1 VESTA: THE ROMAN GODDESS OF HEARTH, HOME AND DOMESTIC LIFE Alexa Geuss Roman Republic, Dr. Snyder University of Maryland University College November 15, 2015
2 Religion in the Roman Republic included practices and beliefs that Romans considered their own, along with the many cults that were imported and practiced by those under the Roman rule. Romans absorbed the deities and cults of those people in the path of their dominance of the Mediterranean to ensure social stability. The Romans were highly religious, and they credited their success as world power to their Gods and Goddesses. Religion was part of everyday life for the ordinary Romans. Every house had shrines where prayers to the family’s deities could be offered. 1 One of the Goddesses that had high regard in every household, city and town in Rome was Vesta, the Goddess of hearth, home, and domestic life. Vesta Origins In Roman mythology, she was known as the first born Goddess from the titans, Kronos and Rhea. She, like her brothers and sisters, were swallowed by her father, but her brother Jupiter managed to escape and freed his siblings. Vesta asked her brother if he would let her stay a virgin forever, and when he allowed this, she took care of his home. This is where she became the goddess of the hearth, home, and domestic life. 2 The hearth in the Roman household was the center of activity and the fire that burned here was important. Sacrifices were made here and thrown into the flames. When family members left home on trips they would carry something from the hearth fire along to keep home close. 3 Rituals in the domestic homes were held for Vesta. For example newborns would be 1 “Religion in Ancient Rome.” Crystalinks . Accessed November 11, 2015 2 Joshua J. Mark. “Vesta,” Ancient History Encyclopedia , (September 2, 2009). Accessed November 10, 2015. 3 Mark, 2009
3 paraded around the hearth to mark their arrival into the world. Every meal began and ended with an offering, usually the first and last sip of wine. 4 Every Roman town and city also had public hearths dedicated to Vesta. These hearth’s symbolized the spiritual heart of the towns or cities.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 8 pages?
- Fall '15
- Ancient Rome, Romulus and Remus, Vestal Virgins, vesta