Vesta was a goddess of the ancient Italian, in particular the Roman religion. She was the chaste guardian of the sacred fire, as the goddess of hearth and home in her role comparable to the goddess Hestia in Greek religion. In addition to the worship on the hearth of every house they had a special state cult.
Origin of the cult of Vesta
Marcus Terentius Varro called Vesta among the deities of Sabine origin. The Vesta cult was introduced in Rome according to legend, Numa Pompilius by the King of Lavinium ( where Aeneas supposed to have brought the sacred hearth fire and the Penates of Troy ). The Roman consuls and dictators sacrificed at the commencement and laying down their office in the temple of Vesta Lavinium. Newly founded colonies inflamed the fire of their Vesta the hearth of the mother city.
You do not know if the cult of Vesta is derived from the cult of the Greek Hestia, or whether both are due to a common prehistoric origin.
As is common in the Roman religion, there is little mythological narratives about the goddess. Apollo and Neptune held her hand, but she refused both times and kept her virginity, whose symbol is the eternally burning light in her temple. According to Ovid the god Priapus Vesta wanted to do violence in their sleep, but was prevented by the cries of a donkey of Silenus it. This killed the donkey in anger, which was then set as a constellation in the sky. A similar story is told by Ovid and the nymph Lotis.
In the founding legend of Rome Rhea Silvia was a priestess of Vesta, the twins Romulus and Remus received from Mars, said to have later founded Rome.
Cult of Vesta in Rome
The Temple of Vesta in Rome stood in the Roman Forum. Their six pledged to virginity priestesses, the Vestal Virgins lived in located near House of the Vestals. Augustus set up an additional one altar of Vesta cult in his house on the Palatine.
As goddess of the sacred fire of the houses and the whole city Vesta was the goddess of each sacrificial fire, so they like Janus was worshiped at every service with, and how those first, so it was last called. A special festival, the Vestalia, was celebrated for the goddess on June 9, and the following days, until June 15; the matrons of the city pilgrimages then barefoot to her temple to implore the blessing of the goddess for the home, and brought her dar. a reminder of the time when the stove also commonly used for baking the bread in simple bowls of food offerings, held Müller bakers and holiday, the mills were crowned and draped the miller donkeys wreaths and breads. On the first day of Vesta Lien the sanctum of the temple ( penus Vestae ) was opened for the only time in the year. After the feast of the temple of Vesta was purified to be then closed for a year.
The cult of Vesta was up in late antiquity; until 382 AD Emperor Gratian lifted him on ( other sources give the year 394). Were there in the temples no image of the goddess, so there was no lack but in later Rome it; as the Greek Hestia she was soon standing, sometimes depicted sitting, all dressed and veiled, with the attributes of the patera, the torch, the scepter and the Palla Dion.