Arts & Entertainment

Roman Forum’s House of the Vestals opened after 8-year restoration

Rome, Jul 6 (EFE).- After eight years of restoration, the Roman Forum’s House of the Vestals on Tuesday was reopened to the public, who can again visit the place where these virgin priestesses lived charged with taking care of the goddess Vesta’s sacred fire and preparing the “mola salsa”, a dough of wheat and salt.

The House of the Vestals, consisting of a large atrium or courtyard, small baths and rooms like a triclinium, was built next to the temple dedicated to Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, where the priestesses performed their main task: to keep the sacred fire burning and guarding it.

The Vestal priestesses order is believed to have been established by Numa Pompilius – the second king of Rome whose statue was built alongside the one of the goddess – in the 8th or 7th century BC.

The nuns, chosen by the “pontifex maximus” when aged between six and 10 years, dedicated their lives to the rituals around the goddess Vesta, daughter of Saturn and Ops.

The sacred flame went out in 394 AD at the initiative of Theodosius I, and with it, the Vestals’ rituals came to an end.

One of the rituals was the preparation of the so-called mola salsa, dough made of wheat flour and salt that was cooked in the form of unleavened bread or spread on the animals before they were slaughtered. EFE


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