Temple of Vesta in Rome

Temple of Vesta in Rome
Temple of Vesta in Rome

From ancient Rome we have received numerous constructions of a utilitarian nature for the greater functionality of the city or for the recreation of Roman citizens, for example, aqueducts or public baths, known as baths, where the Romans came to relax. However, Roman society also built religious buildings to honor their gods, one of the most outstanding buildings was the famous temple of Vesta, in the Roman Forum.


For the Romans, the worship of the goddess Vesta was fundamental; Known as the goddess of the Hearth and sister of Jupiter, the Roman people kept a perpetual flame in honor of the goddess. The flame was a symbol of abundance and good fortune and if for any reason it went out, the Romans thought that their city would fall into disgrace. The idea of ​​Vesta's fire became so prominent that the need soon arose to build a temple in honor of the goddess. The eternal flame burned inside the temple and was protected by a series of young people who were recruited when they were only ten years old and who consecrated their lives to the goddess, the vestals.

It seems that the temple destined to honor the goddess was in the Roman Forum, south of the Via Sacra, near the College of the Pontiffs. In reality, few data are known about its construction; the author remains a mystery and about its dating different shuffledhypothesis although experts seem to agree that it must have been before the arrival of the Republic, during the monarchy.

It was a temple built in marble with a circular appearance whose origin we must look for more in the megalithic constructions of the Iron Age than in the round temples of the Greek world known as tholos. The work stands on a large podium that is more than fifteen meters in diameter with recesses and projections that coincide with each of the twenty Corinthian columns that surround the temple.

Inside the temple had a single cella or nave in which, unlike other temples in which the image of the god was kept, soonly the sacred fire was found. As in all temples of Greek and Roman origin, the celebrations took place outside the temple, the interior was only intended for priests or priestesses, so this space was neither too large nor too striking. In the temple of Vesta in Rome there was also a small room as an opistodomos in which objects that Aeneas brought with him from Troy were kept. The temple was covered with a kind of conical roof that had a circular opening in order to allow the smoke of the sacred fire that burned there to escape.

Unfortunately today, only a few remains of the famous temple are preserved and only three columns remain standing, which barely allow us to know the importance it must have had.

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