The Vestal Habit

  title={The Vestal Habit},
  author={Andrew B. Gallia},
  journal={Classical Philology},
  pages={222 - 240}
In her epochal study of the Vestal virgins, Mary Beard called attention to the ambiguous position of these priestesses in relation to the normative categories of gender in Roman society. Drawing on the insights of structural anthropology, she argued that this ambiguity was central to the Vestals’ sacredness. Essentially, her interpretation rests on the proposition that, by combining features relating to the status of unmarried daughters (virgines) with those of married women (matronae), the… 

The Vestal Virgins’ Socio-political Role and the Narrative of Roma Aeterna

Roman women – priestesses, patrician women, mysterious guardians of the sacred flame of goddess Vesta, admired and respected, sometimes blamed for misfortune of the Eternal City. Vestals identified

The Women and the Lares: A Reconsideration of an Augustan Altar from the Capitoline in Rome

This paper offers a reexamination of a small Augustan lares altar found on the Capitoline Hill and now in the Museo Nazionale Romano at the Terme di Diocleziano. The altar features two women, one on

Tarpeia the Vestal

  • J. Neel
  • History
    Journal of Roman Studies
  • 2019
Abstract Tarpeia's role as a Vestal has become a matter of scholarly consensus in the past two decades. This article questions that consensus by suggesting that Varro and Propertius are the two major

A textile workshop to approach Classical civilisation

Every day teachers try to improve their students’ awareness of how life was in Classical times. We talk about mythology, politics, the building of cities and many other aspects that made the ancient



Re-reading (Vestal) virginity

The mythology of the Vestal Virgins is on the move. Our mythology The spinster dons of ancient Rome (Balsdon's vision of a JulioClaudian Oxbridge1) have had their day So too have the pagan nuns of

Vestal virgins and their families

This article reexamines the evidence for the relationships between the Vestal virgins and their natal kin from the second century BC to the third century ad. It suggests that the bond between these

Why Were the Vestals Virgins? Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State

Why were the Vestals virgins? An explanation drawing on anthropological studies of witchcraft and the work of Giovannini, Girard, and Douglas allows a partial solution to this and three other

The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins

  • M. Beard
  • History
    Journal of Roman Studies
  • 1980
The Vestal Virgins have often been the subject of close scrutiny by classical scholars. Indeed many articles have been devoted to a careful analysis of individual, apparently trivial, aspects of

Exemplarity in Roman Culture: The Cases of Horatius Cocles and Cloelia

n discussing exempla , it seems fitting to begin with an example of one. In a celebrated passage, Polybius describes for Greek readership some of the ejqismoÇ —habits or customs—that enabled the

The Value of the Vestal Statues as Originals

AUTHENTIC representations in art of the Vestal Virgins have been until within a few years almost unknown. Those recognized as authentic, apart from a few coins upon which the priestesses were

Law, Religion, and Constitution of the Vestal Virgins

Abstract The aim of this paper is to put the Vestals at the center of legal, religious, and political life in the Roman republic as was done by lawyers, historians, and poets. With their virgin

Unveiling the veil: cultic, status, and ethnic representations of early imperial freedwomen

ABSTRACT To corroborate that the veil was the standard mode of dress that symbolized pudicitia (virtue or chastity) for Roman matrons during the Augustan period (27 BCE—CE 14), scholars have

Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome

This is a study of the legal rules affecting the practice of female prostitution at Rome approximately from 200 B.C. to A.D. 250. It examines the formation and precise content of the legal norms

The World of Roman Costume

Greeks and Romans felt that nationality could be identified by dress as well as by language. Examining the ways the women and men of antiquity presented themselves through their dress provides