We’ve Lost The Benefit Of Necessity

Samaritan's Song

Back when I was in Rome, my husband and I had a chance to see the Temple of Vesta, home to the ancient vestal virgins.  The virgins were priestesses of the goddess Vesta, charged with keeping the sacred flame of the city lit.  They were tasked with a heavy duty, but in exchange granted a great deal of privilege: vestals could own land, vote, and marry after their thirty years of service.  They held a remarkable amount of power and privilege for women in their society, and to even touch them without permission was considered a crime punishable by death.

Imagine my surprise, then, when we came upon busts of some of the virgins and a sign that informed us that one of the virgins had been expelled and her name and statue defaced upon her conversion to Christianity.  When I tried to do some research on who this vestal…

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