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By Robin Lorsch Wildfang

Accomplished and punctiliously updated, this quantity bargains a new research of the Vestal Virgins’ ritual functionality in Roman faith. project an in depth and cautious research of historical literary assets, Wildfang argues that the Vestals’ virginity has to be understood on numerous varied degrees and gives an answer to the matter of the Vestals’ atypical felony prestige in old Rome.

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R. Prowse 1967: 181–183; L. Euing 1933: 20–40. 15 See, for example, M. Beard 1980: 19; H. Hommel 1972: 406–416. Within the aedes Vestae 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 19 M. 99. See F. Bömer 1957–1958: 360; J. Frazer 1931: 216. On Dionysius as a source for ancient roman religion, see G. Capdeville 1993b. See, for example, Cic. Leg. 29; Ov. Fast. 283. Cic. Leg. 29; D. 66; Ov. Fast. 283; Plu. Num. 5; Var. L. 61. On Vulcan, see DnP 122. 296–297; C. Pailler 1997; E.

The suffibulum, according to Festus, ‘was the white cloth . . which the Vestal Virgins wore on their heads when sacrificing’ (Fest. p. 74 L). The infula was also worn by other priests and by sacrificial victims (Fest. p. 100 L). While neither of these citations mentions purity in any form, it is not unlikely that these two items had some such symbolic connection. If so, they would serve as further evidence of the Vestals’ purity. If not, then the Vestals’ wearing of them on religious occasions was no doubt meant simply as a visual sign of their sacred status.

Beard 1980: 16. A. Staples 1998: 146, however, maintains that the priestesses’ use of this hairstyle was meant simply as a visible sign of their membership in the Vestal order. 41 It is perhaps telling that while literary scholars and historians talk about the sex crines as primarily a bridal hairstyle, archaeologists regularly describe it as the ‘Vestal hairstyle’. Special thanks are due to Lektor Birte Poulsen, Aarhus University, who first brought this anomaly to my attention. 42 See Chapter 4.

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