Notes on the Geography of Italy: Classical Rome 1: Photo 28
Next to it is this partial reconstruction of the Temple of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Originally, 20 columns framed a circular structure that echoed archaic Latin huts. The temple contained not only the sacred fire maintained by the Vestal Virgins but also a statue of Venus called the Palladium. It had supposedly been taken from Athens by Aeneas and was visible only to the vestal virgins and the pontifex maximus.The temple was rebuilt several times, finally by Septimius Severus. It was abandoned in 394 and had collapsed by the 8th century. The site was lost until 1883, when it was identified by Italy's Minister of Public Instruction; some 50 years later this truncated section was artfully erected to suggest a ruin.
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