Why you should visit the House of the Vestals

Once the home residence of the Vestal Virgins back in Ancient Roman times, famously known as the priestesses of the cult of Vesta.

The House of Vestals may be a perished complex of ruins these days, but it was once one of the most spellbinding buildings in all of Rome.

The Beginning of the House of the Vestals

The Vestal Virgins first appeared in 700 B.C., when the King of Rome was told that his kingdom would be protected by the Goddess Vesta, the virgin goddess of hearth, home, and family. However, this protection was only to be complete if the magical fire the Goddess Vesta gave to Rome, was to be kept lit, never to go out. The task of keeping this fire alight, and to honouring the Goddess was given to a college of virgin women, known as the Vestal Virgins. A house and temple were built in their honour in the Roman Forum for them to live within.

About the Vestal Virgins

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. 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 women had to commit 30 years of their life for this duty, with families believing having a daughter accepted as a Vestal Virgin was one of the greatest honours. The first ten years were to learn the ways of the college, the next ten years were to perform the rituals of the house, and the last ten were to teach the new generation of the ways of the cult. Despite their restrictions in love, work, and any other interests they might have, they were seen as the most powerful women in Rome. Due to the Vestal Virgins being able to vote, own property, and being free of their father’s control. However, the cult was strict with rule-following, with sometimes disastrous repercussions. Including breaking their vows of celibacy lead to being buried alive in the underground chambers.

How you can see the House of Vestal Today

The House of the Vestal Virgins is nestled in the eat of the Roman Forum, right behind the ruins of the Temple of Vesta. Wander through the remains and listen to your guide detail the lives of these incredible women. Detailing the crumbling walls, half remaining statues, and barely-there mosaic floors, and what the once were back in the prime time. Sadly, the majority of the site has been lost over the years, but even a certain wall or collum provides us with an enchanting look into the past!

Related article: Who was the Temple of Vesta Built for?

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