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Woman Dressed as a Vestal Virgin
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mhoutzager's picture

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Being a woman was hard in Roman times, but being a vestal virgin seems like a pretty sweet deal. 

The job of a vestal virgin was to serve the Roman goddess Vestas (the goddess of the hearth) by performing certain rituals: making sure that the sacred flame in the temple kept burning, and staying a virgin until retirement. Since you got the job at age 6 to 10, you could retire at around age 36 to 40, and still enjoy marriage and sexy time before you die.

The punishment for a Vestal Virgin who ceased to be a virgin before completing a 30 year term of service was to be buried alive.

The punishment for letting the flame go out was scourging (being whipped with a multi-thong-type lash).

Perks included:

1) VIP seats at sporting events and plays

2) Excused from bearing children

3) Able to own property in spite of being female

4) Skip having to swear to tell the truth in court, since vestals always tell the truth

5) Ability to free slaves and prisoners by simply touching them

6) Ability to walk around town without being harassed (the penalty for harassing a vestal was death)

If a vestal died part way through her term she could be replaced with a female of the same age, and that female did not need to be a virgin.