Rome's Vestal Virgins  book cover
1st Edition

Rome's Vestal Virgins

ISBN 9780415397964
Published October 31, 2006 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Comprehensive and thoroughly up-to-date, this volume offers a brand new analysis of the Vestal Virgins’ ritual function in Roman religion.

Undertaking a detailed and careful analysis of ancient literary sources, Wildfang argues that the Vestals’ virginity must be understood on a variety of different levels and provides a solution to the problem of the Vestals’ peculiar legal status in ancient Rome.

Addressing the one official state priesthood open to women at Rome, this volume explores and analyzes a range of topics including:

  • the rituals enacted by priestesses (both the public rituals performed in connection with official state rites and festivals and the private rites associated only with the order itself)
  • the division and interface between religion, state and family structure
  • the Vestals’ participation in rights that were outside the sphere of traditional female activity.

New and insightful, this investigation of one of the most important state cults in ancient Rome is an essential addition to the bookshelves of all those interested in Roman religion, history and culture.

Table of Contents

1. Within the Aedes Vestae  2. The Vestals in Public  3. Vestal Initiation – The Rite of Captio  4. The Vestals’ Virginity  5. The Vestals’ Legal and Financial Position  6. The Vestals in the Romans’ History  7. The Vestals in Roman History.  Conclusion.  Appendix A: Latin and Greek Texts.  Appendix B: List of Known Vestals.

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Robin Lorsch Wildfang is Project coordinator for Studenterkurset i Sønderjylland.