House of the Vestal Virgins
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Statues at the House of the Vestals
Vestal Virgins is located in Rome
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Vestal Virgins
Vestal Virgins
Shown within Augustan Rome
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Coordinates41°53′29.69″N 12°29′11.80″E / 41.8915806°N 12.4866111°E / 41.8915806; 12.4866111Coordinates: 41°53′29.69″N 12°29′11.80″E / 41.8915806°N 12.4866111°E / 41.8915806; 12.4866111

The House of the Vestal Virgins (Latin: Atrium Vestae; Italian: Casa delle Vestali) was the residence of Vestal Virgins,[1] located behind the circular Temple of Vesta at the eastern edge of the Roman Forum, between the Regia and the Palatine Hill. The domus publica, where the Pontifex Maximus dwelled, was located near the Atrium until that role was assumed by the emperors.[2]

Structure

A reconstruction of the House of the Vestals by Christian Huelsen (1905)
A reconstruction of the House of the Vestals by Christian Huelsen (1905)
Roman sculpture, House of the Vestals, Forum Romanum
Roman sculpture, House of the Vestals, Forum Romanum

The Atrium Vestae was a three-story 50-room palace in the ancient Roman Forum built around an elegant elongated atrium or court with a double pool. To the very east is an open vaulted hall with a statue of Numa Pompilius, the mythological founder of the cult.[3]

The complex lay at the foot of the Palatine Hill, where a sacred grove that was slowly encroached upon lingered into Imperial times, when all was swept away by the Fire of Rome in 64. The House of the Vestals was rebuilt several times in the course of the Empire. After the dissolution of the College of the Vestals in the late 4th century AD, the House of the Vestals continued to serve as a residence building. It now housed officials of the imperial court, and subsequently the papal court. Archaeological finds from this period include a hoard of 397 gold coins from the 5th century and another 830 Anglo-Saxon coins dating from the 9th and 10th centuries. The site was abandoned in the 11th/12th century.[3]

Today, remains of the statues of the Vestals can be seen in the Atrium Vestae.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Who were the Vestal Virgins? Lutwyche, J BBC
  2. ^ SCOTT, RUSSELL T., Paul Henderson, Charlotte Steffensen, Christina Trier, Lorenzo Costantini, John Giorgi, and A. J. Ammerman. “Excavations in the Area Sacra of Vesta (1987–1996).” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. Supplementary Volumes 8 (2009): i–167. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25759485.
  3. ^ a b c Honors 2013.

References

Media related to House of the Vestals at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Temple of Vesta
Landmarks of Rome
House of the Vestals
Succeeded by
Largo di Torre Argentina