Document Type

Honors Project


Vestal Virgins were high ranking members of the Roman elite. Due to the priestesses’ elevated standing, Romans made use of their inherent privileges. Through analyses of case studies from ancient authors and archaeology, I identify three ways Romans wielded Vestal power: familial connections, financial and material resources, and political sway. I end by exploring cases of crimen incesti, the crime of unchastity, which highlight all three forms. The Vestals were influential women who shared access to power in different ways. The Vestals were active participants in the social and political world of Rome.



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