The hearth goddess, Vesta, is represented by her sacred fire in private homes and at her temple (the actual statue of the goddess was thought to be housed not in the aedes Vestae but in a nearby shrine, the aedicula Vestae) in the Roman forum. Although we call it a temple, it was actually an an aedes because the augurs hadn't set the area apart and hallowed it. Today's ruins come from one of many re-buildings of the temple, this one, by Julia Domna, in A.D. 191. The cella of the temple, is circular and made of concrete, surrounded by blocks of tufa. There are signs of a vault, the penus Vestae. The cella was surrounded by 20 Corinthian columns. To the east of the Temple of Vesta was the house of the Vestal Virgins, who tended the sacred fire. The only man who could enter the temple of Vesta was the pontifex maximus. Roman women were admitted to the temple during the Vestalia festival (June 7-15).
In A. D. 394 Theodosius closed the temple of Vesta.
- Atrium Vesta
- The Roman Forvm: Its History and Its Monuments, by Christian Hülsen; (1909).
- The Archaeology Coursebook: An Introduction to Themes, Sites, Methods and Skills, by Jim Grant, Sam Gorin, Neil Fleming; Taylor & Francis, 2008