Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Even though they had restriction, these women were free of subservient restrictions to men. A woman named Serena, the Christian niece of Theodosius I, is said to have desecrated Vesta's temple by taking the necklace from her statue and claiming it for her own. The task of this fire was left on a college of virgin wo… Rene Seindal who has studied and mastered in history, Italian, and computer science at the University of Copenhagen , has created this website as a hobby to share with anyone. For the first ten years of Licinia's service, she's considered in training, learning how to be a Vestal Virgin. Some unfaithful virgins were whipped to death. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. The Vestal Virgins were seen as magical and pure women back in the ancient times of Rome, with their ongoing work to keep the magical flame alight one of the most important duties in the entire land. They had more freedom of rights and they were worshipped themselves by the vows that they committed to. https://www.ancient.eu/Vestal_Virgin/. The important elements of the Vestal costume include the stola and the vittae. And, although they lived a cloistered life, they had considerable freedom and participated in the world in ways denied to other women. This is a great book for a student who is interested in learning an in depth biography of these specific women in history. They were celebrities. Going into depth about roles of reality, enslavement, politics, and society. They also inform the reader the process of their death punishment if they are caught in an act that is forbidden for them to do. Apparently, the mere touch from a Vestal would legally release and free a prisoner or slave. They also set out a different life than the women of Rome at that time. http://www.ancientroute.com/religion/Relig-Subj/vestals.htm, http://www.suppressedhistories.net/secret_history/roman_persecution.html, http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wlgr/wlgr-religion408.shtml#ag, http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/318_Vestals.html. Their duties included keeping a sacred flame eternally burning, presiding over many religious ceremonies, and never having sex with anyone. further discussed later. The Vestal Virgins were charged with protecting the sacred fire of the city, which was never allowed to go out. Ariadne Staples observes in From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins how females in Roman history were recognized by them alone and by men they interact with. They were priestesses of the goddess Vesta, the personification of the communal hearth which symbolized the collective hearths of the citizens. The virgins were chosen between the ages of six and ten years old by the chief priest and had to serve for 30 years. Today, we are looking back, to something more beautiful to cheer you up, to an old Roman tradition, which lasted more than a thousand years (700 BC till 380 AD), the history of the Vestal Virgins, who were in Ancient Roman religion the priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth (fire place) and home. This online source gives an outline of the events in the book Womens Life in Greece and Rome . 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. They lived in the House of the Vestal Virgins on the Roman Forum, near the Temple of Vesta. Given that they were so highly regarded and trusted, penalties for wrong-doing on the part of a Vestal were extremely severe. Why Vestal Virgins Were Special The Vestal Virgins were six priestesses in ancient Rome who came from the leading families and served the temple for 30 years. In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Latin: Vestālēs, singular Vestālis [wɛsˈtaːlɪs]) were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Which means that they could have property and make their own decisions. Once their 30 years of service was completed, they were free to marry, but very few did as it was considered unlucky since they had, essentially, been the brides of Vesta for most of their lives and were consecrated to the … The vestal virgins have a significance to the Romance in terms of ensuring that the protection of Rome continues. She must serve the goddess for at least the next 30 years. Girls were chosen at various ages, ranging from 6 to 10 years old. the Vestal Virgins are actually priestesses (were) and were part of ROME....(Roman Catholic). These women were known as the vestal virgins, or the vestals for short. This book, History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome, by Cato Worsfold gives a great length of detail about the history of the Roman Vestal Virgins. She also includes virgins that were caught not being celibate and their punishment by death. Instead, she's represented by the flame which burns day and night in her temple located next to the Forum in the center of the city. The shrine was the source of some controversy according to Cicero de Domo sua 136-137 Perhaps the most infamous Vestal Licinia is the one who went on trial for incestum in 114/113 BCE. The first ten years they were students, then the following they were in their service to the fire, and the last ten years they were the teachers. The state worship of Vesta was much more elaborate. Yup, no fun times for the Vestal Virgins. 6. Perspectives. Plutarch writes, "If these vestals commit any minor fault, they are punishable by the high-priest only, who scourges the offender, sometimes with her clothes off, in a dark place, with a curtain drawn between; but she that has broken her vow is buried alive near the gate called Collina, where a little mound of earth stands." This website is mainly dedicated to the different photos that have been taken in an assortment of places in Italy and Denmark . Unlike other Roman women, vestals were highly educated. From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins contends that the religious ceremonial and the responsibility acted out by the roman females were imperative in centralizing them sexually. The Vestal Virgins tended this sacred fire, and it was a very prestigious job to be had. Vestal Virgins (Latin: Vestales) were the priestesses of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta, in the state religion of ancient Rome. Cambridge , MA : Da Capa Press, 2001. The institution of vestal Virgins is an essential aspect of Ancient Rome. 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. Vesta was the patron goddess of the domestic hearth. Books The desecration of the temple of Vesta, and the disbanding of the Vestal Virgins, was seen by pagans as the height of ingratitude for the service the goddess had given the city over the centuries. Why does a martyr for Islam get to have 72 of these....why is it that the Muslims get a Catholic as their reward?....sound hillarious to you too?...I don't think they realize it The source explains why they have been picked and the duties that they need to perform daily throughout their service. The fire symbolized Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home. Virgins. They cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. Six virgin priestesses were dedicated to Vesta as full time clergymen. She covers information from Roman history about Vestal Virgins to todays celibate athletes. The Silent Virgins . Peta Greenfield goes back in time to find out. The original punishment for sexual transgression was allegedly whipping or stoning to death the guilty party, but an even crueller punishment was later devised by Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome. Lastly he explains the end of the Vestal Virgins in the Roman history. But what was life really like for these Vestal Virgins? Written by Joshua J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Aside from possibly Greece’s Oracle of Delphi, the Vestal Virgins devoted to the Roman goddess Vesta, ruler of the Hearth, are the most famous ancient cult in European history. Last modified September 02, 2009. He goes into further detail about their rules and regulation and what would happen if they are broken; he mentions the symbol of their dress code and their life style. The whole [of their] term being completed, it was lawful for them to marry, and leaving the sacred order, to choose any conditions of life that pleased them; but of this permission few, as they say, made use; and in cases where they did so, it was observed that their change was not a happy one, but accompanied ever after with regret and melancholy; so that the greater number, from religious fears and scruples, forebore, and continued to old age and death in the strict observance of a single life. Vestal Virgins had consequential responsibilities, and membership to this cult was rather exclusive because it demanded extensive commitment and devotion to the goddess and the state. Licinia is afraid, but she has no choice in the matter. When she discusses the history of Vestal Virgins, she explains the role of the vestal, but also different persecutions of individual virgins that took place in ancient Rome . For a thousand years, they attempted to keep Vesta’s sacred fire lit. Aside from this obvious pitfall of being a Vestal Virgin of Rome, they still had it pretty good. Janet Lloyd translates this great piece of useful source very comprehensible. The hearth. Her most important duty is keeping vigil over the flame of Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth. Keeping the sacred fire lit. Lefkowitz, Mary R. and Frant Maureen B. The events on this page are specifically pertained to the life of vestal virgins. 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. The flame represented two things: the continuation of Rome as a power in the world and the continuing virginity of Vesta's priestesses. Perhaps most importantly, he was he was also responsible for the 18 Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins were six priestesses in ancient Rome who came from the leading families and served the temple for 30 years. In ancient Rome, Vestal Virgins were tasked with keeping vigil over the flame of Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth. VESTAL VIRGINS Women offered advice and schemed in the background, and on occasion they demonstrated in the open, but they were denied public office and a role in the government. Vesta (seated on the left) with Vestal Virgins, classical relief sculpture; in the Palermo Museum, Italy. The translation, in which Janet Lloyd has been ably aided by Mary Beard, is beautifully clear. Once the young girls were committed to the priesthood, they would make a vow of celibacy. The College of the Vestals was an important institution that served to ensure the well-being and security of Rome. Women played vital roles by participating in roman religious rituals publicly. They were the only full-time clergy (collegia) of a Roman deity which attests to the high regard in which the goddess was held. License. The Vestal Virgins were seen as magical and pure women back in the ancient times of Rome, with their ongoing work to keep the magical flame alight one of the most important duties in the entire land. This book is a good source for young students who are interested in celebrant life throughout history and anyone who is interested in the celibate life of Vestal Whether she died young is not known, nor is the truth of the account verified, but the fact that it survives attests to the importance the Vestales played in the life of ancient Rome and what their loss meant to those of the city who did not place their faith in the new god of the Christians. The most important task of a vestal was to keep the sacred fire burning. The high priest would choose out of a group of girls between the ages of six and ten. Rome. Vestal Virgins were the most powerful women in the Roman Empire. What was their most important duty? Her sanctuary was traditionally a circular building, in imitation of the early Italian round hut and symbolic of the public hearth. Being a Vestal Virgin was a lifetime committment that required... Who were the Vestal Virgins, and what was their job? Quickly after the sack of Rome, the … Staples gives a great analysis of Roman society and the women that stand independent through its history. which includes the fall of Roman, Christianity, and the beginning of the Islam Religion. They lived and dined in nice surroundings and they had VIP admittances into public places like the theatre. He let the fire out, and forbade any pagan worship. In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Vestales, singular Vestalis) were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth.The College of the Vestals and its well-being was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome.They cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. ( Public Domain ) According to the Roman writer Plutarch, the Colle… Vestals were the most important women in Rome, aside from the emperor's wife. These women are a unique part of history that makes them an important role in the history of women. The Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, and one of their most important functions was the maintenance of the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta on the Forum Romanum. (18 December 2005). Matters. The priestess is one of Rome’s six Vestal Virgins, each carefully selected as children from Rome’s most aristocratic families. In ancient Rome, Vestal Virgins were tasked with keeping vigil over the flame of Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth. Likely the Vestal Cult, like Christianity itself, was JEM with Vestal Virgins, in some essential way, functioning as phalli bearing Bacchantes. In 123 BCE, a Vestal named Licinia dedicated a shrine to the goddess Bona Dea. These women were very powerful in the sense that people would respect them because of the mission they were chosen to take in life. Their vow of chastity and their vow of sustaining the fire, made them vital individuals in that ancient time in history. Staples, Ariadne. The vestal virgins did serve a very important propose for Ancient Rome. After almost one thousand years of observance in Rome, the sacred … Courtesy of the Regional Museum of Archaeology, Palermo. How long did they have to serve for? ” The ‘silent Virgin’ that Horace was referring to was a Vestal virgin, a priestess of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth and home. 10 They Had To Remain Chaste But Not Forever. 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. Despite the resurgence and richness of the Vesta tradition, many people who think "Vestal Virgin" still think of … The tradition told that the Vestals were instituted by King Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome. Vesta doesn't have a statue like other Roman gods and goddesses. Being a priestess of Vesta had also some important advantages: Vestal virgins were not in manus of their father or a guardian. If they broke this vow they were punished by death. The Romans believed that the sacred fire of Vestawas closely tied to the fortunes of the city. (18 December 2005). The vestal virgins have a significance to the Romance in terms of ensuring that the protection of Rome continues. It is closely associated with status of Roman matron. These two items are closely related to the traditional attire of Roman brides and the Roman matron, and therefore are not unique to the Vestals. During his time in power he also built the original Regia and House of the Vestal Virgins and founded the order of the Vestals. Vestal Virgin. History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. The Vestal Virgins were very important in the Roman religious scheme of things. 22 Mark, published on 02 September 2009 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This site would be great for anyone who wants to learn and view by pictures about the Roman mythology, including the life of Vestals. There were three stages of the Vestal Virgins, starting at the age of between 6-10 and only accepting a small group of six members every ten years. The vestal virgins did serve a very important propose for Ancient Rome. The Vestal Virgins were very important in the Roman religious scheme of things. This site is really good for a student to get information and photos on ancient roman history. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. The end to the Vestal Virgin happened when Emperor Theodosius came into power in … The Closing Of The Vestal College Radically Shaped Christianity. No, they were not. Vestal Virgins were recruited as children, aged between six and ten. In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Scheid, John. There is not much historical analysis, but just facts of specific events and people in history. Perhaps some of the interesting facts about Rome’s Vestal virgins can help clear away the confusion. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. It provides information backed up by sources, photos, and links to other websites. They were priestesses of the goddess Vesta, the personification of the communal hearth which symbolized the collective hearths of the citizens. Since the vestal virgins were such an important part of Roman society, all of … The page which is dedicated to the history vestals gives much information including the Goddess Vesta, the roles, rules, punishments, freedoms of a virgin vestal. Why were they different to other women? Important to my books on Marc Antony, they also kept the wills of important men within their complex, safe and sound. Their duties included tending the perpetual fire in the Temple of Vesta, keeping their … This website is good for students that are in search to learn about the history of women in history. At what age did girls become Vestal Virgins? This website dedicated to discovering the ancient Mediterranean history and this site looks at this history from the beginning of writing to 400 B.C. The vestals were seen as sacred: Their testimony was to be believed without an oath. But what was life really like for these Vestal Virgins? Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Her most important duty is keeping vigil over the flame of Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth. And because of the 10 reasons listed below, they were perhaps one of the most fascinating orders in all of history. Their duties required them to remain chaste and male clergy were not allowed to participate in the rites concerning Vesta and the Vestales. #1. 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