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Myths about the Roman Goddess Vesta

Roman Colosseum

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Myths about the Roman Goddess Vesta

Vesta was the daughter of Vesta the elder, by Saturn, and sister of Ceres, Juno, Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter. She was so fond of a single life, that when her brother Jupiter ascended the throne, and offered to grant whatever she asked, her only desires were the preservation of her virginity, and the first oblation in all sacrifices.

Numa Pompilius, the great founder of religion among the Romans, is said first to have restored the ancient rites and worship of this goddess, to whom he erected a circular temple, which in succeeding ages was not only much embellished, but also, as the earth was supposed to retain a constant fire within, a perpetual fire was kept up in the temple of Vesta, the care of which was entrusted to a select number of young females appointed from the first families in Rome, and called Vestal virgins.

As this Vesta was the goddess of fire, the Romans had no images of her in her temple; the reason for which, assigned by Ovid, is that fire has no representative, as no bodies are produced from it: yet as Vesta was the guardian of houses or hearths, her image was usually placed in the porch or entry, and daily sacrifices were offered up to her. It is certain nothing could be a stronger or more lively symbol of the supreme being than fire; accordingly we find this emblem in early use throughout the east. The Romans looked upon Vesta as one of the protective and supervisory deities of their empire; and they so far made the safety and fate of Rome depend on the preservation of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta, that they thought the extinction of it foreboded the most terrible misfortune.

Vesta the Goddess of the Home
Vestal Virgins
Vestal Virgins Clothing
Roman Colosseum
Roman Gods

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