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Vestal Virgin

In ancient Rome, the Vestal virgins were the virgin holy priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. Their primary task was to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta. The Vestal duty brought great honor and afforded greater privileges to women who served in that role.

Priestess Code

There were six Vestal virgins. The high priest (Pontifex Maximus) chose, by lot, young girls to serve in the order. The Vestal virgins were committed to the priesthood at a young age (before puberty) and were sworn to celibacy. The punishment for violating the oath of celibacy was to be buried alive. They served for thirty years, after which they could marry if they chose.