(also vestal virgin)
(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.
- 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.
- 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.
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Syllabification: Ves·tal Vir·gin
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