Hestia for the Greeks, Vesta for the Romans, is a goddess who symbolizes family ties and the sacred fire. Daughter of Cronos and Reia is the older sister of Demeter, Hera, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades. She was a chaste goddess. She rejected all love strokes to remain a virgin, swearing virginity before her brother Zeus and receiving from him the honor of being venerated in every home and of being included in all sacrifices and remaining in peace, in his palace, surrounded by the respect of others. Gods and mortals.
It symbolizes stable housing, where people gathered to pray and offer sacrifices to the gods. So she was adored as a protector of cities, families, and colonies.
She was represented as a young woman, wearing a long tunic and a veil over her head and shoulders. As the oldest of the brothers, Hestia was the wisest and most honorable and completely avoided power. He had an introverted temperament whose focus was interiority and spirituality. It was more an abstract concept, the concept of fire, the fireplace, than an embodiment like the other gods.
In Greek mythology, Hestia is the name with which the titans Cronos and Rea’s firstborn were baptized. It represents everything concerning the warmth of the home and the family. For this reason, she rarely left her home, Olympus.
Hestia’s gifts and her relationships with other gods
A Hestia has not known any conflict with other deities, as often happens among the Greek gods.
This is precisely due to the reason for its responsibilities, which are:
- Protect the family.
- Promote marital happiness.
- Maintain harmony in homes and temples.
Its virginal character is a sign of the purity of the earth, despite all the evil in the world.
Worship and representation of Hestia
Due to its high divinity, it has been revered and represented in many temples, some of them are Athens, Olympia, Tenedos, Oropos, Hermíone, Sparta, and Larisa, on the other hand, its iconic representation is usually sitting or standing with a veil that covers its hair and falls her back, she also appears with a fire in her hands, this flame represents home warmth and the harmony of the place it protects, we can see it in most of these temples where it is worshiped.
Many of the temples belonging to other deities, Hestia was presiding over the place, occupying her role as protector.
Legend of the Goddess Hestia
Hestia was the first to be eaten by her father Crono and the last to be vomited when Zeus offers her the poisoned drink for that purpose.
She is one of the most revered goddesses in Greece because she is worshiped in all houses and all temples. He never takes sides in the disputes of the rest of the gods. She is conciliatory and patient.
Her brothers are the most important gods of Olympus: Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera, and Zeus.
Poseidon and Apollo court her, but she asks her brother Zeus, who wants to remain a maiden forever and thus avoid a dispute between the gods. Zeus agrees, and as a reward, he grants him the first victim of all public sacrifices and a priority place in all the houses.
Their temples are located in the center of the cities in the open air, in the agora ( square in the center of the Greek cities), and they are called pritaneos. They are places of special worship and asylum and are considered temples of all the gods presided over by the Goddess Hestia.
There are temples for her in Athens, Oropos, Olympia, Sparta, Larisa, Hermíone, and Tenedos.
The Oracle of Delphi also belonged to Hestia before it belonged to Apollo as a place of worship.
- In one of his works, Ovid tells how Hestia, at a feast of the gods, is rebuked by Priapo (a lesser rustic god), who wants to rape her while she sleeps. But thanks to the braying of the ass of Silenus (minor god of drunkenness), he awakens and can flee. This is why this animal is their favorite, and at festivals, the Greeks decorate it with garlands.
- It is said of Hestia that she invented the art of building and that happiness and marital and family harmony depended on her.
- When a citizen left a city ( polis ) in search of progress in other lands, it is said that he carried a torch-lit with the fire of an altar in Hestia to light on the altar of the new polis.