VestaGoddess of the hearth Roman Religion and Mythology / Lexicon Temple of Vesta
Vesta is the Roman goddess of the hearth fire. Vesta is one of the most ancient of the Roman deities, and her cult goes back to the 7th century BCE. Tradition will that the cult was instituted by Numa Pompilius.
The cult of Vesta was in the hands of the Vestal Virgins, a special female priesthood. The main public celebration was the Vestalia on June 7th.
Vesta only had one temple in Rome, the circular Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum. Inside the round temple burnt the eternal fire, the symbolic hearth of Rome and all the Roman people. If the fire was extinguished it would have grave consequences for the Romans. Also inside the temple, to which only the six vestal virgins had access, were kept the objects that Aeneas was said to have brought with him on his flight from Troy. This included the Palladius (an ancient wooden statue of Minerva), and the images of the Penates.
Vesta was represented by the fire. There was no cult statue in the temple, but Augustus had a statue placed on an altar in his house on the Palatine Hill in 12 BCE.
Other round temples have erroneously been attributed to Vesta by architectural analogy.
- Augustus - Roman Emperor (27 BCE-14 CE) (Romans, Historical Persons)
- Forum Romanum - The Roman Forum was the political and religious centre in ancient Rome (Rome, Italy)
- Minerva - Goddess of crafts and trade guilds -- and war (Roman Religion and Mythology, Lexicon)
- Numa Pompilius - The second king of Rome (trad. 715-674 BCE) (Roman Kings, Historical Persons)
- Penates - Guardian spirits of the pantry (Roman Religion and Mythology, Lexicon)
- Temple of Vesta - An ancient temple for Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, in the Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Vestal Virgins - The only female priesthood in Rome (Roman Religion and Mythology, Lexicon)
- House of the Vestal Virgins - The residence of the six vestal virgins in the Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Portico of the Dei Consentes - A sanctuary for twelve gods and goddesses (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
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