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Interesting facts about ancient Roman priestesses-virgins. Photo

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото They were the most influential women of Rome.

Before the birth of Jesus was another 700 years. At this time, Ancient Rome was ruled by king NUMA Pompilius. The priests told him that the goddess Vesta could protect his country from enemies. For this you need to light a magical fire in her honor and to never let this fire go out. To follow this divine fire were priestesses of the virgin, known in history as a vestal.

10. A vestal must remain chaste, but still…

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

When it comes to the vestal virgins, many people think that virginity was a lot of these priestesses. Vestal, who were chosen to play this role even in childhood, really had to refrain from sex as long as they were related to the sacred fire. The Holy rites of Vesta could only be met by an innocent girl with a pure heart. It was believed that if one of the vestal violate his vow of virginity, the fire will flop on the streets of Rome and burn the city to ashes. But the vows were not applied for life: each vestal served for only 30 years. After that they were released from their vows and the women could live a normal life.

9. Vestal was the most influential women in Rome

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

It turns out that feminism was not a very popular 2,500 years ago. At that time, women in Rome had more rights than women in other ancient cultures, but they did not have the right to vote. Also they actually controlled the first fathers and then husbands. Because of this the ordinary Roman women rarely owned land or had some influence in society. However, a vestal was not an ordinary women. Their rituals were considered as the major thing that prevents Rome from destruction.

Being the most important women in the state, vestal had privileges that ordinary women could only dream of. They were freed from the influence of their fathers and could vote and own property. Also they were considered “reliable enough” to work with important documents, and stadiums for them was reserved the front row seats.

8. Six vestal virgins and no more!

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

Given the prestige of this post and a lot of benefits, which were used by vestal, one would have thought that women lined up to become a priestess. In fact, the institution of the vestal virgins was exclusive, and become the Holy virgin was much more difficult than it seemed. Noble families offered their young daughters to the priestly service, but in subsequent years began to recruit girls from the lower classes, because there is a problem with the virginity of girls. Trained future vestal for 10 years, after which the girls were admitted to the rites of Vesta for another 10 years and then started to teach a new batch of girls.

7. Vestal – the most enviable daughter-in-law

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

Today, when people think about to get married in the first place he drew attention to the attractiveness of the girls. In the days of ancient Rome, the biggest luck was to marry a former vestal. Despite the fact that they had very little, the former vestal was respected everywhere, had extended rights and received generous pensions, making them a potential target for any men.

6. Of heliogabal who violate the ban

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

Of heliogabal was the 25th Emperor of Rome. He was also a teenager, who was famous for his orgies across the capital, married five women and two men and forced the Senate to watch their dances, dedicated to the Syrian Sun-God.

Although the heliogabal preferred the company of his personal charioteer, he made the vestal Aquilia North to marry him. He believed that this will achieve greater respect for Rome, and he will Aquilia divine infants, as in the vestal virgins was clearly something magical. But for the inhabitants of Rome it was unacceptable and soon slaughtered Heliogabalus and threw the corpse into the river Tiber.

5. The duties of the vestal virgins

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

The main emphasis was placed on chastity and the virtue of the vestal virgins. But even if the Romans thought otherwise, priestesses were the only people with the right to make a mistake. Of course, it was that they evaded their responsibilities. Punishment for erring vestals were very harsh. If the sacred fire fell on the street, the priestess whose fault it happened, beaten with sticks and kicked out of town. Even worse was the punishment for violating the vow of celibacy: it meant a definite death sentence. And, considering that the sacred blood of vestal virgins could not shed, they were buried alive.

4. Privileges and punishment

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

To be a vestal is not only a privilege. At any time could beat for the improper performance of duties, they are often malnourished and slept on straw. But all vestal very responsible attitude to their duties. For more than a thousand years of magical fire never extinguished, even when the temple of Vesta was fire.

3. The most powerful priestesses

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

As they defended the city with the flame of Vesta, and their chastity was guarded by more than 100 priests, that these girls were the most powerful priestesses of all of Rome. They even had power to pardon condemned dictator Julius Caesar, who was known for Stripping their political opponents. Although the priests of other gods was also in honor of the vestal virgins worshipped, so that even accidental injury of one of them was punishable by death. In addition, they were so “Holy and infallible” that could intervene in court cases on their own. If a virgin touched a slave, then immediately released. If the perp saw a vestal on the way to execution, he was granted a pardon.

2. The loss of fire

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

For centuries vestal kept the magic of the sacred fire in Rome. Roman pagans claimed that the fire, combined with the faith of the Romans in its Pantheon, the city provided the protection of the goddess. Unfortunately for the pagans and fire-worshippers of Rome began to gain the popularity of Christianity. In 394, Emperor Theodosius closed the institution of the vestal virgins and extinguished the magical fire. According to legend, his niece then came to the temple of Vesta and stole the necklace from the statue of the goddess, believing that nothing bad will happen. Sixteen years later, Rome was destroyed by the rampaging barbarians.

1. The institution of the vestal virgins and Christianity

Любопытные факты о древнеримских жрицах-девственницах. Фото

Shortly after the sack of Rome, citizens of the Empire were quick to accuse the Christians. Given that the city flourished for a Millennium, but was destroyed after these “religious upstarts” trampled the old gods, it is not surprising that all considered fault of Christians. However, instead of returning to paganism, this eventually led to a theological revolution.

St. Augustine, one of the most famous figures in early Christianity, a few years later he published his most famous work “City of God” in which he argued that the Christian God was defended by Rome in the past, but then threw the Empire adrift “bad behavior”. Vesta and other pagan gods were not able to protect Rome from past misfortunes, because they were “false gods.” This eventually grew into the beliefs of modern Christians and helped approve of Augustine as the most eminent theologian of his time.

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