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The Italian, particularly the Latin, goddess of the hearth and of its fire, corresponding in her name, as well as in her nature, to the Greek HESTIA(q.v.) Like Vesta, besides her special cult on the hearth of every home, she was also worshipped by the State. This worship was introduced by Numa from Lavinium, whither Aeneas had brought the Penates and the sacred fire from Troy. Hence it was that Roman consuls and dictators, on taking up and laying down their office sacrificed in the temple of Vesta at Lavinium. It was customary in Italy as in Greece for the colonies to kindle the fire of their own Vesta at the hearth of the mother city. The ancient round temple of Vesta, which served as the central point of the city, was built by Numa. In its neighbourhood was the so called atrium of Vesta, the abode of the virgin priestesses of the goddess, the Vestals (excavated in 1883-4; Middleton's Remains of Ancient Rome, i 307-329]. Here the goddess was worshipped not in the form of a statue, but under the symbol of the eternal fire, which it was the chief duty of the Vestals to keep alight. On every 1st March it was renewed. If it went out of itself, a great national disaster was held to have occurred, and the guilty Vestal was scourged by the pontifex. The fire could only be rekindled by a burning glass, or by the primitive method of friction by boring a piece of wood from a fruit tree. Corresponding to the lares and penates of the domestic hearth, there were, according to later usage, the penates of the State in the temple of Vesta; and similarly, on the temple-hearth, a sacrifice was offered daily, consisting of the plainest form of food in a simple vessel of clay. The daily purifications could only be made with flowing water, which the Vestals carried in pitchers upon their heads from the fountain of Egeria, or of the Muses. By day every one had the right of admission to all the temple, save only that part in which the palladium and other mystic relics were kept, where the Vestals alone had the right to enter. It was only by night that men were excluded. As goddess of the sacred fire of the hearth in every house, and for the city in general, Vesta was also the goddess of every sacrificial fire. Hence she was worshipped with Janus at every religion service, Janus being invoked at the opening, Vesta at the close. Her own festival, the Vestalia, was kept on July 9th. The matrons of the town walked barefooted in procession to her temple, to implore tba blessing of the goddess for their households, and to offer sacrifice to her in rude dishes, in remembrance of the time when the hearth served generally for the baking of bread. The millers and bakers also kept holiday. The mills were crowned, and the asses employed in them had garlands and loaves suspended about their necks. The worship of Vesta survived to the last days of paganism, and was abolished by Gratian in 382 A.D. Although there was no image of the goddess in the actual temples, her statues were not uncommon at Rome in later times. Like the Greek Hestia, she was represented sometimes as standing, sometimes as sitting, completely clothed and veiled, with chalice torch, sceptre, and palladium. For cut, see HESTIA.