"The Shining One." Goddess of domestic life and the hearth. Worshipped privately in the home and publicly in Vesta's temple. In the home, Vesta lived near the hearth and was offered food and drink at every meal. The Vestal Virgins served her, and (apart from mothers who were allowed to bring offerings during festivals) were the only ones allowed to enter her temple. The Vestal Virgins, chosen only from the nobility, tended a sacred fire which was the symbol of the hearth of the nation. A strict vow of chastity was imposed on the Virgins, and a Virgin caught breaking the vow was walled up alive. In more than a thousand years, only twenty women were so punished.