You always suspected it was valuable, didn’t you?
Allow Dr G to put her finger on some of the reasons why 🙂
Over the last few months, Dr G has been working with TED-Ed to spread the word about Vestal Virgins. Herein are the fruits of that collaboration!
I’m super excited to have been part of this project and bringing the world of ancient Rome to others is a real treat 🙂
This TED-Ed lesson explores one aspect of the Vestals’ lives: the possibility of live burial. You can check out all the details here:
We’ve revamped our itunes page!
You can listen to all our episodes, subscribe, and leave a review if you’d love to spread the word about Ancient Rome to others 🙂
That’s us below sending you our best wishes for upcoming episodes!
In the spirit of openness and from a desire to share what I have produced in terms of research, my (Dr Greenfield’s) dissertation is attached below.
Handy to have if you want to know more about the Vestal Virgins!
Super handy if your looking for more scholarly work on the late Republic and early principate (c. 150 BCE – 14 CE)!
The cult of Vesta was vital to the city of Rome. The goddess was associated with the City’s very foundation, and Romans believed that the continuity of the state depended on the sexual and moral purity of her priestesses. In this dissertation, Virgin Territory: The Vestals and the Transition from Republic to Principate, I examine the Vestal cult between c. 150 BCE and 14 CE, that is, from the beginning of Roman domination in the Mediterranean to the establishment of authoritarian rule at Rome.
Six aspects of the cult are discussed: the Vestals’ relationship with water in ritual and literature; a re-evaluation of Vestal incestum (unchastity) which seeks a nuanced approach to the evidence and examines the record of incestum cases; the Vestals’ extra-ritual activities; the Vestals’ role as custodians of politically sensitive documents; the Vestals’ legal standing relative to other Roman women, especially in the context of Augustus’ moral reform legislation; and the cult’s changing relationship with the topography of Rome in light of the construction of a new shrine to Vesta on the Palatine after Augustus became pontifex maximus in 12 BCE.
It will be shown that the cult of Vesta did not survive the turmoil of the Late Republic unchanged, nor did it maintain its ancient prerogative in the face of Augustus’ ascendancy. The thesis therefore sheds new light on our understanding of the nature, role and significance of the Vestal cult during the Roman revolution.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been traipsing around Italy and getting re-acquainted with all the haunts that are pertinent to my fields of research. So far, the highlights have been:
Seeing the frieze of the Vestal Virgins in Palermo. I was very fortunate to have an Italian guide who was able to liaise with the staff at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas. I was granted special access to the frieze as the museum is currently under renovation and the level where they keep the frieze is not currently open to the public. This frieze depicts the Vestals approaching a sacrifice, the seating figure is thought to be the chief Vestal Virgin.
Revisiting the Ara Pacis in Rome. This structure is a pivotal symbol of Augustus’ political career, the reconstruction of this altar and the work to preserve the structure make this one of my favourite museums. The Ara Pacis contains a small frieze of the Vestals in procession and the museum also houses a fragment depicting the Vestals attending a banquet, which was found near the Via del Corso. Turns out the major shopping district has even more to offer the historian 😉
Dear Listeners, it’s been an absolute treat to have you with us while we rummage about in the past and explore all manner of Roman history. Wishing you and yours all the very best for the festive season and the upcoming year!
‘What, no gift?’ we hear you ask. Of course we have a present for you! Yes, we’re real and sometimes (when the Fates are good) we can appear on film.
At last dear listeners, those most Partial of Peoples, the Doctors themselves, have joined the Twitter universe. Please follow us, contact us and what not – @p_historians
To our beloved listeners: We have decided to postpone the episode on ancient Roman sex on film (although it will come, oh yes… it will come). Instead, tune in for our next podcast on sex for those who behaved (married ladies) and those who didn’t (prostitutes). Until then!
For those of you who are dying to know more about episode two, we plan to have it ready in a month. Our next topic is going to be right up Dr Greenfield’s alley – the Vestal Virgins. We have picked these women as they didn’t have sex… or did they? Find out next episode!