fbpx
Wikipedia

Vestal Virgin

"Vestals" redirects here. For other uses, see Vestal (disambiguation).

In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Latin: Vestālēs, singular Vestālis ) were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The college of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. These individuals cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a 30-year vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were forbidden to the colleges of male priests.

2nd-century AD Roman statue of a Virgo Vestalis Maxima (National Roman Museum)
1st-century AD aureus depicting a seated Vestal Virgin markedvestalis

In 382, the Christian emperor Gratian confiscated the public revenues assigned to the cult of Vesta in Rome, and the Vestals vanished from historical record soon after.

Contents

The Roman imperial period authors Livy, Plutarch, and Aulus Gellius attribute the creation of the Vestals as a state-supported priestesshood to King Numa Pompilius, who reigned circa 717–673 BC. According to Livy, writing in the Augustan age, Numa introduced the Vestals and assigned them salaries from the public treasury. Livy also says that the priestesshood of Vesta had its origins at Alba Longa. The 2nd-century AD antiquarian Aulus Gellius writes that the first Vestal taken from her parents was led away in hand by Numa. Also writing in the 2nd century, Plutarch attributes the founding of the Temple of Vesta to Numa, who appointed at first two priestesses; Servius Tullius increased the number to four. Ambrose alludes to a seventh in late antiquity. Numa also appointed the pontifex maximus to watch over the Vestals.

The first Vestals, according to the 1st-century BC author Varro, were named Gegania, Veneneia, Canuleia, and Tarpeia. Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, was portrayed as traitorous in legend.

The Vestals became a powerful and influential force in the Roman state. When Sulla included the young Julius Caesar in his proscriptions, the Vestals interceded on Caesar's behalf and gained him pardon. Augustus included the Vestals in all major dedications and ceremonies. They were held in awe, and attributed certain magical powers. Pliny the Elder, for example, in Book 28 of his Natural History discussing the efficacy of magic, chooses not to refute, but rather tacitly accept as truth:

At the present day, too, it is a general belief, that our Vestal virgins have the power, by uttering a certain prayer, to arrest the flight of runaway slaves, and to rivet them to the spot, provided they have not gone beyond the precincts of the City. If then these opinions be once received as truth, and if it be admitted that the gods do listen to certain prayers, or are influenced by set forms of words, we are bound to conclude in the affirmative upon the whole question.

The 4th-century AD urban prefect Symmachus, who sought to maintain traditional Roman religion during the rise of Christianity, wrote:

The laws of our ancestors provided for the Vestal virgins and the ministers of the gods a moderate maintenance and just privileges. This gift was preserved inviolate till the time of the degenerate moneychangers, who diverted the maintenance of sacred chastity into a fund for the payment of base porters. A public famine ensued on this act, and a bad harvest disappointed the hopes of all the provinces ... it was sacrilege which rendered the year barren, for it was necessary that all should lose that which they had denied to religion.

It is not known exactly when the Vestals were dissolved, but it must have happened not long after the emperor Gratian confiscated their revenues in 382. The last epigraphically attested Vestal is Coelia Concordia, a Virgo Vestalis Maxima who in 385 erected a statue to the deceased pontiff Vettius Agorius Praetextatus. The latest mention of a Vestal is by the pagan historian Zosimos, who relates that, during a visit of Theodosius I to Rome in 394, the emperor's niece Serena insulted an aged Vestal, said to be the last of her kind. Conti writes that it is not clear from Zosimos's narrative if the cult of Vesta was still functioning (and thus maintained by that single Vestal) at that point, but Cameron is skeptical of the entire tale, noting that Theodosius did not actually visit Rome in 394.

Vestalis Maxima

The chief Vestal (Virgo Vestalis Maxima or Vestalium Maxima, "greatest of the Vestals") oversaw the efforts of the Vestals, and was present in the College of Pontiffs. The Vestalis Maxima Occia presided over the Vestals for 57 years, according to Tacitus. The Vestalium Maxima was the most important of Rome's high priestesses. Although the Flaminica Dialis and the regina sacrorum each held unique responsibility for certain religious rites, each came into her office as the spouse of another appointed priest, whereas the vestals all held office independently.

Relief of Vestal Virgins at a banquet, found in 1935 near Rome's Via del Corso (Museum of the Ara Pacis)

According to Plutarch, there were only two Vestal Virgins when Numa began the College of the Vestals. This number later increased to four, and then to six. It has been suggested by some authorities that a seventh was added later, but this is doubtful.

The Vestals were committed to the priestesshood before puberty (when 6–10 years old) and sworn to celibacy for a period of 30 years. These 30 years were divided in turn into three decade-long periods during which Vestals were respectively students, servants, and teachers.

After her 30-year term of service, each Vestal retired and was replaced by a new inductee. Once retired, a former Vestal was given a pension and allowed to marry. The Pontifex Maximus, acting as the father of the bride, would typically arrange a marriage with a suitable Roman nobleman. A marriage to a former Vestal was highly honoured, and – more importantly in ancient Rome – thought to bring good luck, as well as a comfortable pension.

House of the Vestals and Temple of Vesta from the Palatine

Selection

To obtain entry into the order, a girl had to be free of physical and mental defects, have two living parents and be a daughter of a free-born resident of Rome. From at least the mid-Republican era, the pontifex maximus chose Vestals between their sixth and tenth year, by lot from a group of twenty high-born candidates at a gathering of their families and other Roman citizens. Originally, the girl had to be of patrician birth, but membership was opened to plebeians as it became difficult to find patricians willing to commit their daughters to 30 years as a Vestal, and then ultimately even from the daughters of freedmen for the same reason.

The choosing ceremony was known as a captio (capture). Once a girl was chosen to be a Vestal, the pontifex pointed to her and led her away from her parents with the words, "I take you, Amata, to be a Vestal priestess, who will carry out sacred rites which it is the law for a Vestal priestess to perform on behalf of the Roman people, on the same terms as her who was a Vestal 'on the best terms' " (thus, with all the entitlements of a Vestal). As soon as she entered the atrium of Vesta's temple, she was under the goddess' service and protection.

To replace a Vestal who had died, candidates would be presented in the quarters of the chief Vestal for the selection of the most virtuous. Unlike normal inductees, these candidates did not have to be prepubescents, nor even virgins (they could be young widows or even divorcees, though that was frowned upon and thought unlucky), though they were rarely older than the deceased Vestal they were replacing. Tacitus recounts how Gaius Fonteius Agrippa and Domitius Pollio offered their daughters as Vestal candidates in 19 AD to fill such a vacant position. Equally matched, Pollio's daughter was chosen only because Agrippa had been recently divorced. The pontifex maximus (Tiberius) "consoled" the failed candidate with a dowry of 1 million sesterces.

Duties

The most prominent feature of the ruins that were once the Temple of Vesta is the hearth (seen here in the foreground).

Their tasks included the maintenance of the fire sacred to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home, collecting water from a sacred spring, preparation of food used in rituals and caring for sacred objects in the temple's sanctuary. By maintaining Vesta's sacred fire, from which anyone could receive fire for household use, they functioned as "surrogate housekeepers", in a religious sense, for all of Rome. Their sacred fire was treated, in Imperial times, as the emperor's household fire.

The Vestals were put in charge of keeping safe the wills and testaments of various people such as Caesar and Mark Antony. In addition, the Vestals also guarded some sacred objects, including the Palladium, and made a special kind of flour called mola salsa which was sprinkled on all public offerings to a god.

Privileges

The dignities accorded to the Vestals were significant.

  • In an era when religion was rich in pageantry, the presence of the College of Vestal Virgins was required for numerous public ceremonies and wherever they went, were transported in a carpentum, a covered two-wheeled carriage, preceded by a lictor, and had the right-of-way;
  • At public games and performances they had a reserved place of honour;
  • Vestals gave evidence without the customary oath, their word being trusted without question;
  • Vestals were, on account of their incorruptible character, entrusted with important wills and state documents, like public treaties;
  • Their person was sacrosanct: death was the penalty for injuring their person and they had escorts to protect them from assault;
  • They could free condemned prisoners and slaves by touching them – if a person who was sentenced to death saw a Vestal on his way to the execution, he was automatically pardoned;
  • Vestals participated in throwing the ritual straw figures called Argei into the Tiber on May 15.

Punishments

Early 18th-century depiction of the dedication of a Vestal, by Alessandro Marchesini
Statue of Flavia Publicia in the House of the Vestals
In the Temple of Vesta by Constantin Hölscher [de], 1902 (Villa Grisebach [de])

Allowing the sacred fire of Vesta to die out was a serious dereliction of duty. It suggested that the goddess had withdrawn her protection from the city. Vestals guilty of this offence were punished by a scourging or beating, which was carried out "in the dark and through a curtain to preserve their modesty".

The chastity of the Vestals was considered to have a direct bearing on the health of the Roman state. When they entered the collegium, they left behind the authority of their fathers and became daughters of the state. Any sexual relationship with a citizen was therefore considered to be incestum and an act of treason. The punishment for violating the oath of celibacy was immurement, to be buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus ("Evil Field") in an underground chamber near the Colline Gate supplied with a few days of food and water. Ancient tradition required that an unchaste Vestal be buried alive within the city, that being the only way to kill her without spilling her blood, which was forbidden. However, this practice contradicted the Roman law that no person might be buried within the city. To solve this problem, the Romans buried the offending priestess with a nominal quantity of food and other provisions, not to prolong her punishment, but so that the Vestal would not technically be buried in the city, but instead descend into a "habitable room". The actual manner of the procession to Campus Sceleratus has been described like this:

When condemned by the college of pontifices, she was stripped of her vittae and other badges of office, was scourged, was attired like a corpse, placed in a close litter, and borne through the forum attended by her weeping kindred, with all the ceremonies of a real funeral, to a rising ground called the Campus Sceleratus just within the city walls, close to the Colline gate. There a small vault underground had been previously prepared, containing a couch, a lamp, and a table with a little food. The pontifex maximus, having lifted up his hands to heaven and uttered a secret prayer, opened the litter, led forth the culprit, and placing her on the steps of the ladder which gave access to the subterranean cell, delivered her over to the common executioner and his assistants, who conducted her down, drew up the ladder, and having filled the pit with earth until the surface was level with the surrounding ground, left her to perish deprived of all the tributes of respect usually paid to the spirits of the departed.

Cases of unchastity and its punishment were rare. In 483 BC, following a series of portents, and advice from the soothsayers that the religious ceremonies were not being duly attended to, the vestal virgin Oppia was found guilty of a breach of chastity and punished. The Vestal Tuccia was accused of fornication, but she carried water in a sieve to prove her chastity.

O Vesta, if I have always brought pure hands to your secret services, make it so now that with this sieve I shall be able to draw water from the Tiber and bring it to Your temple.

Because a Vestal's virginity was thought to be directly correlated to the sacred burning of the fire, if the fire were extinguished it might be assumed that either the Vestal had acted wrongly or that the Vestal had simply neglected her duties. The final decision was the responsibility of the Pontifex Maximus, or the head of the pontifical college, as opposed to a judicial body. While the Order of the Vestals was in existence for over one thousand years there are only ten recorded convictions for unchastity and these trials all took place at times of political crisis for the Roman state. It has been suggested that Vestals were used as scapegoats in times of great crisis.

Pliny the Younger was convinced that Cornelia, who as Virgo Maxima was buried alive at the orders of emperor Domitian, was innocent of the charges of unchastity, and he describes how she sought to keep her dignity intact when she descended into the chamber:

... when she was let down into the subterranean chamber, and her robe had caught in descending, she turned round and gathered it up. And when the executioner offered her his hand, she shrank from it, and turned away with disgust; spurning the foul contact from her person, chaste, pure, and holy: And with all the deportment of modest grace, she scrupulously endeavoured to perish with propriety and decorum.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus claims that the earliest Vestals at Alba Longa were whipped and "put to death" for breaking their vows of celibacy, and that their offspring were to be thrown into the river. According to Livy, Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, had been forced to become a Vestal Virgin, and when she gave birth to the twins, it is stated that she was merely loaded down with chains and cast into prison, her babies put into the river. Dionysius also relates the belief that live burial was instituted by the Roman king Tarquinius Priscus, and inflicted this punishment on the priestess Pinaria. The 11th century Byzantine historian George Kedrenos is the only extant source for the claim that prior to Priscus, the Roman King Numa Pompilius had instituted death by stoning for unchaste Vestal Virgins, and that it was Priscus who changed the punishment into that of live burial. But whipping with rods sometimes preceded the immuration as was done to Urbinia in 471 BC.

Suspicions first arose against Minucia through an improper love of dress and the evidence of a slave. She was found guilty of unchastity and buried alive. Similarly Postumia, who though innocent according to Livy was tried for unchastity with suspicions being aroused through her immodest attire and less than maidenly manner. Postumia was sternly warned "to leave her sports, taunts, and merry conceits". Aemilia, Licinia, and Martia were executed after being denounced by the servant of a barbarian horseman. A few Vestals were acquitted. Some cleared themselves through ordeals. The paramour of a guilty Vestal was whipped to death in the Forum Boarium or on the Comitium.

A reconstruction of the House of the Vestals by Christian Hülsen (1905)
Main article: House of the Vestals

The House of the Vestals was the residence of the vestal priestesses in Rome. Behind the Temple of Vesta (which housed the sacred fire), the Atrium Vestiae was a three-storey building at the foot of the Palatine Hill.

The chief festivals of Vesta were the Vestalia celebrated June 7 until June 15. On June 7 only, her sanctuary (which normally no one except her priestesses the Vestals entered) was accessible to mothers of families who brought plates of food. The simple ceremonies were officiated by the Vestals and they gathered grain and fashioned salty cakes for the festival. This was the only time when they themselves made the mola salsa, for this was the holiest time for Vesta, and it had to be made perfectly and correctly, as it was used in all public sacrifices.

Statue head of a Vestal Virgin (Palatine Museum)
Statue of the Vestal Virgin Flavia Publicia in the House of the Vestals

Throughout time, the image of the Vestal Virgin has been a woman draped in white priestly garments denoting the essence of purity and divinity through such attire.

The important elements of the Vestal costume include the stola and the vittae. 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. The vittae that the Vestals wore was a cloth ribbon worn in the Vestals' hair. It is closely associated with status of Roman matron. Vittae were worn by a wider range of women at different stages of life and therefore cannot be accepted as unique to just one stage. Unmarried girls, matrons, as well as the Vestal virgins all wore them.

However, the Vestals did not share all elements of the bride's attire, specifically they did not wear the flammeum that brides did, but instead wore the suffibulum. The vestals also wore a stola, which is associated with Roman matrons, not with Roman brides. Furthermore, the manner in which the Vestals styled their hair was the way that Roman brides wore their hair on their wedding day. This juxtaposition between the attire and style worn by Vestal Virgins and brides or matrons is particularly intriguing and studied by scholars in numerous instances.

The gowns worn by the Vestals and Roman brides were also similar in the way that they were tied. The distinction, though is that the Vestals wore the stola, which is associated more with matrons, while brides were associated with the tunica recta. The stola is a long gown that covers the body, and this covering of the body by way of the gown "signals the prohibitions that governed [the Vestals] sexuality". Stola literally communicates the message of "hands off" and further communicates their virginity.

The connection between Vestals and Roman brides suggests[according to whom?] that the Vestals have the connotation of being ambivalent. They are perceived as eternally stuck at the moment between virginal status and marital status.[citation needed]

Their main articles of clothing consisted of an infula, a suffibulum, and a palla. The infula was a fillet, which was worn by priests and other religious figures in Rome. A vestal's infula was white and made from wool. The suffibulum was the white woolen veil which was worn during rituals and sacrifices. Usually found underneath were red and white woolen ribbons, symbolizing the Vestal's commitment to keeping the fire of Vesta and to her vow of purity, respectively. The palla was the long, simple shawl, a typical article of clothing for Roman women. The palla, and its pin, were draped over the left shoulder.

Vestals also had an elaborate hairstyle consisting of six or seven braids, which Roman brides also wore. In 2013 Janet Stephens became the first to recreate the hairstyle of the vestals on a modern person.

From the institution of the Vestal priesthood to its abolition, an unknown number of Vestals held office. Several are named in Roman myth and history.

Legendary Vestals

  • Rhea Silvia, a vestal at Alba Longa, was the mythical mother of Rome's founders, Romulus and Remus.
  • Aemilia, a Roman vestal who prayed to Vesta for assistance on one occasion when the sacred fire was extinguished, and then miraculously rekindled it by throwing a piece of her garment upon the extinct embers.

Vestals in the Republic (509–27 BC)

  • Oppia was a Vestal Virgin in the early republic. In 483, following a series of portents, and advice from the soothsayers that the religious ceremonies were not being duly attended to, she was found guilty of a breach of chastity and punished.
  • Orbinia, put to death for misconduct in 471.
  • Postumia, tried for misconduct in 420, but acquitted.
  • Minucia, put to death for misconduct in 337.
  • Sextilia, put to death for misconduct in 273.
  • Caparronia, committed suicide in 266 when accused of misconduct.
  • Tuccia, accused of misconduct, perhaps in 230, she proved her innocence.
  • Floronia, Opimia, convicted of misconduct in 216, one was buried alive, the other committed suicide.
  • Claudia Ap. f. Ap. n., daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul in 143. During the triumph of her father, she walked beside him to repulse a tribune of the plebs, who was trying to veto his triumph.
  • Licinia C. f., vestal in 123, her dedication of an altar was cancelled by the pontiffs because it had been done without the approval of the people. She was possibly the same as the vestal executed for misconduct in 113.
  • Aemilia, Marcia, and Licinia, accused of multiple acts of incestum (violations of their vows of chastity) in 114. Aemilia, who had supposedly led the two others to follow her example, was condemned outright and put to death. Marcia, who was accused of only one offence, and Licinia, who was accused of many, were at first acquitted by the pontifices, but were retried by Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla (consul 127), and condemned to death in 113. The prosecution offered two Sibylline prophecies in support of the final verdicts. The charges were almost certainly trumped up, and may have been politically motivated.
  • Fonteia, served c. 91–69, recorded as a Vestal during the trial of her brother in 69, but she would have begun her service before her father's death in 91.
  • Fabia, chief Vestal (b. c. 98–97; fl. 50), admitted to the order in 80, half-sister of Terentia (Cicero's first wife), and full sister of Fabia the wife of Dolabella who later married her niece Tullia; she was probably mother of the later consul of that name. In 73 she was acquitted of incestum with Lucius Sergius Catilina. The case was prosecuted by Cicero.
  • Licinia (flourished 1st century) was supposedly courted by her kinsman, the so-called "triumvir" Marcus Licinius Crassus – who in fact wanted her property. This relationship gave rise to rumors. Plutarch says: "And yet when he was further on in years, he was accused of criminal intimacy with Licinia, one of the Vestal virgins and Licinia was formally prosecuted by a certain Plotius. Now Licinia was the owner of a pleasant villa in the suburbs which Crassus wished to get at a low price, and it was for this reason that he was forever hovering about the woman and paying his court to her, until he fell under the abominable suspicion. And in a way it was his avarice that absolved him from the charge of corrupting the Vestal, and he was acquitted by the judges. But he did not let Licinia go until he had acquired her property." Licinia became a Vestal in 85 and remained a Vestal until 61.
  • Arruntia, Perpennia M. f., Popillia, attended the inauguration of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Niger as Flamen Martialis in 69. Licinia, Crassus' relative, was also present.
  • Occia, vestal for 57 years between 38 BC and 19 AD.
Bronze statue of Aquilia Severa, a vestal virgin whom the emperor Elagabalus (r. 218–222) forced to marry (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Imperial Vestals

Outside Rome

Inscriptions record the existence of Vestals in other locations than the centre of Rome.

  • Manlia Severa, virgo Albana maxima, a chief Alban Vestal at Bovillae whose brother was probably the L. Manlius Severus named as a rex sacrorum in a funerary inscription. Mommsen thought he was rex sacrorum of Rome, view that is now not considered probable.
  • Flavia (or Valeria) Vera, a virgo vestalis maxima arcis Albanae, chief Vestal Virgin of the Alban arx (citadel).
  • Caecilia Philete, a senior virgin (virgo maior) of Laurentum-Lavinium, as commemorated by her father, Q. Caecilius Papion. The title maior means at Lavinium the Vestals were only two.
  • Saufeia Alexandria, virgo Vestalis Tiburtium.
  • Cossinia L(ucii) f(iliae), a Virgo Vestalis of Tibur (Tivoli).
  • Primigenia, Alban vestal of Bovillae, mentioned by Symmachus in two of his letters.

The Vestals were used as models of female virtue in allegorizing portraiture of the later West. Elizabeth I of England was portrayed holding a sieve to evoke Tuccia, the Vestal who proved her virtue by carrying water in a sieve. Tuccia herself had been a subject for artists such as Jacopo del Sellaio (d. 1493) and Joannes Stradanus, and women who were arts patrons started having themselves painted as Vestals. In the libertine environment of 18th century France, portraits of women as Vestals seem intended as fantasies of virtue infused with ironic eroticism. Later vestals became an image of republican virtue, as in Jacques-Louis David's The Vestal Virgin. The discovery of a "House of the Vestals" in Pompeii made the Vestals a popular subject in the 18th century and the 19th century.[citation needed]

Portraits as Vestals

Media related to Portraits as vestal at Wikimedia Commons

  1. For an extensive modern consideration of the Vestals, see Ariadne Staples (1998). From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins: Sex and Category in Roman Religion. Routledge.
  2. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:20.
  3. Life of Numa Pompilius 9.5–10 Archived 2012-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Ambrose. "Letter #18". Letter to Emperor Valentianus. Newadvent.org. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  5. English pronunciation:
  6. Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 1.2.
  7. Pliny (1855), The Natural History of Pliny, Volume 5, p. 280.
  8. Ambrose of Milan. "The Memorial of Symmachus". The Letters of Ambrose. Tertullian.org. Archived from the original on 2012-08-12. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  9. Undheim, Sissel (2017). Borderline Virginities: Sacred and Secular Virgins in Late Antiquity. Routledge. p. 32. ISBN 978-1472480170.
  10. Stefano Conti, "Tra Integrazione ed Emarginazione: Le Ultime Vestali", Studia Historica (Univ. Salamanca), vol. 21 (2003), pp. 209–222, ISSN 0213-2052, p. 217
  11. Conti, p. 218. sfn error: no target: CITEREFConti (help)
  12. Conti, p. 219. sfn error: no target: CITEREFConti (help)
  13. Alan Cameron, Last Pagans of Rome (Oxford UP), pp. 46–47
  14. Plutarch. Life of Numa. Translated by Langhorne.
  15. Cato; Worsfold, T. History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome. p. 22.
  16. Lutwyche, Jayne (2012-09-07). "Ancient Rome's maidens – who were the Vestal Virgins?". BBC. Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved2012-11-23.
  17. Plutarch. "Life of Numa Pompilius". Stoa.org. 9.5–10. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  18. "Vestal Virgins". Ultimate Reference DVD. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003.
  19. Kroppenberg, Inge (2010). "Law, Religion and Constitution of the Vestal Virgins". Law and Literature. 22 (3): 426–427. doi:10.1525/lal.2010.22.3.418. S2CID 144805147.. The earlier, stricter selection rules were determined by the Papian Law of the 3rd century BC; they were waived as suitable high-born candidates became hard to find. "Archived copy"(PDF). Archived(PDF) from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved2011-10-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. Aulus Gellius. "Vestal Virgins". Attic Nights. 1. STOA.org. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03.
  21. Tacitus, Annales, ii.86
  22. "Vestal Virgins". Ultimate Reference Suite. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003.
  23. Land, Graham (30 March 2015). "The Vestal Virgins: Rome's Most Independent Women". Made From History. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved17 February 2018.
  24. Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities. University of Chicago. i.19, 38.
  25. William Smith (1875). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray – via University of Chicago.
  26. Culham, Phyllis (2014). Flower, Harriet I. (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 143. ISBN 9781107669420.
  27. Melissa Barden Dowling (January–February 2001). "Vestal Virgins – Chaste Keepers of the Flame". Archaeology Odyssey. Vol. 4 no. 1. Biblical Archaeological Society.
  28. Smith, Anthon (1846). A school dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities. London: Harper. p. 353.
  29. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911)."Vesta" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 1055.
  30. Livy. Ab urbe condita. 2.42.
  31. Valerius Maximus. Vestal Virgin Tuccia. 8.1.5 absol.
  32. Since the health of city was perceived in some way to be linked to the purity and spiritual health of the vestals, suspicions may have been fuelled in times of trouble. The allusions to a possible scapegoat could have been reinforced by the Vestals throwing Argei into the Tiber each year on May 15. cf. Martindale, C.C. "Religion of Ancient Rome". Studies in Comparative Religion. 2. CTS. 14:7.
  33. Noehden, G.H. (September 1817). "Essay, part 2". The Classical Journal. Some Observations on the Worship of Vesta. London: A.J.Valpy. XXXI: 321–333, 332. online biography of G.H. Noehden
  34. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1758). The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis. 1. Translated by Spelmann. p. 180.
  35. Livy (1844). History of Rome. 1. Translated by Baker. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 22.
  36. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1758). The Roman antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis. 2. Translated by Spelman. pp. 128–129.
  37. Smith, Anthon (1843), "A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities", New York: Harper & Brothers p.1040
  38. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1758). The Roman antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis. 4. p. 75.
  39. Livy. "History of Rome". Mcadams.posc.mu.edu. 8.15. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  40. Livy. History of Rome. 4. Mcadams.posc.mu.edu. 4.44. Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  41. "Patria Potestas". www.suppressedhistories.net. Archived from the original on 2005-12-03. Retrieved2010-01-27.
  42. Howatson, M. C. (1989).Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866121-4.
  43. Wagner, Kathryn. "The Power of Virginity: The Political Position and Symbolism of Ancient Rome's Vestal Virgin"(PDF). Archived(PDF) from the original on 2017-05-17.Cite journal requires |journal= ()
  44. Gallia, Andrew B. (2014-07-01). "The Vestal Habit". Classical Philology. 109 (3): 222–240. doi:10.1086/676291. hdl:11299/214959. ISSN 0009-837X. S2CID 162840383.
  45. Beard, Mary (1980-01-01). "The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins". The Journal of Roman Studies. 70: 12–27. doi:10.2307/299553. JSTOR 299553.
  46. Festus 454 in the edition of Lindsay, as cited by Robin Lorsch Wildfang, Rome's Vestal Virgins: A Study of Rome's Vestal Priestesses in the Late Republic and Early Empire (Routledge, 2006), p. 54
  47. Laetitia La Follette, "The Costume of the Roman Bride", in The World of Roman Costume (University of Wisconsin Press, 2001), pp. 59–60 (on discrepancies of hairstyles in some Vestal portraits)
  48. "Recreating the Vestal Virgin Hairstyle" video. Archived 2016-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
  49. Pesta, Abigail (7 February 2013). "On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved7 May 2018 – via www.wsj.com.
  50. "Ancient Rome's hairdo for vestal virgins re-created". nbcnews.com. 10 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved7 May 2018.
  51. Dionysus of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities. Thayer (Loeb ed.). University of Chicago. book II, 68, 3.;
    Valerius Maximus, I.1.§7
  52. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, ix. 40.
  53. Livy, iv. 44.
  54. Livy, viii. 15.
  55. Livy, Periochae, 14.
  56. Orosius, iv. 5 § 9.
  57. Valerius Maximus, viii.1 § 5.
  58. Broughton, vol. I, pp. 227, 228 (note 2).
  59. Livy, xxii. 57.
  60. Cicero, Pro Caelio, 14.
  61. Cicero, Pro Domo Sua, 136.
  62. Beard, Mary; North, John; Price, Simon (9 July 1998). Religions of Rome: Volume 1, A History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521304016 – via Google Books.
  63. Greenidge, Abel Hendy Jones (17 December 2018). "A History of Rome". Methuen – via Google Books.
  64. Noorthouck, John (17 December 1776). An Historical and Classical Dictionary: Containing the Lives and Characters of the Most Eminent and Learned Persons, in Every Age and Nation, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. In Two Volumes. W. Strahan; and T. Cadell – via Internet Archive. Lucius Cassius vestal.
  65. Chrystal, Paul (17 May 2017). "Roman Women: The Women who influenced the History of Rome". Fonthill Media – via Google Books.
  66. Wildfang, Robin Lorsch, Rome's vestal virgins: a study of Rome's vestal priestesses in the late Republic and early Empire, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2007, p. 93ff [1]
  67. Lightman, Marjorie; Lightman, Benjamin (17 December 2018). A to Z of Ancient Greek and Roman Women. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438107943 – via Google Books.
  68. Phyllis Cunham, in Harriet Flower (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p.155 googlebooks partial preview. The accusations against Licinia included fraternal incest. She was a contemporary and possible political ally of the Gracchi brothers. In 123 BC the Roman Senate had annulled her attempted rededication of Bona Dea's Aventine Temple as illegal and "against the will of the people". She may have fallen victim to the factional politics of the times.
  69. Broughton, vol. I, p. 534.
  70. Cicero, Pro Fonteio 46–49
  71. Aulus Gellius 1.12.2
  72. T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1952), vol. 2, pp. 24–25.
  73. Wildfang, Robin Lorsch, Rome's vestal virgins: a study of Rome's vestal priestesses in the late Republic and early Empire, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2007, p. 96, preview via google books
  74. Lewis, R. G. (2001). "Catalina and the Vestal". The Classical Quarterly. JSTOR. 51 (1): 141–149. doi:10.1093/cq/51.1.141. JSTOR 3556336.
  75. Plutarch. "Life of Crassus". University of Chicago. Retrieved2012-11-19.
  76. Broughton, vol. II, pp. 135-137 (note 14).
  77. Broughton, vol. II, p. 395.
  78. Tacitus, Annales, iii. 69.
  79. CIL XIV, 2140 = ILS 6190, found in 1728 at the XI mile of the Via Appia, now in the Lapidary Gallery of the Vatican Museums: it mentions the dedication of a clipeus by her brother.
  80. CIL XIV, 2413 = ILS 4942 presently no longer reperible in the palazzo Mattei in Rome.
  81. CIL VI, 2172 = ILS 5011, found in Rome near the basilique of St. Saba, now in the Lapidary Gallery of the Vatican Museum. It is a dedicatory inscription on a little base, possibly of a statuette that was housed in the home of the same vestal on the Little Aventine. M. G. Granino Cecere "Vestali non di Roma" in Studi di epigrafia latina 20 2003 p. 70-71.
  82. Virgo maior regia Laurentium Lavinatium, CIL XIV, 2077, as read by Pirro Ligorio, now housed in the Palazzo Borghese at Pratica di Mare. Cecere above p. 72.
  83. CIL XIV, 3677 = ILS 6244 on the base of an honorary statue, now irreperible. Possibly also mentioned in CIL XIV, 3679. Cecere above p. 73-74
  84. Inscr. It. IV n. 213. Inscription on funerary monument discovered at Tivoli in July 1929. On the front the name of the Vestal is incised within an oak wreath onto which adheres the sacred infula, knot of the order; with the name of the dedicant (L. Cossinius Electus, a relative, probably brother or nephew) on the lower margin. Cecere above p. 75.
  85. Marina Warner, Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (University of California Press, 1985), p. 244 ; Robert Tittler, "Portraiture, Politics and Society," in A Companion to Tudor Britain (Blackwell, 2007), p. 454; Linda Shenk, Learned Queen: The Image of Elizabeth I in Politics and Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 13.
  86. Warner, Monuments and Maidens, p. 244.
  87. Kathleen Nicholson, "The Ideology of Feminine 'Virtue': The Vestal Virgin in French Eighteenth-Century Allegorical Portraiture," in Portraiture: Facing the Subject (Manchester University Press, 1997), p. 58ff.
  • Beard, Mary, "The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins," The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 70, (1980), pp. 12–27.
  • Broughton, T. Robert S., The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, American Philological Association (1952–1986).
  • Kroppenberg, Inge, "Law, Religion and Constitution of the Vestal Virgins," Law and Literature, 22, 3, 2010, pp. 418 – 439. [2]
  • Peck, Harry Thurston, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
  • Parker, Holt N. "Why Were the Vestals Virgins? Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State", American Journal of Philology, Vol. 125, No. 4. (2004), pp. 563–601.
  • Samuel Ball Platner and Thomas Ashby, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
  • Saquete, José Carlos, "Las vírgenes vestales. Un sacerdocio femenino en la religión pública romana". Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2000.
  • Sawyer, Deborah F. "Magna Mater and the Vestal Virgins." In Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries, 119–129. London: Routledge Press, 1996.
  • Wildfang, Robin Lorsch. Rome's Vestal Virgins. Oxford: Routledge, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-415-39795-2; paperback, ISBN 0-415-39796-0).
Wikimedia Commons has media related toVestals.

Vestal Virgin
Vestal Virgin Language Watch Edit Vestals redirects here For other uses see Vestal disambiguation In ancient Rome the Vestals or Vestal Virgins Latin Vestales singular Vestalis wɛsˈtaːlɪs were priestesses of Vesta goddess of the hearth The college of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome These individuals cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a 30 year vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were forbidden to the colleges of male priests 1 2nd century AD Roman statue of a Virgo Vestalis Maxima National Roman Museum 1st century AD aureus depicting a seated Vestal Virgin marked vestalis In 382 the Christian emperor Gratian confiscated the public revenues assigned to the cult of Vesta in Rome and the Vestals vanished from historical record soon after Contents 1 History 1 1 Vestalis Maxima 2 Number of Vestals 3 Terms of service 3 1 Selection 3 2 Duties 3 3 Privileges 3 4 Punishments 4 House of the Vestals 5 Vestal festivals 6 Attire 7 List of Vestals 7 1 Legendary Vestals 7 2 Vestals in the Republic 509 27 BC 7 3 Imperial Vestals 7 4 Outside Rome 8 Vestals in Western art 8 1 Portraits as Vestals 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External linksHistory EditThe Roman imperial period authors Livy Plutarch and Aulus Gellius attribute the creation of the Vestals as a state supported priestesshood to King Numa Pompilius who reigned circa 717 673 BC According to Livy writing in the Augustan age Numa introduced the Vestals and assigned them salaries from the public treasury Livy also says that the priestesshood of Vesta had its origins at Alba Longa 2 The 2nd century AD antiquarian Aulus Gellius writes that the first Vestal taken from her parents was led away in hand by Numa Also writing in the 2nd century Plutarch attributes the founding of the Temple of Vesta to Numa who appointed at first two priestesses Servius Tullius increased the number to four 3 Ambrose alludes to a seventh in late antiquity 4 Numa also appointed the pontifex maximus to watch over the Vestals The first Vestals according to the 1st century BC author Varro were named Gegania 5 Veneneia 6 Canuleia 7 and Tarpeia 8 Tarpeia daughter of Spurius Tarpeius was portrayed as traitorous in legend The Vestals became a powerful and influential force in the Roman state When Sulla included the young Julius Caesar in his proscriptions the Vestals interceded on Caesar s behalf and gained him pardon 9 Augustus included the Vestals in all major dedications and ceremonies They were held in awe and attributed certain magical powers Pliny the Elder for example in Book 28 of his Natural History discussing the efficacy of magic chooses not to refute but rather tacitly accept as truth 10 At the present day too it is a general belief that our Vestal virgins have the power by uttering a certain prayer to arrest the flight of runaway slaves and to rivet them to the spot provided they have not gone beyond the precincts of the City If then these opinions be once received as truth and if it be admitted that the gods do listen to certain prayers or are influenced by set forms of words we are bound to conclude in the affirmative upon the whole question The 4th century AD urban prefect Symmachus who sought to maintain traditional Roman religion during the rise of Christianity wrote The laws of our ancestors provided for the Vestal virgins and the ministers of the gods a moderate maintenance and just privileges This gift was preserved inviolate till the time of the degenerate moneychangers who diverted the maintenance of sacred chastity into a fund for the payment of base porters A public famine ensued on this act and a bad harvest disappointed the hopes of all the provinces it was sacrilege which rendered the year barren for it was necessary that all should lose that which they had denied to religion 11 It is not known exactly when the Vestals were dissolved but it must have happened not long after the emperor Gratian confiscated their revenues in 382 12 The last epigraphically attested Vestal is Coelia Concordia a Virgo Vestalis Maxima who in 385 erected a statue to the deceased pontiff Vettius Agorius Praetextatus 13 The latest mention of a Vestal is by the pagan historian Zosimos who relates that during a visit of Theodosius I to Rome in 394 the emperor s niece Serena insulted an aged Vestal said to be the last of her kind 14 Conti writes that it is not clear from Zosimos s narrative if the cult of Vesta was still functioning and thus maintained by that single Vestal at that point 15 but Cameron is skeptical of the entire tale noting that Theodosius did not actually visit Rome in 394 16 Vestalis Maxima Edit The chief Vestal Virgo Vestalis Maxima or Vestalium Maxima greatest of the Vestals oversaw the efforts of the Vestals and was present in the College of Pontiffs The Vestalis Maxima Occia presided over the Vestals for 57 years according to Tacitus The Vestalium Maxima was the most important of Rome s high priestesses Although the Flaminica Dialis and the regina sacrorum each held unique responsibility for certain religious rites each came into her office as the spouse of another appointed priest whereas the vestals all held office independently Relief of Vestal Virgins at a banquet found in 1935 near Rome s Via del Corso Museum of the Ara Pacis Number of Vestals EditAccording to Plutarch there were only two Vestal Virgins when Numa began the College of the Vestals This number later increased to four and then to six 17 It has been suggested by some authorities that a seventh was added later but this is doubtful 18 Terms of service EditThe Vestals were committed to the priestesshood before puberty when 6 10 years old and sworn to celibacy for a period of 30 years 19 These 30 years were divided in turn into three decade long periods during which Vestals were respectively students servants and teachers After her 30 year term of service each Vestal retired and was replaced by a new inductee Once retired a former Vestal was given a pension and allowed to marry 20 The Pontifex Maximus acting as the father of the bride would typically arrange a marriage with a suitable Roman nobleman A marriage to a former Vestal was highly honoured and more importantly in ancient Rome thought to bring good luck as well as a comfortable pension House of the Vestals and Temple of Vesta from the Palatine Selection Edit To obtain entry into the order a girl had to be free of physical and mental defects have two living parents and be a daughter of a free born resident of Rome From at least the mid Republican era the pontifex maximus chose Vestals between their sixth and tenth year by lot from a group of twenty high born candidates at a gathering of their families and other Roman citizens Originally the girl had to be of patrician birth but membership was opened to plebeians as it became difficult to find patricians willing to commit their daughters to 30 years as a Vestal and then ultimately even from the daughters of freedmen for the same reason 21 22 The choosing ceremony was known as a captio capture Once a girl was chosen to be a Vestal the pontifex pointed to her and led her away from her parents with the words I take you Amata to be a Vestal priestess who will carry out sacred rites which it is the law for a Vestal priestess to perform on behalf of the Roman people on the same terms as her who was a Vestal on the best terms thus with all the entitlements of a Vestal As soon as she entered the atrium of Vesta s temple she was under the goddess service and protection 23 To replace a Vestal who had died candidates would be presented in the quarters of the chief Vestal for the selection of the most virtuous Unlike normal inductees these candidates did not have to be prepubescents nor even virgins they could be young widows or even divorcees though that was frowned upon and thought unlucky though they were rarely older than the deceased Vestal they were replacing Tacitus recounts how Gaius Fonteius Agrippa and Domitius Pollio offered their daughters as Vestal candidates in 19 AD to fill such a vacant position Equally matched Pollio s daughter was chosen only because Agrippa had been recently divorced The pontifex maximus Tiberius consoled the failed candidate with a dowry of 1 million sesterces 24 Duties Edit The most prominent feature of the ruins that were once the Temple of Vesta is the hearth seen here in the foreground Their tasks included the maintenance of the fire sacred to Vesta the goddess of the hearth and home collecting water from a sacred spring preparation of food used in rituals and caring for sacred objects in the temple s sanctuary 25 By maintaining Vesta s sacred fire from which anyone could receive fire for household use they functioned as surrogate housekeepers in a religious sense for all of Rome Their sacred fire was treated in Imperial times as the emperor s household fire The Vestals were put in charge of keeping safe the wills and testaments of various people such as Caesar and Mark Antony In addition the Vestals also guarded some sacred objects including the Palladium and made a special kind of flour called mola salsa which was sprinkled on all public offerings to a god Privileges Edit The dignities accorded to the Vestals were significant 26 In an era when religion was rich in pageantry the presence of the College of Vestal Virgins was required for numerous public ceremonies and wherever they went were transported in a carpentum a covered two wheeled carriage preceded by a lictor and had the right of way At public games and performances they had a reserved place of honour Vestals gave evidence without the customary oath their word being trusted without question Vestals were on account of their incorruptible character entrusted with important wills and state documents like public treaties Their person was sacrosanct death was the penalty for injuring their person and they had escorts to protect them from assault They could free condemned prisoners and slaves by touching them if a person who was sentenced to death saw a Vestal on his way to the execution he was automatically pardoned Vestals participated in throwing the ritual straw figures called Argei into the Tiber on May 15 27 28 Punishments Edit Early 18th century depiction of the dedication of a Vestal by Alessandro Marchesini Statue of Flavia Publicia in the House of the Vestals In the Temple of Vesta by Constantin Holscher de 1902 Villa Grisebach de Allowing the sacred fire of Vesta to die out was a serious dereliction of duty It suggested that the goddess had withdrawn her protection from the city Vestals guilty of this offence were punished by a scourging or beating which was carried out in the dark and through a curtain to preserve their modesty 29 The chastity of the Vestals was considered to have a direct bearing on the health of the Roman state When they entered the collegium they left behind the authority of their fathers and became daughters of the state Any sexual relationship with a citizen was therefore considered to be incestum and an act of treason 30 The punishment for violating the oath of celibacy was immurement to be buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus Evil Field in an underground chamber near the Colline Gate supplied with a few days of food and water Ancient tradition required that an unchaste Vestal be buried alive within the city that being the only way to kill her without spilling her blood which was forbidden However this practice contradicted the Roman law that no person might be buried within the city To solve this problem the Romans buried the offending priestess with a nominal quantity of food and other provisions not to prolong her punishment but so that the Vestal would not technically be buried in the city but instead descend into a habitable room The actual manner of the procession to Campus Sceleratus has been described like this When condemned by the college of pontifices she was stripped of her vittae and other badges of office was scourged was attired like a corpse placed in a close litter and borne through the forum attended by her weeping kindred with all the ceremonies of a real funeral to a rising ground called the Campus Sceleratus just within the city walls close to the Colline gate There a small vault underground had been previously prepared containing a couch a lamp and a table with a little food The pontifex maximus having lifted up his hands to heaven and uttered a secret prayer opened the litter led forth the culprit and placing her on the steps of the ladder which gave access to the subterranean cell delivered her over to the common executioner and his assistants who conducted her down drew up the ladder and having filled the pit with earth until the surface was level with the surrounding ground left her to perish deprived of all the tributes of respect usually paid to the spirits of the departed 31 Cases of unchastity and its punishment were rare 32 In 483 BC following a series of portents and advice from the soothsayers that the religious ceremonies were not being duly attended to the vestal virgin Oppia was found guilty of a breach of chastity and punished 33 The Vestal Tuccia was accused of fornication but she carried water in a sieve to prove her chastity O Vesta if I have always brought pure hands to your secret services make it so now that with this sieve I shall be able to draw water from the Tiber and bring it to Your temple 34 Because a Vestal s virginity was thought to be directly correlated to the sacred burning of the fire if the fire were extinguished it might be assumed that either the Vestal had acted wrongly or that the Vestal had simply neglected her duties The final decision was the responsibility of the Pontifex Maximus or the head of the pontifical college as opposed to a judicial body While the Order of the Vestals was in existence for over one thousand years there are only ten recorded convictions for unchastity and these trials all took place at times of political crisis for the Roman state It has been suggested 30 that Vestals were used as scapegoats 35 in times of great crisis Pliny the Younger was convinced that Cornelia who as Virgo Maxima was buried alive at the orders of emperor Domitian was innocent of the charges of unchastity and he describes how she sought to keep her dignity intact when she descended into the chamber 36 when she was let down into the subterranean chamber and her robe had caught in descending she turned round and gathered it up And when the executioner offered her his hand she shrank from it and turned away with disgust spurning the foul contact from her person chaste pure and holy And with all the deportment of modest grace she scrupulously endeavoured to perish with propriety and decorum Dionysius of Halicarnassus claims that the earliest Vestals at Alba Longa were whipped and put to death for breaking their vows of celibacy and that their offspring were to be thrown into the river 37 According to Livy Rhea Silvia the mother of Romulus and Remus had been forced to become a Vestal Virgin and when she gave birth to the twins it is stated that she was merely loaded down with chains and cast into prison her babies put into the river 38 Dionysius also relates the belief that live burial was instituted by the Roman king Tarquinius Priscus and inflicted this punishment on the priestess Pinaria 39 The 11th century Byzantine historian George Kedrenos is the only extant source for the claim that prior to Priscus the Roman King Numa Pompilius had instituted death by stoning for unchaste Vestal Virgins and that it was Priscus who changed the punishment into that of live burial 40 But whipping with rods sometimes preceded the immuration as was done to Urbinia in 471 BC 41 Suspicions first arose against Minucia through an improper love of dress and the evidence of a slave She was found guilty of unchastity and buried alive 42 Similarly Postumia who though innocent according to Livy 43 was tried for unchastity with suspicions being aroused through her immodest attire and less than maidenly manner Postumia was sternly warned to leave her sports taunts and merry conceits Aemilia Licinia and Martia were executed after being denounced by the servant of a barbarian horseman A few Vestals were acquitted Some cleared themselves through ordeals 44 The paramour of a guilty Vestal was whipped to death in the Forum Boarium or on the Comitium 45 A reconstruction of the House of the Vestals by Christian Hulsen 1905 House of the Vestals EditMain article House of the Vestals The House of the Vestals was the residence of the vestal priestesses in Rome Behind the Temple of Vesta which housed the sacred fire the Atrium Vestiae was a three storey building at the foot of the Palatine Hill Vestal festivals EditThe chief festivals of Vesta were the Vestalia celebrated June 7 until June 15 On June 7 only her sanctuary which normally no one except her priestesses the Vestals entered was accessible to mothers of families who brought plates of food The simple ceremonies were officiated by the Vestals and they gathered grain and fashioned salty cakes for the festival This was the only time when they themselves made the mola salsa for this was the holiest time for Vesta and it had to be made perfectly and correctly as it was used in all public sacrifices Statue head of a Vestal Virgin Palatine Museum Attire Edit Statue of the Vestal Virgin Flavia Publicia in the House of the Vestals Throughout time the image of the Vestal Virgin has been a woman draped in white priestly garments denoting the essence of purity and divinity through such attire 46 The important elements of the Vestal costume include the stola and the vittae 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 The vittae that the Vestals wore was a cloth ribbon worn in the Vestals hair It is closely associated with status of Roman matron Vittae were worn by a wider range of women at different stages of life and therefore cannot be accepted as unique to just one stage Unmarried girls matrons as well as the Vestal virgins all wore them However the Vestals did not share all elements of the bride s attire specifically they did not wear the flammeum that brides did but instead wore the suffibulum The vestals also wore a stola which is associated with Roman matrons not with Roman brides Furthermore the manner in which the Vestals styled their hair was the way that Roman brides wore their hair on their wedding day This juxtaposition between the attire and style worn by Vestal Virgins and brides or matrons is particularly intriguing and studied by scholars in numerous instances The gowns worn by the Vestals and Roman brides were also similar in the way that they were tied The distinction though is that the Vestals wore the stola which is associated more with matrons while brides were associated with the tunica recta The stola is a long gown that covers the body and this covering of the body by way of the gown signals the prohibitions that governed the Vestals sexuality 47 Stola literally communicates the message of hands off and further communicates their virginity 48 The connection between Vestals and Roman brides suggests according to whom that the Vestals have the connotation of being ambivalent They are perceived as eternally stuck at the moment between virginal status and marital status citation needed Their main articles of clothing consisted of an infula a suffibulum and a palla The infula was a fillet which was worn by priests and other religious figures in Rome A vestal s infula was white and made from wool The suffibulum was the white woolen veil which was worn during rituals and sacrifices Usually found underneath were red and white woolen ribbons symbolizing the Vestal s commitment to keeping the fire of Vesta and to her vow of purity respectively The palla was the long simple shawl a typical article of clothing for Roman women The palla and its pin were draped over the left shoulder Vestals also had an elaborate hairstyle consisting of six or seven braids which Roman brides also wore 49 50 51 52 In 2013 Janet Stephens became the first to recreate the hairstyle of the vestals on a modern person 52 53 List of Vestals EditFrom the institution of the Vestal priesthood to its abolition an unknown number of Vestals held office Several are named in Roman myth and history Legendary Vestals Edit Rhea Silvia a vestal at Alba Longa was the mythical mother of Rome s founders Romulus and Remus Aemilia a Roman vestal who prayed to Vesta for assistance on one occasion when the sacred fire was extinguished and then miraculously rekindled it by throwing a piece of her garment upon the extinct embers 54 Vestals in the Republic 509 27 BC Edit Oppia was a Vestal Virgin in the early republic In 483 following a series of portents and advice from the soothsayers that the religious ceremonies were not being duly attended to she was found guilty of a breach of chastity and punished 33 Orbinia put to death for misconduct in 471 55 Postumia tried for misconduct in 420 but acquitted 56 Minucia put to death for misconduct in 337 57 Sextilia put to death for misconduct in 273 58 Caparronia committed suicide in 266 when accused of misconduct 59 Tuccia accused of misconduct perhaps in 230 she proved her innocence 60 61 Floronia Opimia convicted of misconduct in 216 one was buried alive the other committed suicide 62 Claudia Ap f Ap n daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher consul in 143 During the triumph of her father she walked beside him to repulse a tribune of the plebs who was trying to veto his triumph 63 Licinia C f vestal in 123 her dedication of an altar was cancelled by the pontiffs because it had been done without the approval of the people She was possibly the same as the vestal executed for misconduct in 113 64 Aemilia Marcia and Licinia accused of multiple acts of incestum violations of their vows of chastity in 114 65 66 67 Aemilia who had supposedly led the two others to follow her example was condemned outright and put to death 68 Marcia who was accused of only one offence and Licinia who was accused of many were at first acquitted by the pontifices but were retried by Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla consul 127 and condemned to death in 113 69 70 The prosecution offered two Sibylline prophecies in support of the final verdicts The charges were almost certainly trumped up and may have been politically motivated 71 72 Fonteia served c 91 69 recorded as a Vestal during the trial of her brother in 69 but she would have begun her service before her father s death in 91 73 74 75 Fabia chief Vestal b c 98 97 fl 50 admitted to the order in 80 half sister of Terentia Cicero s first wife and full sister of Fabia the wife of Dolabella who later married her niece Tullia she was probably mother of the later consul of that name 76 In 73 she was acquitted of incestum with Lucius Sergius Catilina 77 The case was prosecuted by Cicero Licinia flourished 1st century was supposedly courted by her kinsman the so called triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus who in fact wanted her property This relationship gave rise to rumors Plutarch says And yet when he was further on in years he was accused of criminal intimacy with Licinia one of the Vestal virgins and Licinia was formally prosecuted by a certain Plotius Now Licinia was the owner of a pleasant villa in the suburbs which Crassus wished to get at a low price and it was for this reason that he was forever hovering about the woman and paying his court to her until he fell under the abominable suspicion And in a way it was his avarice that absolved him from the charge of corrupting the Vestal and he was acquitted by the judges But he did not let Licinia go until he had acquired her property 78 Licinia became a Vestal in 85 and remained a Vestal until 61 Arruntia Perpennia M f Popillia attended the inauguration of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Niger as Flamen Martialis in 69 Licinia Crassus relative was also present 79 Occia vestal for 57 years between 38 BC and 19 AD 80 Bronze statue of Aquilia Severa a vestal virgin whom the emperor Elagabalus r 218 222 forced to marry National Archaeological Museum Athens Imperial Vestals Edit Junia Torquata 1st century vestal under Tiberius sister of Gaius Junius Silanus 81 Rubria 1st century said by Suetonius to have been raped by Nero Aquilia Severa 3rd century whom Emperor Elagabalus married amid considerable scandal Clodia Laeta 3rd century Flavia Publicia mid 3rd century Coelia Concordia 4th century the last head of the order Outside Rome Edit Inscriptions record the existence of Vestals in other locations than the centre of Rome Manlia Severa virgo Albana maxima 82 a chief Alban Vestal at Bovillae whose brother was probably the L Manlius Severus named as a rex sacrorum in a funerary inscription Mommsen thought he was rex sacrorum of Rome view that is now not considered probable 83 Flavia or Valeria Vera a virgo vestalis maxima arcis Albanae chief Vestal Virgin of the Alban arx citadel 84 Caecilia Philete a senior virgin virgo maior of Laurentum Lavinium 85 as commemorated by her father Q Caecilius Papion The title maior means at Lavinium the Vestals were only two Saufeia Alexandria virgo Vestalis Tiburtium 86 Cossinia L ucii f iliae a Virgo Vestalis of Tibur Tivoli 87 Primigenia Alban vestal of Bovillae mentioned by Symmachus in two of his letters Vestals in Western art EditThe Vestals were used as models of female virtue in allegorizing portraiture of the later West Elizabeth I of England was portrayed holding a sieve to evoke Tuccia the Vestal who proved her virtue by carrying water in a sieve 88 Tuccia herself had been a subject for artists such as Jacopo del Sellaio d 1493 and Joannes Stradanus and women who were arts patrons started having themselves painted as Vestals 89 In the libertine environment of 18th century France portraits of women as Vestals seem intended as fantasies of virtue infused with ironic eroticism 90 Later vestals became an image of republican virtue as in Jacques Louis David s The Vestal Virgin The discovery of a House of the Vestals in Pompeii made the Vestals a popular subject in the 18th century and the 19th century citation needed Portraits as Vestals Edit Media related to Portraits as vestal at Wikimedia Commons Sieve Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I 1583 by Quentin Metsys the Younger Vestal Virgin 1677 1730 by Jean Raoux Madame Henriette de France as a Vestal Virgin 1749 by Jean Marc Nattier Portrait of a Woman as a Vestal Virgin 1770s by Angelica KauffmanReferences Edit For an extensive modern consideration of the Vestals see Ariadne Staples 1998 From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins Sex and Category in Roman Religion Routledge Livy Ab urbe condita 1 20 Life of Numa Pompilius 9 5 10 Archived 2012 12 03 at the Wayback Machine Ambrose Letter 18 Letter to Emperor Valentianus Newadvent org Archived from the original on 2012 10 22 Retrieved 2012 11 19 English pronunciation dʒ ɪ ˈ ɡ eɪ n i e ji GAY nee e ˌ v ɛ n ɪ ˈ n iː e VEN i NEE e ˌ k ae nj ʊ ˈ l iː e KAN yuu LEE e t ɑːr ˈ p iː e tar PEE e Suetonius Julius Caesar 1 2 Pliny 1855 The Natural History of Pliny Volume 5 p 280 Ambrose of Milan The Memorial of Symmachus The Letters of Ambrose Tertullian org Archived from the original on 2012 08 12 Retrieved 2012 11 19 Undheim Sissel 2017 Borderline Virginities Sacred and Secular Virgins in Late Antiquity Routledge p 32 ISBN 978 1472480170 Stefano Conti Tra Integrazione ed Emarginazione Le Ultime Vestali Studia Historica Univ Salamanca vol 21 2003 pp 209 222 ISSN 0213 2052 p 217 Conti p 218 sfn error no target CITEREFConti help Conti p 219 sfn error no target CITEREFConti help Alan Cameron Last Pagans of Rome Oxford UP pp 46 47 Plutarch Life of Numa Translated by Langhorne Cato Worsfold T History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome p 22 Lutwyche Jayne 2012 09 07 Ancient Rome s maidens who were the Vestal Virgins BBC Archived from the original on 2012 10 01 Retrieved 2012 11 23 Plutarch Life of Numa Pompilius Stoa org 9 5 10 Archived from the original on 2012 12 03 Retrieved 2012 11 19 Vestal Virgins Ultimate Reference DVD Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Kroppenberg Inge 2010 Law Religion and Constitution of the Vestal Virgins Law and Literature 22 3 426 427 doi 10 1525 lal 2010 22 3 418 S2CID 144805147 The earlier stricter selection rules were determined by the Papian Law of the 3rd century BC they were waived as suitable high born candidates became hard to find Archived copy PDF Archived PDF from the original on 2012 04 25 Retrieved 2011 10 20 CS1 maint archived copy as title link Aulus Gellius Vestal Virgins Attic Nights 1 STOA org p 12 Archived from the original on 2012 12 03 Tacitus Annales ii 86 Vestal Virgins Ultimate Reference Suite Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Land Graham 30 March 2015 The Vestal Virgins Rome s Most Independent Women Made From History Archived from the original on 18 February 2018 Retrieved 17 February 2018 Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities University of Chicago i 19 38 William Smith 1875 A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities London John Murray via University of Chicago Culham Phyllis 2014 Flower Harriet I ed The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic 2nd ed Cambridge University Press p 143 ISBN 9781107669420 a b Melissa Barden Dowling January February 2001 Vestal Virgins Chaste Keepers of the Flame Archaeology Odyssey Vol 4 no 1 Biblical Archaeological Society Smith Anthon 1846 A school dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities London Harper p 353 Chisholm Hugh ed 1911 Vesta Encyclopaedia Britannica 27 11th ed Cambridge University Press p 1055 a b Livy Ab urbe condita 2 42 Valerius Maximus Vestal Virgin Tuccia 8 1 5 absol Since the health of city was perceived in some way to be linked to the purity and spiritual health of the vestals suspicions may have been fuelled in times of trouble The allusions to a possible scapegoat could have been reinforced by the Vestals throwing Argei into the Tiber each year on May 15 cf Martindale C C Religion of Ancient Rome Studies in Comparative Religion 2 CTS 14 7 Noehden G H September 1817 Essay part 2 The Classical Journal Some Observations on the Worship of Vesta London A J Valpy XXXI 321 333 332 online biography of G H Noehden Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1758 The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis 1 Translated by Spelmann p 180 Livy 1844 History of Rome 1 Translated by Baker New York Harper amp Brothers p 22 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1758 The Roman antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis 2 Translated by Spelman pp 128 129 Smith Anthon 1843 A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities New York Harper amp Brothers p 1040 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1758 The Roman antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis 4 p 75 Livy History of Rome Mcadams posc mu edu 8 15 Archived from the original on 2012 09 14 Retrieved 2012 11 19 Livy History of Rome 4 Mcadams posc mu edu 4 44 Archived from the original on 2012 09 15 Retrieved 2012 11 19 Patria Potestas www suppressedhistories net Archived from the original on 2005 12 03 Retrieved 2010 01 27 Howatson M C 1989 Oxford Companion to Classical Literature Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 866121 4 Wagner Kathryn The Power of Virginity The Political Position and Symbolism of Ancient Rome s Vestal Virgin PDF Archived PDF from the original on 2017 05 17 Cite journal requires journal help Gallia Andrew B 2014 07 01 The Vestal Habit Classical Philology 109 3 222 240 doi 10 1086 676291 hdl 11299 214959 ISSN 0009 837X S2CID 162840383 Beard Mary 1980 01 01 The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins The Journal of Roman Studies 70 12 27 doi 10 2307 299553 JSTOR 299553 Festus 454 in the edition of Lindsay as cited by Robin Lorsch Wildfang Rome s Vestal Virgins A Study of Rome s Vestal Priestesses in the Late Republic and Early Empire Routledge 2006 p 54 Laetitia La Follette The Costume of the Roman Bride in The World of Roman Costume University of Wisconsin Press 2001 pp 59 60 on discrepancies of hairstyles in some Vestal portraits Recreating the Vestal Virgin Hairstyle video Archived 2016 12 13 at the Wayback Machine a b Pesta Abigail 7 February 2013 On Pins and Needles Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head Wall Street Journal Archived from the original on 6 April 2018 Retrieved 7 May 2018 via www wsj com Ancient Rome s hairdo for vestal virgins re created nbcnews com 10 January 2013 Archived from the original on 2 November 2017 Retrieved 7 May 2018 Dionysus of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities Thayer Loeb ed University of Chicago book II 68 3 Valerius Maximus I 1 7 Dionysius of Halicarnassus ix 40 Livy iv 44 Livy viii 15 Livy Periochae 14 Orosius iv 5 9 Valerius Maximus viii 1 5 Broughton vol I pp 227 228 note 2 Livy xxii 57 Cicero Pro Caelio 14 Cicero Pro Domo Sua 136 Beard Mary North John Price Simon 9 July 1998 Religions of Rome Volume 1 A History Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521304016 via Google Books Greenidge Abel Hendy Jones 17 December 2018 A History of Rome Methuen via Google Books Noorthouck John 17 December 1776 An Historical and Classical Dictionary Containing the Lives and Characters of the Most Eminent and Learned Persons in Every Age and Nation from the Earliest Period to the Present Time In Two Volumes W Strahan and T Cadell via Internet Archive Lucius Cassius vestal Chrystal Paul 17 May 2017 Roman Women The Women who influenced the History of Rome Fonthill Media via Google Books Wildfang Robin Lorsch Rome s vestal virgins a study of Rome s vestal priestesses in the late Republic and early Empire Routledge Taylor amp Francis 2007 p 93ff 1 Lightman Marjorie Lightman Benjamin 17 December 2018 A to Z of Ancient Greek and Roman Women Infobase Publishing ISBN 9781438107943 via Google Books Phyllis Cunham in Harriet Flower ed The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic Cambridge University Press 2004 p 155 googlebooks partial preview The accusations against Licinia included fraternal incest She was a contemporary and possible political ally of the Gracchi brothers In 123 BC the Roman Senate had annulled her attempted rededication of Bona Dea s Aventine Temple as illegal and against the will of the people She may have fallen victim to the factional politics of the times Broughton vol I p 534 Cicero Pro Fonteio 46 49 Aulus Gellius 1 12 2 T R S Broughton The Magistrates of the Roman Republic American Philological Association 1952 vol 2 pp 24 25 Wildfang Robin Lorsch Rome s vestal virgins a study of Rome s vestal priestesses in the late Republic and early Empire Routledge Taylor amp Francis 2007 p 96 preview via google books Lewis R G 2001 Catalina and the Vestal The Classical Quarterly JSTOR 51 1 141 149 doi 10 1093 cq 51 1 141 JSTOR 3556336 Plutarch Life of Crassus University of Chicago Retrieved 2012 11 19 Broughton vol II pp 135 137 note 14 Broughton vol II p 395 Tacitus Annales iii 69 CIL XIV 2140 ILS 6190 found in 1728 at the XI mile of the Via Appia now in the Lapidary Gallery of the Vatican Museums it mentions the dedication of a clipeus by her brother CIL XIV 2413 ILS 4942 presently no longer reperible in the palazzo Mattei in Rome CIL VI 2172 ILS 5011 found in Rome near the basilique of St Saba now in the Lapidary Gallery of the Vatican Museum It is a dedicatory inscription on a little base possibly of a statuette that was housed in the home of the same vestal on the Little Aventine M G Granino Cecere Vestali non di Roma in Studi di epigrafia latina 20 2003 p 70 71 Virgo maior regia Laurentium Lavinatium CIL XIV 2077 as read by Pirro Ligorio now housed in the Palazzo Borghese at Pratica di Mare Cecere above p 72 CIL XIV 3677 ILS 6244 on the base of an honorary statue now irreperible Possibly also mentioned in CIL XIV 3679 Cecere above p 73 74 Inscr It IV n 213 Inscription on funerary monument discovered at Tivoli in July 1929 On the front the name of the Vestal is incised within an oak wreath onto which adheres the sacred infula knot of the order with the name of the dedicant L Cossinius Electus a relative probably brother or nephew on the lower margin Cecere above p 75 Marina Warner Monuments and Maidens The Allegory of the Female Form University of California Press 1985 p 244 Robert Tittler Portraiture Politics and Society in A Companion to Tudor Britain Blackwell 2007 p 454 Linda Shenk Learned Queen The Image of Elizabeth I in Politics and Poetry Palgrave Macmillan 2010 p 13 Warner Monuments and Maidens p 244 Kathleen Nicholson The Ideology of Feminine Virtue The Vestal Virgin in French Eighteenth Century Allegorical Portraiture in Portraiture Facing the Subject Manchester University Press 1997 p 58ff Further reading EditBeard Mary The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins The Journal of Roman Studies Vol 70 1980 pp 12 27 Broughton T Robert S The Magistrates of the Roman Republic American Philological Association 1952 1986 Kroppenberg Inge Law Religion and Constitution of the Vestal Virgins Law and Literature 22 3 2010 pp 418 439 2 Peck Harry Thurston Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities 1898 Parker Holt N Why Were the Vestals Virgins Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State American Journal of Philology Vol 125 No 4 2004 pp 563 601 Samuel Ball Platner and Thomas Ashby A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome Saquete Jose Carlos Las virgenes vestales Un sacerdocio femenino en la religion publica romana Madrid Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas 2000 Sawyer Deborah F Magna Mater and the Vestal Virgins In Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries 119 129 London Routledge Press 1996 Wildfang Robin Lorsch Rome s Vestal Virgins Oxford Routledge 2006 hardcover ISBN 0 415 39795 2 paperback ISBN 0 415 39796 0 External links Edit Ancient Rome portal Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vestals Rodolfo Lanciani 1898 The Fall of a Vestal Chapter 6 in Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries Houghton Mifflin and Company Boston and New York 1898 article Vestales in Smith s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities House of the Vestal Virgins Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Vestal Virgin amp oldid 1043382139, wikipedia, wiki, book,

books

, library,

article

, read, download, free, free download, mp3, video, mp4, 3gp, jpg, jpeg, gif, png, picture, music, song, movie, book, game, games.