One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in ancient Rome) a virgin consecrated to Vesta and vowed to chastity, sharing the charge of maintaining the sacred fire burning on the goddess's altar.
maiden, unmarried girl, maid, vestal virgin, chaste woman, celibateView synonyms
- ‘The punishment for lost chastity of a Vestal Virgin was live burial, because that was considered the best way to kill them without spilling their blood.’
- ‘It was the punishment stipulated for Vestal Virgins found guilty of sexual misconduct.’
- ‘I have paid my devotions today both to the successor to St Peter and to the Vestal Virgins, who have no one left to remember them.’
- ‘We lived facing the temple of the Vestal Virgins across the Tiber.’
- ‘The purity of women represents and safeguards the purity of the state; thus the consecrated virginity of the Vestal Virgins upheld the integrity of ancient Rome.’
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