Who was the Chief Vestal Virgin Cornelia? She lived in Rome circa AD 90. Any information that can be found or good books about her or at least the Vestal Virgins of that time is most appreciative. 0 comments. share. save. hide. report. 72% Upvoted. This thread is archived. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast.
The Story of Claudia the Vestal Virgin  The story of Claudia the Vestal Virgin gives a brief insight of the values of Roman society. claudia quinta was a matron in Rome who serves as an important female figure in Roman mythology.
The Vestal Virgin Tuccia was accused of having breached her vow of chastity, but she proved her innocence by carrying water in a sieve. This apparent miracle saved her …
The Vestal virgin named Aemilia was put to death in 114 BCE for breaking her celibacy vows. What made this such an extreme and documented case was due to Aemilia performing incest on several occasions. She also convinced two other vestal members in performing the same act, which caused all three women to be punished and sentenced to death. LiciniaEstimated Reading Time: 5 mins
It was very rare to uncover a confirmed case, but when it happened, it drew the ire of everyone. The crime was so abhorrent to Romans that Vestal Virgins who were found to have violated the terms of their celibacy were subject to a horrifying fate. Vestals found guilty of this crime were buried alive, according to Rome's Vestal Virgins. Most scholars agree that this specific punishment was used because no …
In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The college of the Vestals was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. These individuals cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a 30-year vow of chastity in order to devote …
The Last Vestal? Posted on May 5, 2019 Updated on January 24, 2021. Chief Vestal. The Vestal Virgins are one of the most evocative establishments of Ancient Rome. They might not know exactly what they were or what they did, but the name of Vestal Virgin can spark something in many people.Estimated Reading Time: 10 mins
That emperor had determined that Cornelia, chief of the Vestal Virgins, should be buried alive, from an extravagant notion that exemplary severities of this kind conferred lustre upon his reign.
Coelia gens. Denarius issued by Gaius Coelius Caldus in 104 BC. The obverse depicts a head of Roma, the reverse Victoria driving a biga. The gens Coelia, occasionally written Coilia, was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. The Coelii are frequently confounded with the Caelii, with some individuals called Caelius in manuscripts, while they appear ...
Cornelia, the Vestal Virgin, entombed alive surrounded by bones in the dungeon. Line engraving by G. Mochetti after B. Pinelli.
Any sexual relationship with a citizen was therefore considered to be incestum and an act of treason. Per Noehdon, the oldest case on record was of one Pinaria, executed for impurity under Tarquin the Elder. Vestal Virgins, who were plucked from upper-class families at a young age, were expected to spend three decades of their lives serving the virgin goddess of the hearth and home, Vesta. Other stories of women in ancient history, such as that of Saint Perpetua in The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, give rise to different issues, such as loyalty and commitment, gender and family, and faith and religion. That's enough room for not only six priestesses, but a small army of servants to support their sacred duties. According to Livy, writing in the Augustan age , Numa introduced the Vestals and assigned them salaries from the public treasury. Nevertheless, we can draw some conclusions. In Two Volumes. Who are the Vestal Virgins? Access Open. The important elements of the Vestal costume include the stola and the vittae. Some Observations on the Worship of Vesta. View 1 image. Rumours abound that there was a catastrophic legacy stemming from the end of the Vestal Virgins and the extinguishing of the Sacred Flame — Rome and her empire no longer received divine protection. Vestals guilty of this offence were punished by a scourging or beating, which was carried out "in the dark and through a curtain to preserve their modesty". Domitian generally raged most furiously where his evidence failed him most hopelessly. Not so their seducers: getting busy with a Vestal Virgin would cost a man as many strokes of a scourge as required to kill him. Getting here. In , the Christian emperor Gratian confiscated the public revenues assigned to the cult of Vesta in Rome, and the Vestals vanished from historical record soon after. One class of women didn't have to consider that for much of their lives, ThoughtCo reports. Dionysius of Halicarnassus attributes a plague to the incontinence of the Vestal Urbenia, and its abatement to her punishment. Serena mocked the woman and left. Theodosius also ended the Olympic Games ; his son Honorius got rid of gladiatorial combat. The connection between Vestals and Roman brides suggests [ according to whom? Most scholars agree that this specific punishment was used because no Roman wanted to be directly responsible for a Vestal's death, though there may be a connection between burying a Vestal alive and the goddess Vesta's connection to the earth. As the imperial niece left the temple, this last Vestal proclaimed that Serena, her husband and her son would suffer for her impiety. There were placed in it a couch or bed, a burning lamp, and a few necessaries of life, such as bread, water, milk, and oil. Plutarch writes that Vestals who did find a husband were "accompanied ever after with regret and melancholy," perhaps because life as a matron, no matter how high-class, was dramatically different from their religious lives. A few years later, Rome was sacked for the first time in years. The chief priest, or pontifex maximus, looked for a new Vestal from amongst the most respectable families. The dignities accorded to the Vestals were significant. The vestals also wore a stola , which is associated with Roman matrons, not with Roman brides. To obtain entry into the order, a girl had to be free of physical and mental defects, have two living parents and be a daughter of a free-born resident of Rome. The simple ceremonies were officiated by the Vestals and they gathered grain and fashioned salty cakes for the festival. Email Required Name Required Website. Sometimes, if a Vestal Virgin was very lucky, she could fix things before anyone found out and tried to beat her, The American Journal of Philology says. Your email address will not be published. Lefkowitz, M. Pliny the Elder , for example, in Book 28 of his Natural History discussing the efficacy of magic, chooses not to refute, but rather tacitly accept as truth: . Perpetua, we must remember, may have recorded her own experiences to serve as spiritual instruction for later readers. June 9th, Headsman. By reading her diary, it is clear that her actions were driven by her faith and religious beliefs. This cult was so exclusive, there were only three virgins in each step, with a total of six members at all times. Ashley supports her analysis with perhaps the most important of these clues, when Perpetua tells her father "So can I call myself nought other than that which I am, a Christian. XXXI : —, In addition, the Vestals also guarded some sacred objects, including the Palladium , and made a special kind of flour called mola salsa which was sprinkled on all public offerings to a god. Oxford Worsfold, T. The Letters of Ambrose. And it is a woman who held this title in the fourth century AD who is the main subject of this piece: Coelia Concordia.
Posted on May 5, Updated on January 24, The Vestal Virgins are one of the most evocative establishments of Ancient Rome. They might not know exactly what they were or what they did, but the name of Vestal Virgin can spark something in many people. The founding of this ancient order of virgin priestesses has been attributed to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius c. However, this idea that Numa Pompilius created the Vestal priestesshood contravenes some other mythical traditions. Dionysius I. Perhaps Numa Pompilius transferred the pre-existent Vestals to Rome from Alba Longa or opened his own chapter of the priestesshood in Rome. Or that the story of Rhea Silvia was embellished in its re- telling to link her more clearly to well-known Roman institutions. Whomever founded the Vestals in or transferred them to Rome, they came to reside in the Atrium Vestiae — the House of the Vestals, a three-storey building at the foot of the Palatine Hill, behind the Temple of Vesta. Despite having such a residence and prominence, the Vestals remained an exclusive priestesshood. Numa appointed two priestesses at the outset, before increasing it to four — named as Gegania, Veneneia, Canuleia, and Tarpeia. The daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, a general of Romulus, Tarpeia reputedly betrayed Rome to the Sabines, a betrayal which might provide some of the reasoning for the potentially harsh punishments meted out to Vestals who are thought to have broken their vows or otherwise transgressed this incident also gave the Tarpeian Rock its name — a site of shameful execution in Rome, as Tarpeia was reputedly buried there. The maximum recorded in antiquity was seven, a number alluded to by Ambrose of Milan Ambrose, Ep. Their tasks included the maintenance of the Sacred Flame of Vesta, goddess of the hearth and home, which served as a symbolic and actual source of fire and heat for Roman households. The Vestals were also tasked with collecting water from a sacred spring, preparing food for use in rituals and caring for sacred objects in the Temple of Vesta. They were also charged with the safe-keeping of the wills of many important Romans, most famously of Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius. These important religious, symbolic, social, and legal tasks saw the Vestals held in awe in Roman society. Even the most powerful individuals within the Roman state took note of their opinions, demonstrated by their successful intercession on behalf of Julius Caesar when he was about to become a victim of the proscriptions of dictator Sulla Suetonius, Julius Caesar I. This exalted position inevitably led to significant privileges for the Vestals. Their person was sacrosanct, meaning that anyone who injured them faced the death penalty. When giving evidence in a court, they were excused the customary oath, with their word trusted without question. They were accorded places of honour at public ceremonies, games and performances, while their very touch or presence could grant a condemned prisoner or slave their freedom Dionysius I. However, more well-known than their duties and privileges were the punishments Vestals faced for breaking their vows or neglecting their responsibilities. Allowing the Sacred Flame of Vesta to go out was a serious offence, as it suggested that the divine protection of the city had been withdrawn. Vestals guilty of this dereliction of duty would be whipped or beaten. In Rome, as their chastity, much like the Sacred Flame, was considered to be directly linked to the health of the Roman state and as a daughter of the Roman state, any sexual liaison with a citizen was an incestuous act of treason and injurious to Rome. As it was forbidden for anyone to be buried within the city limits or to spill the blood of a Vestal, the victim was supplied with a few days of food and water Dionysius IX. While this punishment was in famous, it must be remembered that cases of broken celibacy vows and subsequent vivisepulture were rare. Over the course of the 1, years of Vestal history, there are only ten recorded convictions. It must also be noted that the person found to have engaged in sexual congress with a Vestal Virgin would be publically whipped to death. Such was the perceived importance of their chastity and duties to the Roman state, looking after the Vestal Virgins and helping to police their behaviour was an important part of the position of pontifex maximus seemingly also created by Numa , the chief priest of the Roman state, a position which became part of the imperial title under Augustus and then later part of the papal title where it remains to this day. It was not only the pontifex maximus who oversaw the behaviour and works of the Vestals. The aforementioned Chief Vestal also played a significant role in overseeing the five priestesses with whom she shared the Atrium Vestiae. And it is a woman who held this title in the fourth century AD who is the main subject of this piece: Coelia Concordia. The focus of this innovation was her proposal of a statue to Vettius Agorius Praetextatus ca. During his brief tenure as praetorian prefect, Praetextatus influenced Valentinian II to issue a law offering some protection to pagan temples and giving powers of investigation of any attacks on these edifices over to the praefectus urbi of Rome Symmachus, Rel. The college of pontifices approved of the statue, as did Coelia herself, but there was a high-ranking cadre of pagans, including many senators and Symmachus himself, who felt that this gesture went against tradition as it was not usual to bestow such an honour on men cf. Symmachus, Ep. In the end though, Coelia and the pontifices triumphed and the statue was erected. This dispute at the heart of paganism between traditionalists and perceived innovators highlights the pressure that paganism was under. Following the Christianising of the imperial family in the wake of the conversion of Constantine I, Christianity had become increasingly popular at the expense of the old religions. By the last decade of the fourth century, pagan rites, rituals, traditions and edifices were coming under increasing pressure from the legislation of Theodosius I. Theodosius himself had already issued some anti-pagan laws, such as a ban on sacrifice in and making haruspicy a capital crime in , but it was that saw legislation directly affect the adherents of Vesta. With regard to the Temple of Vesta, its virgin priestesses and Coelia Concordia, it was perhaps the second law which was to have a terminal effect. It should be noted that this law, which declared that all pagan temples in the west? The potential closing of temples in Rome surely affected the priestesshood of the Vestal Virgins, as the Temple of Vesta is likely to have been one such closed temple, but it appears that despite this imperial intervention, pagan institutions continued to operate. This may have led to Theodosius, after his victory over the usurper Eugenius, clamping down on paganism even further with laws which saw the withdrawal of all state funds for pagan institutions Zosimus IV. Most importantly, the year is recorded as the date of the imperially ordered extinguishing of the Sacred Flame of Vesta and the disbandment of the Vestal Virgins.
Roman statesman Cassius Dio later wrote that Elagabalus was "most flagrantly violating the law" by marrying Aquilia Severa. Despite masses of people overcoming these persecutions, there is never a good way to understand their suffering in many accounts. Theodosius himself had already issued some anti-pagan laws, such as a ban on sacrifice in and making haruspicy a capital crime in , but it was that saw legislation directly affect the adherents of Vesta. Vestal Virgins, who could be staring their forties in the face by the time they were officially released from their duties, experienced a different fate. Lefkowitz, M. XXXI : —, The money and connections from a good background were invaluable and could sometimes get you an in with the gods themselves. This may have led to Theodosius, after his victory over the usurper Eugenius, clamping down on paganism even further with laws which saw the withdrawal of all state funds for pagan institutions Zosimus IV. Hoping to take her property for a cheap price if he won her heart. It is not known exactly when the Vestals were dissolved, but it must have happened not long after the emperor Gratian confiscated their revenues in The next ten were dedicated to performing rituals, while the final decade of a Vestal's service was supposed to be focused on training the next group of priestesses. Made From History. She organizes her paper clearly and gives a concise analysis of the two women's lives. This puts limitations on the psychological depths that the author could explore. Such was the perceived importance of their chastity and duties to the Roman state, looking after the Vestal Virgins and helping to police their behaviour was an important part of the position of pontifex maximus seemingly also created by Numa , the chief priest of the Roman state, a position which became part of the imperial title under Augustus and then later part of the papal title where it remains to this day. Through thorough examination, it is easy to see that simply by changing the style and technique of an autobiography, it is possible to change the impression left on the reader. A major part of St. This exalted position inevitably led to significant privileges for the Vestals. One class of women didn't have to consider that for much of their lives, ThoughtCo reports. Saba, now in the Lapidary Gallery of the Vatican Museum. I, pp. September They would have been beaten, though their high status meant that only the high priest, who was also called the pontifex maximus, was allowed to strike them. Then, Rhea Silvia gave birth to twin boys. Archived from the original on 18 February Physical description 1 print : line engraving, with etching ; image VIII, pp. Retrieved 7 May — via www. Statue head of a Vestal Virgin Palatine Museum. For Claudia, being known for committing adultery was a shameful position to be in. However, to thank and honour Vesta for protecting the city, a magical fire was lit and given to the King in B. Cadell — via Internet Archive. June 9th, Headsman. The Letters of Ambrose. It is closely associated with status of Roman matron. Their sacred fire was treated, in Imperial times, as the emperor's household fire. From at least the mid-Republican era, the pontifex maximus chose Vestals between their sixth and tenth year, by lot from a group of twenty high-born candidates at a gathering of their families and other Roman citizens. They were unmarried, but also often seen as brides and mothers to all of Rome, tending the sacred hearth fire for their entire civilization. The two remaining women were judged guilty and sentenced to the same fate as Aemilia. Federal U. Fonthill Media — via Google Books. Because she was considered to be of outstanding status and virtue, a Vestal could deliver testimony without giving the customary oath first. What would happen to the already stumbling empire if Vesta's flame no longer burned? An old priestess saw what Serena had done and reprimanded her. The discovery of a "House of the Vestals" in Pompeii made the Vestals a popular subject in the 18th century and the 19th century.
Nestled in the bustling city of Rome sits the ancient world of the Roman Forum. A labyrinth of ruins, the overgrown grassland is scattered with crumbling buildings, half destroyed statues, and the foundations of once massive temples. One of the well-preserved temples is known as the Temple of Vesta, home to the ancient cult of the Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins were the priestesses to the Roman goddess Vesta. Who was the goddess of the hearth, the home, and domestic life? She was one of the main deities to the Romans and was said to protect the city from any harm. However, to thank and honour Vesta for protecting the city, a magical fire was lit and given to the King in B. The fire was to be kept lit until the end of time, or else the region would be vulnerable to fall. Therefore, a group was formed to be responsible for this vital job, forever to be known as the Vestal Virgins. Its entire duration lasted 1, years, only ending due to the Christian snuffing out the flames. They became one of the most exclusive cult groups in all of Rome. Being entirely made up of women, who lived on top of the Palatine Hill in the ancient Temple and House of Vestal. Women were only accepted into the cult if they were completely pure beings, i. They have seen a magical being to Romans, is the most powerful women in the entire Roman empire. Each virgin was chosen from a young age, averaging ages six to ten years old. They were selected from noble born families only, as it was seen as a great honour if a child was chosen. The first ten years were to learn the ways of the college, with the senior virgins passing on the traditional ways and beliefs. Their last ten years were to perform the rituals and to maintain the everlasting fire. The last ten years were to teach the new recruits. This cult was so exclusive, there were only three virgins in each step, with a total of six members at all times. Vestal Virgins were by far the most influential women in Ancient Rome. Back then, women were citizens but had a lot of restrictions and rules that limited them from power. In comparison, the women of Vestal were seen as pure and powerful beings. They were very important to the Romans, with their power protecting everyone in the city from harm. They were considered completely truthful and gentle souls, with even the power to turn a slave to a free man with just a simple touch. If anyone was to harm a member, they were immediately put to death. For this reason, they had certain privilege, being able to vote, own property, and join in on particular public events which were forbidden for regular women. Although compared to regular women, they have extreme power in the city, their liberty was limited in other ways. They vestals were kept under strict rules and traditions, with any rebellion to be meet by severe punishments. If a member allowed the fire to go out, snuck out of the temple after curfew, or broke their celibacy vows, they would have disastrous consequences. With whipping or death sentences being the most documented punishments. As it was a sin to shed vestal blood, they would kill the member by burying her alive in the underground chambers of the House of Vestal. She was the mythical mother of the famous twins Remus and Romulus, who were the creators of Rome. She was the niece to the King Amulius of Alba Longa, who later banished her baby sons into the Tiber River which sparked the beginning of Rome. What made this such an extreme and documented case was due to Aemilia performing incest on several occasions. She also convinced two other vestal members in performing the same act, which caused all three women to be punished and sentenced to death. Licinia went down in history due to her connection to Marcus Licinius Crassus. He was renowned for being a greedy man, and due to the property and power of Licinica, went to woe her. Hoping to take her property for a cheap price if he won her heart. However, Licinia was not yet retired, and still a vestal virgin at the time. Leading to both being put on trial for their rebellion. As promised, all members who followed the strict actions of being a vestal without rebellion were freed after thirty years. Because of this, marrying a former vestal virgin was all the rage for eligible bachelors. Making the remainder of their lives sound pretty worthwhile in ancient Roman times. Related article: How Many Fountains are there in Rome?