Location on Forum Plan

Via Sacra
Lapis Niger
Curia (Senate House)
Basilica Aemilia
Templum Antonini et Faustinae
Basilica Constantini
Templum Veneris et Romae
Arcus Titi
Atrium Vestae
Templum Vestae
Templum Juli
Templum Castoris
Basilica Julia
Templum Saturni
Templum Divi Vespasiani
Templum Concordiae
Lacus Curtius
Miliarium Aureum
Arcus Septimii Serveri
Carcer (Prison)

House of the Vestals

The Vestal Virgins lived in the Atrium Vestae, a home built for them close to the temple of Vesta. Only daughters of Roman patricians were selected to be Vestals. These children, between the ages of six and ten, took the oath of virginity for thirty years. The first ten years they spent learning their duties; the second ten, in performing them; the final ten, in teaching others. The first duty of these Vestals was to protect the fire in the Temple of Vesta, the oldest and most sacred shrine in the forum. If the fire went out, it was a sign that a Virgin had broken her vow.

The Vestal Virgins had special privileges as well: they were free and independent; they could make a will; the fasces were carried before them whenever they went out; they had the great privilege of being buried inside the walls of the city if they had been blameless in life and death. After thirty years of service, the Virgins could leave their office and live their own lives.


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please contact any of the project developers with suggestions or comments:
Leslie Flood,Germantown High School, Memphis, Tennessee
Cindy Pope, StarNet Television Network,San Antonio, Texas
Joan Jahnige, Kentucky Educational Television , Lexington, Kentucky
Randy Thompson, Winston Churchill High School, San Antonio, Texas