The goddess Vesta. Goddess Vesta in Ancient Rome
For a long time people considered fire as a sacred element. It is light, warmth, food, that is the basis of life. With veneration of the fire is associated with the ancient goddess Vesta and her cult. In the temple of Vesta in ancient Rome, eternal fire burned as a symbol of family and state. In other Indo-European peoples, unquenchable fire was also maintained in fire temples, before idols, and in the holy hearths of houses.
Goddess Vesta in Ancient Rome
According to legend, she was born of the god of time and the goddessspace, that is, arose first in the world destined for life, and, filling the space and time with energy, gave rise to evolution. Unlike other deities of the Roman pantheon, the goddess Vesta did not have a human face, she was the embodiment of a luminous and life-giving flame, in her temple there was no statue or other image of this deity. Considering fire as the only pure element, the Romans represented Vesta a virgin goddess who did not accept the marriage offerings of Mercury and Apollo. For this supreme god Jupiter has given her the privilege of being the most revered. Once the goddess Vesta almost fell victim to the erotic desires of the god of fertility of Priapus. The donkey grazing nearby with a loud roar woke up the dozing goddess and thereby saved her from dishonor.
Since then, on the day of the celebration of the Vestal, the donkeys were forbidden to harness to work, and the head of this animal was depicted on the lamp of the goddess.
Foci of Vesta
Its flame meant the greatness, prosperity and stability of the Roman Empire and should not have been extinguished under any circumstances. The most sacred place in the Roman city was the temple of the goddess Vesta.
It is believed that the custom of lighting eternal fire inthe honor of the defenders of their homeland originates from the tradition of veneration of this goddess. Since the Roman goddess Vesta was the patroness of the state, temples or altars were erected in each city. If its inhabitants left the city, they took with them flames from the altar of Vesta, to light it where they would come. The eternal fire of Vesta was supported not only in its temples, but also in other public buildings. Here they arranged meetings of foreign ambassadors, feasts in their honor.
The so-called priestesses of the goddess, who were supposed toto support the sacred fire. The girls were selected carefully for this role. They were supposed to be representatives of the most noble houses, to possess incomparable beauty, moral purity and chastity. Everything in them had to correspond to the image of the great goddess. His venerable service was borne for thirty years, all this time living at the temple. The first decade was devoted to gradual learning, in another ten years they scrupulously performed rituals, and the last decade taught their craft to young Vestal. After that, women could return to the family and marry. Then they were called "Not by the Way", thereby emphasizing the right to marry. Vestalok was honored with the same piety as the goddess herself. Honor and respect for them were so strong that it was in the power of the Vestal to even cancel the execution of the sentenced, if he met them on the way during their procession.
Vestals were to be sacredly preserved and protectedHis virginity, since the violation of this rule was akin to the fall of Rome. Also, the state was threatened with extinction by the flames on the altar of the goddess. If this or that happened, the vestal was punished with a brutal death.
History, family and state
The history and destiny of the empire was in the minds of peopleis so closely connected with the cult of Vesta that the fall of Rome was directly connected with the fact that the ruler Flavius Gratian in 382 from the Nativity of Christ extinguished the fire in the temple of Vesta and abolished the Vestal Institute.
The concepts of family and state in ancient Rome wereon the same level, one was considered a means of strengthening the other. Therefore, the goddess Vesta was considered a keeper and a family hearth. Researchers believe that in ancient times the king was the high priest of Vesta, just as the head of the family was a priest of the home. Each name considered this fiery goddess and her personal patroness. The flame of the hearth was supported by representatives of the genus with the same scrupulousness as the vestals in the temple, since it was believed that this fire means a stronghold of kindred ties and the good of the whole family. If the flame suddenly gazed, this was seen as a bad omen, and the error was immediately corrected: with the help of a magnifying glass, a sunbeam and two wooden sticks that rubbed against each other, the fire was fired again.
Under the steadfast and benevolent eye of the goddessVest held wedding ceremonies, in her hearth baked wedding ritual bread. Here were family contracts, learned the will of ancestors. Nothing bad and unworthy should not have happened before the sacred fire of the stored goddess of the hearth.
In Ancient Greece
Here the goddess Vesta was called Hestia and hadthe same meaning, patronizing the sacrificial fire and the family hearth. Her parents were Kronos and Rhea, and the youngest brother was Zeus. The Greeks did not refuse to see a woman in her and depicted her in the form of a slender, majestic beauty in a cloak. Before every significant thing, she was sacrificed. The Greeks even retained the saying "to begin with Hestia." The main focus of the goddess of fire was Mount Olympus with its heavenly flame. The ancient hymns sang Hestia with a "green-eyed" lady "with a clear smile" and call "happiness to hang" and "health with a healing goal."
Was her goddess Vesta among the Slavs? Some sources say that this was the name of the goddess of spring. It represented the awakening from winter sleep and the beginning of flowering. Life-giving fire in this case was perceived by our ancestors as a mighty force, which has a magical effect on the renewal of nature and fertility. It is possible that pagan customs, in which fire is involved, are associated with the deification of this goddess.
Invite to his house the Slavic goddess of springwas not difficult. It is enough to go round the dwelling clockwise, eight times, saying "Luck, happiness, abundance". Women, who in the spring washed the melt water, had, according to the legend, a chance to remain young and attractive for a long time, like Vesta herself. The Slavic goddess symbolized also the victory of light over darkness. Therefore, she was especially extolled on the first day of the new year.
Who are the Westies among the Slavs
So called the girls who know the wisdom of doingeconomy and satisfaction of the spouse. They could be given without fear of marrying: from the West good housewives, wise wives and caring mothers turned out. In contrast, the brides were called by those young people who were not ready for marriage and family life.
Gods and stars
In March 1807, the German astronomer HenryOlbers discovered an asteroid that named the name of the ancient Roman goddess Vesta. In 1857, the English scientist Norman Pogson gave the asteroid he discovered to the name of the ancient Greek hypostasis, Hestia.