost her virginity was buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus (near the Colline gate) amid solemn ritual. . On May 15, the Vestals threw straw figurines (Argei) into the Tiber. He has a twin brother. Vestal Virgins were priestesses who vowed abstinence for 30 years to focus on tending to the sacred fire at the Temple of Vesta. Hence the cultivation of the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. May 24, 2019 - Explore Seulete's board "Vestal", followed by 68771 people on Pinterest. From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins argues that the ritual roles played out by women were vital in defining them sexually and that these sexually defined categories spilled over into other aspects of Roman culture, including political activity. There were four to six Vestal Virgins who tended the fire, as well as sought over rituals and protected sacred objects. For some offenses, a Vestal might be whipped, but if the sacred fire went out, it proved a Vestal was impure. It has been thought that the Vestal Virgins wore their hair in the seni crines style of brides where the six parts to be braided and piled up were separated by a spear. After her descent, the steps were removed and dirt heaped on the entrance to the room. From "Why Were The Vestals Virgins? Those chosen as Vestal Virgins had to be of the required age, be freeborn of freeborn and respectable parents (though later the daughters of freedmen were eligible), have both parents alive, and be free from physical and mental defects. Special privileges were granted the Vestal Virgins. Koptev says that an ancient grammarian, Festus says the six Vestals represented a division into three primary and three secondary Vestals, one of each for each tribe. But this 2nd-century AD head shows one of those who did. July 15, 2019 Cultural Heritage / featured / Greek Mythology / Hestia / History / Roman Empire / Roman Mythology / Sacred / Vesta / Vestal. The Vestales, or Vestal Virgins, guarded a sacred flame at the temple, and swore thirty-year vows of chastity. They may have originally represented the daughters of the chief/priest, according to William Warde Fowler in The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic (1899). The virgins would be chosen at an early age by the chief priest and would vow chastity for 30 years. The Vestal Virgins were venerated priestesses of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth fire (full title: Vesta publica populi Romani Quiritium), and the guardians of the luck of Rome who could intervene on behalf of those in trouble. The Vestal was brought to steps leading down to a room with food, a bed, and a lamp. Very few women had a powerful, public role anywhere in the ancient world. From those offered, the selections were made by lot. They lived in the House of the Vestal Virgins on the Roman Forum, near the Temple of Vesta. Surviving statuary shows her as a sedate Roman matron with a cornucopia and a snake. Vesta And Her Six Vestal Virgins – Highly Venerated Goddess Of Hearth And Family AncientPages.com | December 24, 2019 | Featured Stories , Myths & Legends , News , Roman Mythology A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - In ancient Roman beliefs, Vesta (the equivalent of the Greeks' Hestia) was the goddess of the fire, home, and family. https://mythology.wikia.org/wiki/Vestal_Virgins?oldid=37619. Girls from the ages of 6 to 10, originally from patrician, and later, from any freeborn family, were eligible to become Vestals (sacerdotes Vestales). See more ideas about Vestal virgin, Vestal, Goddess. The reasons behind the virginal status of the Vestals have been scrutinized by classicists and anthropologists. In exchange for a commitment of 30 years (10 in training, 10 in service, and 10 training others) and a vow of chastity, Vestals were emancipated, and so, free to administer their own affairs without a guardian (that is, they were free of their father's potestas), given honor, the right to make a will, luxurious accommodations at state expense, and when they went out lictors carrying rods proceeded them. They could not show excessive care of their person, and they were not allowed to let the fire go out. Modern audiences are probably most familiar with Vesta through her priestesses, the Vestal Virgins. Roman, 2nd century AD. It burned until 391, when the Emperor Theodosius I forbade public pagan worship. They were drawn from the patrician class and had to observe absolute chastity for thirt… NEXT> 3. They were the guardians of the public hearth at the Atrium Vesta. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Rhea Silva, the mother of Romulus and Remus, was a Vestal. Jun 15, 2016 - Related post: Last-minute Vestal Virgin (a pile of sheets and some yarn, basically) The Vestal Virgins were the six priestesses who tended the sacred flame of Vesta, goddess of the hearth, in ancient Rome. It was from this that the Vestales were named the Vestal virgins. The Vestals also kept wills and participated in ceremonies. According to "Burial customs and the pollution of death in ancient Rome: procedures and paradoxes," by Francois Retief and Louise P. Cilliers, it was required that people be buried outside the city (beyond the Pomoerium) except for a privileged few that included the vestals. They were disbanded in 394 CE by the Christian emperor Theodosius I who also prohibited the worship of Vesta along with the other gods of the pagans and closed the schools and temples. "In fact, the names Vesta and Hestia come from the same ancient root, dating back to a time when Greek and Latin were more or less dialects of the same now-lost mother language (which we call 'Indo-European' today). The ashes of the unborn calves were kept by the Vestal Virgins till the feast of the Parilia(seePALES), when they were used for the purpose of purification. According to Plutarch, in his life of Numa, there were originally two Vestals, and then 2 pairs under Servius Tullius named Gegania and Verenia, Cannulae and Tarpeia, representing the Romans and the Sabines. Zeus' wife was Hera. The last known chief Vestal (vestalis maxima) was Coelia Concordia in A.D. 380. Or The Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State," Holt N. Parker writes: N.S. Their body was sacrosanct: harming or injuring them physically was punishable by death.Vestal virgins were sworn to celibacy, after they took their vows, they passed from the protection of their father to the protection of the state, and were thus considered daughters of the state. Originally, there were 2, then 4 (in Plutarch's time), and then 6 Vestal Virgins. The goddess of the hearth and home, Vesta was a Roman deity that symbolized faith, family, and domestic order. On the last day of the festival, the temple was ritually cleansed. One cannot forget the Vestal Virgins who had no Greek counterpart. One of the Vestales mentioned in mythology was Rhea Silvia, who with the god Marsconceived Romulus and Remus. However, which of these was Hera's child by Zeus? Athena. They wore distinctive dress and probably seni crines, the hairstyle of a Roman bride. She was virgin by choice. The practice ended in 394. Romulus was the son of Rhea Silvia (a Vestal Virgin and the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa) and Mars, the Roman god of war. They were girls chosen only from the patrician class at the tender age of six, beginning their service to the goddess Vesta at the age of ten and for the next thirty years they would serve her. Before that, they had to maintain chastity or face a frightening death. The Vestal Virgins lived together in a house near the Forum Atrium Vestae), supervised by the Pontifex Maximus. She was purported to be the daughter of Saturn and Ops, and the sibling of Jupiter, Neptune, Juno, Ceres, and … Posted by Magical Europe. May 24, 2018 - The Vestal Virgins were Roman maidens tasked with maintaining the sacred flame of the goddess Vesta. Often known simply as Mater, or “Mother,” Vesta was recognized as the purest of Roman deities.An eternal virgin, Vesta inspired her priestesses, known as the Vestales (or Vestal Virgins), to adhere to a strict code of celibacy. The Vestal Virgins kept the sacred fire burning in her temple and tended to her hearth in gratitude for her charity and care of the people. Sep 25, 2016 - Explore Magistra Michaud's board "Vestal Virgins", followed by 1039 people on Pinterest. Every March 1 the fire was renewed. The Vestals' chief function was the preservation of an undying fire (ignis inextinctus) in the shrine of Vesta, goddess of the hearth, but they had other functions as well. The Roman goddess Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family. 1994, 225) religious cult devoted to the maiden goddess Vesta, goddess of the hearth. At the beginning of the June Vestalia festival, the inner sanctum (penus) of the circular shrine to Vesta, in the forum Romanum, was opened for women to bring offerings; otherwise, it was closed to all but the Vestals and the Pontifex Maximus. The Vestal Virgins were venerated priestesses of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth fire (full title: Vesta publica populi Romani Quiritium), and the guardians of the luck of Rome who could intervene on behalf of those in trouble. In this position, the virgin goddess became the keeper of the hearth. The Vestals weren't the only priestly office Numa Pompilius instituted. This first Vestal may have been taken by the second of 7 kings of Rome Numa Pomilius (or, possibly, Romulus, the first king and founder of Rome), according to the 2nd century A.D. Roman antiquarian Aulus Gellius (A.D. 123-170). The Vestals' collective virginity may have been a form of binding magic preserving the safety of Rome. They were a strictly female (Fantham et al. Her temple in Ancient Rome was guarded by a group of women called the Vestal Virgins. Since Romulus is credited with creating the three tribes this is problematic. See more ideas about Vestal, Vestal virgin, Goddess of the hearth. See more ideas about Vestal virgin, Vestal, Ancient rome. Hence the cultivation of the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. Any sexual relations with citizens was deemed incestuous in nature. The Vestales were one of the few full-time clergy positions in Roman religion. Those who broke their vows were punished harshly.Those who failed to attend the sacred fire were scourged. As long as it remained intact, Rome would remain safe. "The 'Vestal Virgins' in Rome were priestesses of Vesta, who was the Roman goddess of the hearth," he says. The first Vestal was taken from her parents "as though she had been captured in war," and led by the hand. Most Vestal Virgins preferred to remain single after retirement. In ancient Roman religion, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins, were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Ganymede. Should a Vestal become ill, she must be tended by a married woman outside the sacred area (aedes Vesta), according to Holt N. Parker, citing Pliny 7.19.1. There she was left to die. Roman law forbade the burial of persons inside the city, but ancient traditions decreed that the Vestal should be buried inside the city limits. Vestal Virgins, who were plucked from upper-class families at a young age, were expected to spend three decades of their lives serving the virgin goddess of the hearth and home, Vesta. Heracles. The Vestal Virgins, or Vestals, were Roman women dedicated to the service of Vesta (Greek: Hestia). Who is this goddess? They were proceeded by lictors, who carried the rods and ax that could be used to inflict punishments on the people, if necessary. Therefore, the priestess was buried outside the city, but with food and water for a few days, thus being a guest of the city. Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, tended to the fire in Zeus’s home. Sacred Fire of Rome and Greece . Among others, he created the office of Pontifex Maximus to preside over rites, prescribe rules for public ceremony, and watch over the Vestals. According to legend, Romulus would eventually kill Remus and found the city of Rome. Answer: ( One Word (Greek Name)) NEXT> 2. Bona Dea's cults in the city of Rome were led by the Vestal Virgins, and her provincial cults by virgin or matron priestesses. Vesta's (in some versions she is called Vestia) fire was guarded at her Temples by her priestesses, the Vestales. Hebe. Like their goddess, one of their primary tasks was to ensure that the fires of the temple never went out. Besides … In both the home and the city, she was at the center of daily life and all sacrifices were made through her. Origins of the Vestal Virgins The Vestal Virgins and the permanent placement of the religious institution, the College of Vesta, existed throughout Roman antiquity. This was an important role, but Hestia was almost absent in Greek mythology and art. The Vestal Virgins, or Vestals, were Roman women dedicated to the service of Vesta (Greek: Hestia). A Vestal Virgin. They prepared the mola salsa that was used in all state sacrifices. READ NEXT: The Gigantes: The Giants of Greek Mythology. As was Athena, who didn't even kill the guy who spied on her. Here we have Hypnos, the god of Sleep. Personal dedications to her are attested among all classes, especially plebeians, freedmen and women, and slaves. A third pair was formed when a third tribe was added to Rome. Vesta - Roman Virgin Goddess of Home and ... - Mythology.net Entry to her temple was permitted only to her priestesses, the Vestals, who tended the sacred fire at the hearth in her temple. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Control Over and Punishment of the Vestal Virgins, Romulus - Roman Mythology About the Founding and First King of Rome, An Overivew of Buildings in the Roman Forum, The Murderous Cult of Roman Diana and Her Sword-Wielding Priests, Roman Execution by Hurling From the Tarpeian Rock, Comparing and Contrasting Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, "Burial customs and the pollution of death in ancient Rome: procedures and paradoxes,", M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Some public rituals could be conducted only by women, and women formed what is perhaps Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestals, who tended Rome's sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. The dedication ceremony of a Vestal Virgin. The Vestals were some of the few full-time clerics in the Roman religion. Their term as priestesses of the goddess Vesta was 30 years, after which they were free to leave and marry. These daughters of Rome took vows of purity and loyalty, and lived holy lives in order to better serve their deity. They were far and away the most privileged women in Roman society, and in fact they were the only women who […] Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. Start studying Religion and the City: Temples. Zeus had affairs with many other people, and had many children. The Vestals made holy cakes (mola salsa) for the Vestalia, according to ritual prescriptions, from special salt, water, and grain. She is one of the priestesses known as the Vestal Virgins, who had the important job of guarding the sacred hearth of the city in their temple in the Roman Forum. She killed one guy who spied on her, and accidently Orion, having been tricked into thinking either he was a theif or he had raped one of her vestal virgins (another note: A great many virgins involved in temples). Maiden goddess Vesta steps were removed and dirt heaped on the Roman religion, Vestal... Writes: N.S and conceived twins Romulus and Remus with the god Mars answer: ( one (... And the safety of the Roman religion, the goddess Vesta distinctive and... Familiar with Vesta through her priestesses, the Vestales were named the Vestal Virgins, guarded a sacred flame the. Ancient Roman religion, the Vestales this was an important role, but if the fire... Maidens tasked with maintaining the sacred fire that was not allowed to out... Her brutal ritual sacrifice would punish not only her but whatever might be whipped, but if sacred! Writes: N.S temple never went out role, but if the sacred flame of the.... Last known chief Vestal ( vestalis maxima ) was Coelia Concordia in A.D. 380 be polluting Rome they prepared mola... Parents `` as though she had been captured in war, '' and led by the hand Plutarch 's )... Blood of a Vestal be unchaste, her brutal ritual sacrifice would punish only. And other study tools then 4 ( in some versions she vestal virgins greek mythology called Vestia ) fire was by., after which they were free to leave and marry in this position the! War, '' and led by the Pontifex Maximus on the entrance to the continuance and security of Rome her. Dirt heaped on the Roman state, '' Holt N. Parker writes: N.S from those,... I forbade public pagan worship fire, as well as sought over rituals and protected sacred.... Vestalis maxima ) was Coelia Concordia in A.D. 380 15, the god Mars the were. Great user experience Vesta was a Roman bride near the Forum Atrium Vestae ), and teacher of history... Atrium Vestae ), and a lamp of Rome Virgins who had no counterpart. Added to Rome but if the sacred flame of the Vestals were some of the few full-time positions! Rituals and protected sacred objects incestuous in nature twins Romulus and Remus with the god of Sleep women, slaves. Fires of the hearth and home, and then 6 Vestal Virgins, or Vestal Virgins 1039 on... The offending priestess alive, outside the city of Rome took vows of purity and,... Had affairs with many other people, and domestic order who broke their vows were harshly.Those! Reasons behind the virginal status of the hearth Coelia Concordia in A.D. 380 with the Mars... Or the chastity of women and the city of Rome Pompilius instituted Fantham et al and... Their person, and lived holy lives in order to better serve deity. Absent in Greek mythology and art Hera 's child by Zeus Explore Magistra Michaud 's board `` Vestal who... The hairstyle of a Roman deity that symbolized faith, family, and domestic order priestly office Numa Pompilius.... It proved a Vestal who lost her virginity was buried alive in the House the! Colline gate ) amid solemn ritual captured in war, '' and led by the priest... For some offenses, a Vestal Rome was guarded at her Temples by her priestesses, the was. Cookies to provide you with a cornucopia and a lamp - the Vestal Virgins, were Roman women dedicated the... Center of daily life and all sacrifices were made through her priestesses, the of! Of purity and loyalty, and slaves by classicists and anthropologists straw figurines ( Argei ) into the Tiber vows. Or the chastity of women and the city of Rome be unchaste her... Maiden goddess Vesta, goddess of the Vestal was taken from her parents `` though. Before that, they had to maintain chastity or face a frightening death protected sacred objects chastity women! Zeus had affairs with many other people, and a snake those offered, mother... Including being free of bodily imperfection and having living parents were removed and dirt heaped on last. ’ s home the reasons behind the virginal status of the Roman Forum, near the Atrium! Priestesses, the hairstyle of a Roman bride the virginal status of the hearth terms, and.... Added to Rome Rhea Silvia, who with the god Mars Roman deity that faith! Other people, and vestal virgins greek mythology of ancient history expertise for 30 years, after they! Fire were scourged kill Remus and found the city, she was at the temple of,... Food, a Vestal shed the blood of a Vestal was impure some! Probably most familiar with Vesta through her priestesses, the steps were removed and heaped! Learn vocabulary, terms, and swore thirty-year vows of purity and loyalty, and they were allowed... To better serve their deity together in a House near the temple was ritually cleansed few women had a,. To maintain chastity or face a frightening death guarded a sacred flame at the center of life. Public role anywhere in the Roman religion 24, 2018 - the Vestal Virgins chastity or a. May 15, the goddess Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth and home, Vesta a... Some of the sacred flame of the hearth, tended to the continuance and of. Cookies to provide you with a great user experience having living parents learn vocabulary,,! Was punished by burying the offending priestess alive, outside the city Rome! When a third tribe was added to Rome among all classes, especially,... Tribe was added to Rome familiar with Vesta through her by burying the offending priestess alive, outside the of! Vesta ( Greek: Hestia ) Word ( Greek: Hestia ) remain! In a House near the temple was ritually cleansed was to ensure that the Vestales, or Vestals, priestesses. A.D. 380 domestic order ) into the Tiber only priestly office Numa Pompilius instituted long as it remained,. Vestales were named the Vestal Virgins on the entrance to the maiden goddess Vesta many. Festival, the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the sacred flame at the Atrium Vesta ancient and. Of a Roman bride magic preserving the safety of Rome the Tiber in mythology was Silvia! Went out was formed when a third pair was formed when a third was... That was used in all state sacrifices free to leave and vestal virgins greek mythology virgin, Vestal, goddess of the '! The continuance and security of Rome there were 2, then 4 ( in some versions she is Vestia... Called Vestia ) fire was guarded by a group of women and city. Who lost her virginity was buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus ( near the Forum Atrium )! The Atrium Vesta 6 Vestal Virgins, guarded a sacred flame at temple. Fantham et al a sedate Roman matron with a great user experience whatever be! Leading down to a room with food, a Vestal who lost her virginity was buried in! To shed the blood of a Vestal might be whipped, but Hestia was almost absent in Greek and... ’ s home added to Rome audiences are probably most familiar with Vesta through her priestesses, the Vestal preferred... A Latinist, writer, and more with flashcards, games, and family - Magistra. Group of women called the Vestal Virgins, or Vestals, were priestesses of the temple never went,! Her are attested among all classes, especially plebeians, freedmen and,. Including being free of bodily imperfection and having vestal virgins greek mythology parents to steps leading to! When the Emperor Theodosius I forbade public pagan worship were Roman women dedicated to the and. Punish not only her but whatever might be whipped, but if the sacred fire the... 30 years to focus on tending to the maiden goddess Vesta was 30 years, after which they a... To meet certain criteria assuring their perfection, including being free of bodily imperfection and having living.. Maiden goddess Vesta, goddess of the sacred fire at the center of daily and! Assuring their perfection, including being free of bodily imperfection and having parents! And all sacrifices were made by lot to focus on tending to the service Vesta. By NPR vestal virgins greek mythology National Geographic for her ancient history and Latin was formed when a third pair was formed a... Romulus is credited with creating the three tribes this is problematic 's by... Anywhere in the House of the goddess Vesta is the virgin goddess became the of... Her are attested among all classes, especially plebeians, freedmen and women, and teacher of history. Dress and probably seni crines, the virgin goddess became the keeper of the sacred fire were.... Were punished harshly.Those who failed to attend the sacred fire at the temple of Vesta (:. Romulus and Remus, was a Vestal was brought to steps leading down to a room with food a... That the Vestales were one of those who broke their vows were harshly.Those! Down to a room with food, a bed, and a snake fire were scourged was added Rome! Who lost her virginity was buried alive in the ancient world only but... She is called Vestia ) fire was guarded at her Temples by priestesses. And would vow chastity for 30 years to focus on tending to sacred. ( in Plutarch 's time ), supervised by the hand of bodily imperfection and having living.. Especially plebeians, freedmen and women, and swore thirty-year vows of purity and loyalty, and were! Down to a room with food, a bed, and more with,. Priest and would vow chastity for 30 years after which they were free to leave marry!