Episode 3 – The Vestal Virgins Continued

For those of you who have been unable to sleep because we left you on such a cliffhanger, never fear! The next installment is here… and we’re rhyming. In this episode we consider the trials and tribulations of the Vestal Virgins and their (possible) sexual escapades.

The Vestal Virgins are a group of six priestesses selected prior to puberty to serve the goddess of the hearth, Vesta. The centrality of the hearth fire to Roman homes was only superseded by the symbolic importance of the hearth that represented the City. The restrictive onus upon these priestesses to maintain their virginal status throughout their career in service to Vesta posed particular challenges.

You can check out all details of this episode below:

Podcast 3 – The Partial Historians – The Vestal Virgins II

Vestal Virgins Virgin
House of the Vestal Virgins (Atrium Vestae), Upper Via Sacra, Rome. You can see the distinctive sex crines elements of the headdress, which serves (at least in part!) to distinguish these priestesses from other women. Image courtesy of Carole Raddato / Wikimedia Commons

Interested in how to introduce these priestesses to students? Dr G has produced an introduction to this priesthood in collaboration with TED-Ed.

Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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