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House of the Vestals

The House of the Vestals was a special home where the vestal virgins, who were priestesses of the goddess Vesta, lived in ancient Rome. The Vestals were chosen from elite families at a young age, around six years old, and were required to remain virgins for 30 years while serving Vesta.

The House of the Vestals was located near the Temple of Vesta, where the vestals performed daily rituals to keep the eternal flame burning. The house was built around a central courtyard and contained private living quarters for each of the six vestals, as well as communal areas where they would eat and study.

The vestals were respected and revered by the Roman people, and their duties included keeping the sacred fire of Vesta burning, performing purification rituals, and ensuring that the annual Vestalia festival ran smoothly.

If a vestal broke her vow of chastity, it was considered a terrible omen for Rome, and she would be punished severely. For example, the offending virgins would be buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus, a place of execution reserved for those who had committed crimes against the state.

Overall, the House of the Vestals was an important institution in ancient Rome, and the vestal virgins were some of the most powerful and respected women in Roman society.