The definitive work on the excavation of the Temple of Vesta
Dedicated to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, the temple of Vesta was one of the most ancient sanctuaries in the Roman Forum. The priestesses of Vesta, known as the Vestal Virgins—Rome's only female priests—were in charge of keeping the sacred fire housed in the temple, while they themselves lived in the Atrium Vestae at the eastern edge of the Roman Forum, between the Regia (originally the residence of the kings of Rome) and the Palatine Hill. Together, the Atrium Vestae, the temple of Vesta, and the Regia formed the religious center of the Roman state until a fire destroyed much of Rome and largely burned all three buildings to the ground in 64 CE. Over the years, numerous excavations have taken place in the area and have often produced unreliable results. In Excavations in the Area Sacra of Vesta (1987–1996), Russell T. Scott compiles a definitive chronology of the history of the Atrium Vestae, clarifying much of the earlier research.
Jacket illustration: Tuscania, Ara del Tufo, 560–550 B.C.
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