|12-30-2007, 12:40 AM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Device: Sony Reader PRS-505
White, Edward Lucas: The Unwilling Vestal (Illustrated), vers.01 Dec. 29 '07
I read this book as a kid, and always wanted to read it again. I finally found it.
It will tell you everything you want to know about Vestal Virgins, and it's a ripping good story, too.
Here's a bit about the Vestal Virgins from Wikipedia:
In Ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins (sacerdos Vestalis), were the virgin holy female priests of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. Their primary task was to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta. The Vestal duty brought great honor and afforded greater privileges to women who served in that role. They were the only female priests within the Roman religious system.
The Vestal Virgins were committed to the priesthood at a young age (before puberty) and were sworn to celibacy for a period of 30 years (not 30 years of age). These 30 years were, in turn, divided into three periods of a decade each: ten as students, ten in service, and ten as teachers. Afterwards, they could marry if they chose to do so. However, few took the opportunity to leave their respected role in very luxurious surroundings. This would have required them to submit to the authority of a man, with all the restrictions placed on women by Roman law. On the other hand, a marriage to a former Vestal Virgin was highly honoured.
The high priest (Pontifex Maximus) chose by lot from a group of young girl candidates between their sixth and tenth year. To obtain entry into the order they were required to be free of physical and mental defects, have two living parents and to be a daughter of a free born resident in Italy. They left the house of their father, were inducted by the Pontifex Maximus, and their hair was shorn. The high priest pointed to his choice with the words, “I take you, Amata, to be a Vestal priestess, who will carry out sacred rites which it is the law for a Vestal priestess to perform on behalf of the Roman people, on the same terms as her who was a Vestal on the best terms”. Now they were under the protection of the goddess. Later, as it became more difficult to recruit Vestals, plebeian girls were admitted, then daughters of freed men.
Lots more here:
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