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Gender Studies

Ancient roman politics the vestals – women’s empowerment

Working Paper 167/2018: Ancient Roman Politics the Vestals – Women’s empowerment


Ancient Roman Politics the Vestals – Women’s empowerment is about vestal virgins of ancient Rome. First chapter concerns goddess Vesta, her legends and what she represented. Second chapter is about who Vesta and why her priestesses were important to roman religion. Third chapter explains where they lived. Four chapter lists names of known vestals until Emperor Tiberius (a larger list is included in Appendix 2) and discusses situations involving their deaths or role model. Vestals had political and religious power in ancient Rome. Their peaceful presence at the forum was one of the first attempts (if not the first) in favor of gender equality or women’s empowerment in the public sphere. Vestals were virgin priestesses of a goddess that protected the walls of Rome with her perpetual fire, which was pure and had no statue. Their rituals were based on legends such as Amata or Rhea Silvia that, regardless of being true or not, were religious and cultural references for people’s lives and should not be neglected, because they contain information that explains why the State respected the vestals and punished them so severely.



Galito, Maria Sousa (2018). “Ancient roman politics the vestals – women’s empowerment”. Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão – CEsA/ CSG Documentos de Trabalho nº 167/2018.

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