Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: The more common report is that Remus con
Notes
Parallel Lives by Plutarchus

Camillus, chapter 22: The Vestal Virgins flee[390 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
And now, after the battle, had the Gauls immediately pursued those that fled, there had been no remedy but Rome must have wholly been ruined, and all those who remained in it utterly destroyed; such was the terror that those who escaped the battle brought with them into the city, and with such distraction and confusion were themselves in turn infected. But the Gauls, not imagining their victory to be so considerable, and overtaken with the present joy, fell to feasting and dividing the spoil, by which means they gave leisure to those who were for leaving the city to make their escape, and to those that remained, to anticipate and prepare for their coming. For they who resolved to stay at Rome, abandoning the rest of the city, betook themselves to the Capitol, which they fortified with the help of missiles and new works. One of their principal cares was of their holy things, most of which they conveyed into the Capitol. But the consecrated fire the vestal virgins took, and fled with it, as likewise their other sacred things. Some write that they have nothing in their charge but the ever-living fire which Numa had ordained to be worshipped as the principle of all things; for fire is the most active thing in nature, and all production is either motion, or attended with motion; all the other parts of matter, so long as they are without warmth, lie sluggish and dead, and require the accession of a sort of soul or vitality in the principle of heat; and upon that accession, in whatever way, immediately receive a capacity either of acting or being acted upon. And thus Numa, a man curious in such things, and whose wisdom made it thought that he conversed with the Muses, consecrated fire, and ordained it to be kept ever burning, as an image of that eternal power which orders and actuates all things. Others say that this fire was kept burning in front of the holy things, as in Greece, for purification, and that there were other things hid in the most secret part of the temple, which were kept from the view of all, except those virgins whom they call vestals. The most common opinion was, that the image of Pallas, brought into Italy by Aeneas, was laid up there; others say that the Samothracian images lay there, telling a story how that Dardanus carried them to Troy, and, when he had built the city, celebrated those rites, and dedicated those images there; that after Troy was taken, Aeneas stole them away, and kept them till his coming into Italy. But they who profess to know more of the matter affirm that there are two barrels, not of any great size, one of which stands open and has nothing in it, the other full and sealed up; but that neither of them may be seen but by the most holy virgins. Others think that they who say this are misled by the fact that the virgins put most of their holy things into two barrels at this time of the Gaulish invasion, and hid them underground in the temple of Quirinus; and that from hence that place to this day bears the name of Barrels.

Religious reforms by Numa

Events: Rome occupied, the Capitol besieged, The Palladium, The Flight of Aeneas, Religious reforms by Numa