Hestia was the virgin goddess of the hearth and the home.

Residence: Mount Olympus
Symbols: Hearth, fire
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Siblings: HadesHeraPoseidonDemeterChiron and Zeus
Roman equivalent: Vesta

Hestia Giustiniani.jpg
The Giustiniani Hestia. A Hadrianic Roman copy of a Greek bronze. Torlonia Collection.

As the goddess of the family hearth she also presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. The cooking of the communal feast of sacrificial meat was naturally a part of her domain.

In myth Hestia was the first born child of Cronus and Rhea who was swallowed by her father at birth. Zeus later forced the old Titan to disgorge Hestia and her siblings. As the first to be swallowed she was also the last to be disgorged, and so was named as both the eldest and youngest of the six Cronids. When the gods Apollo and Poseidon sought for her hand in marriage, Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin. He agreed and she took her place at his royal hearth.

Roman votive relief dedicated to Vesta, c. 140-150 AD. Altes Museum, Berlin. (c) Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Detail of Hestia from an Attic red-figure kylix. National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia. (c) theoi.com
Statue of Hestia. Hermitage Museum. (c) theoi.com

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