Vesta (mythology)

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Vesta (Classical Latin: [ˈu̯ɛs̠t̪ä]) is the virgin Goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. She was often represented by the fire of her temple in the Forum Romanum. Entry to her temple was permitted only to her priestesses, the Vestal Virgins. Vesta was considered a guardian of the Roman people, her festival, the Vestalia (7–15 June), was regarded as one of the most important Roman holidays. Following the rise of Christianity, hers was one of the last non-Christian cults still active, until it was forcibly disbanded by the Christian emperor Theodosius I in AD 391. Vesta was among the Dii Consentes, twelve of the most honored gods in the Roman pantheon.

Needing originally no man-made effigy, above all was Vesta the spirit of the mysterious wisdom of the woman, purifying the temple of life and eternally conserving its spiritual fire.


  • In the days leading up to the summer solstice, ancient Romans celebrated Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, home and family... Vesta’s popular appeal remained active even after the advent of Christianity, until it was forcibly stamped out by the devout Christian emperor Theodosius I in 391 C.E. He ordered the cessation of pagan festivals like the solstice celebration and the closing of pagan temples; by the following century, most pagan temples were destroyed or converted to Christian churches.
    • When I Celebrated the Summer Solstice With Ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses, Amy Bizzarri, Smithsonian Magazine (htm) (5 August 2022)

Janus And Vesta (A Study of the World Crisis and After), by Benchara Branford (1916)[edit]

(William Clowes & Sons, London, Digital Library of India Item 2015.98829

  • Janus and Vesta were those characteristically Roman twin-spirits, unique in Aryan religions, each most ancient and most holy, that inspired Roman culture and civilisation at its loftiest peaks throughout its vast duration, and most in evidence during its grandest period, the six generations terminating with the death of Scipio Africanus, the Elder, perhaps the greatest of Romans, a period wherein was organised a marvellously balanced aristo-democracy and demo-aristocracy whose mode of evolution and essence are illuminative for all times. xi
  • Under the presiding united spirit of Janus and Vesta, the famous City-State was administered by its citizens in the light of a simple human family and household writ large, with its hierarchy of united rule and service. The dominant world-patriarchy was in Rome still powerfully influenced by a strong traditional residue of the long preceding world-matriarchy, the spirit of which was enshrined in the name itself’ Roma Dea the divine Motherland; and of all the temples in Rome, that of Vesta was the most ancient. xi
  • Thereby evolved the moral dignity and economic management of the Roman Citizen - Mother, woman and wife at her highest; reverence for the mighty spirits of earth and heaven (the numina) at its deepest; a fruitful union of rural culture and urban civilisation; and perhaps, most significant and important of all, a progressive balance and balanced progress of power, as of a man walking steadily, both in the sphere sacred and in the sphere secular, including representative guilds both of employers and employed before the darker days of slavery, with a further balanced progress and progressive balance as between those secular and sacred powers themselves... xi
  • Needing originally no man-made effigy, above all was Vesta the spirit of the mysterious wisdom of the woman, purifying the temple of life and eternally conserving its spiritual fire. In the statues of later times she is shown with her chalice of water from the well of truth, her torch of learning, her scepter of power, and her palladium, mysterious yet simple of the conciliatory spirit of that fearless peace famous as “the peace of the gods.” xiii
  • Worshipped from the earliest times down to about four hundred years after Christ, on the final triumph of Roman Christianity the spirit of her worship transforms itself into the homage of the Madonna, Virgin Mother of Christ. xiii
  • Expressly do we speak of the school as an idealised epitome or model of the world, not merely the world of ordinary affairs but the whole Vesta as of humanity, body and soul, past, present and future. For in its preparation for the present the school must nobly recapitulate learning, the past and as nobly rehearse for the future. p. 145
  • Fatal to all fine spiritual development would be a successful attempt to transform the school, whatever be its type, general or technical, into a mere epitome or model of the present world without, however apparently efficient as judged by worldly and therefore temporal standards.
  • A good school works for eternity; herein its majestic spirit must needs be different from the soul of business, justifiably seeking its temporal profits.
  • To the express end of the maintenance of this distinction has humanity slowly and painfully evolved the spiritual organ known as the school, itself (including the universities) but the deliberate extension and prolongation of that sacred private school where the child learns of goodness, truth and beauty at the loving mother’s side, the reincarnation of the ancient Vesta.
  • As Man learns to understand and co-operate nobly with the great and inexhaustible powers of the world of Nature without, and simultaneously comes to know and co-operate nobly with the equally great and inexhaustible powers for eternity, of that Microcosm of great Nature in his own body and soul, so may we have assurance and faith that men will grow to understand and love each other in all climes and classes, in all races and castes... Thus, too, may we hope for a steady uplift of the standards of life and living — whose gross inequalities are a baneful source of evils — throughout the earth, rising with equal scale in both aspects, spiritual and temporal, of that marvelous life-cycle of every man... The twin-spirits of Janus and Vesta promise to revisit the world, and again for a while to preside in amity over its destinies. p. 305

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