Who were the Vestal Virgins, and what was their job? - Peta Greenfield

  • Published on May 30, 2017
  • View full lesson: ed.ted.com/lessons/who-were-the-vestal-virgins-and-what-was-their-job-peta-greenfield
    In ancient Rome, Vestal Virgins were tasked with keeping vigil over the flame of Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth. The flame represented two things: the continuation of Rome as a power in the world and the continuing virginity of Vesta’s priestesses. But what was life really like for these Vestal Virgins? Peta Greenfield goes back in time to find out.
    Lesson by Peta Greenfield, animation by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

Comments • 3 018

  • Sofia A
    Sofia A 16 hours ago

    Sorry i keep thinking of the word Leukemia

  • Zenebech McCutcheon

    Ted Ed is secretly my 2nd favorite just after Life Noggin.

  • Clarence Snyder
    Clarence Snyder 3 days ago

    As simple as a flame going out? Come on lady, they killed the goddess or something.... May not be true but they believed it to be.

  • chewi lewi
    chewi lewi 3 days ago

    i have been there

  • Keerthana Raveendran

    It is just to torture women why can't they make men to do it what a rubbish ritual

  • ishe nicole
    ishe nicole 5 days ago

    Ancient pagan Egyptians had similar priestesses.. The romans mixed there own paganism with ancient Egyptian and Greek Traditions

  • Eudes Rezende
    Eudes Rezende 5 days ago

    Fuel the Flames with your souls!

  • I love what you hate EXO

    what miserable life this 6 girls had only because of flame

  • ZEPHER070
    ZEPHER070 10 days ago

    Welldone vid. Sad history. Excellent information. And we like the animation. ...so sad about the gruesome death of blind believers. I guess for these kind of reasons, political powers doom themselves.

  • Lauren Victoria
    Lauren Victoria 11 days ago +1

    how did this comment section go from virgins to feminism

  • Jacob Zondag
    Jacob Zondag 11 days ago

    "Different values for a different age. Let's not be judgmental, but let's appreciate History's lessons tought to us and make good use of them to make our world a better one."

  • regrets regrets
    regrets regrets 12 days ago +2

    *WIth thE entrNAL FlAm y0u arE n0W REB0RN*

  • Purple Grace
    Purple Grace 13 days ago

    That's just fxcked up...

    JAMES CLEVEN 14 days ago +1

    0:48 Mr stark I don’t feel so good

  • It Ain't Me 1968
    It Ain't Me 1968 14 days ago

    Ah wow ancient times are cruel I'm glad its gone but not forgotten

  • mohamed bilaal
    mohamed bilaal 15 days ago +1

    Nooo don't kill them you heartless bastards...... These sort of barbaric rituals were everywhere until Islam came and stopped them all. In ancient Arabia baby girls were buried alive to protect "dignity" of the father. Our prophet mohamed PBUH came and stopped everything.

  • Harsadha Balachandran - T L Kennedy SS (2352)

    And then you realize that this is a real story

  • Rixer Is Gamer
    Rixer Is Gamer 16 days ago

    Invaders Attack: I Sleep
    People Starve: I Sleep
    Proves Her Innocence: I Sleep
    Flames Goes Out Which Can Be Put Again: I Am About To End This Women Whole Career

  • StepByStep
    StepByStep 16 days ago

    The origins of BEGONE THOT!

  • Andrew Stansbury
    Andrew Stansbury 16 days ago

    0:48 "I don't feel so good"

    HIME YUI 17 days ago

    Likinya looks beautiful

  • Aakash Ajnalkar
    Aakash Ajnalkar 17 days ago

    Lol............ ME

  • White Gaming
    White Gaming 19 days ago

    I thought my job,had no future of meaning

  • DA MotoNeko
    DA MotoNeko 19 days ago

    And now i wish that meteors would've rained down on rome for a hundred years.

  • Maria Ali
    Maria Ali 19 days ago

    I was born in 96 phewwwwww

  • Yue
    Yue 20 days ago

    “She was tried and proven guilty.”
    Something is very... disturbing in this sentence...

    • Yue
      Yue 20 days ago

      Laima Mockus Córdoba take it out of context lol

    • Laima Mockus Córdoba
      Laima Mockus Córdoba 20 days ago

      I think is "trialed", given a trial... a "trial", giving they would find her guilty anyways... Justice did not exist even then...

  • Judge Humble
    Judge Humble 21 day ago

    No got accept Allah and Muhammad PBUH is the final messanger of Allah

  • Steph Suarez
    Steph Suarez 21 day ago

    Well, maybe they have a point before since they don't know about Christianity. Everything depends on what they believe. I like that they are focus on the task and belief. Virginity keep. It avoids them from danger. But its crazy to kill them for accusation. Fire those days lightened by woods not by gas. It would surely fire out. That's the strange belief I don't agree.

  • Vysair
    Vysair 23 days ago

    I now have more reason to think humanity is a mistake.

  • Ma.Teresita Trinidad Trinidad

    Virgins for human sacrifice.😱😱😱

  • الحمد لله
    الحمد لله 23 days ago

    Soundtrack plssss 2:07

  • Marie Ramby
    Marie Ramby 24 days ago +2

    Well, I would prefer to be poor, from a family that had no value. That young girl should have started coughing and sneezing, a vomit or two could have helped keep her from that terrible fate.

  • Golden1_1Dragon
    Golden1_1Dragon 25 days ago

    No smashing sounds like a nightmare

  • Archnid 001
    Archnid 001 25 days ago +1

    medieval era is the best you can have many wife

  • MollyROLLY Po
    MollyROLLY Po 26 days ago

    "If only Shaggy was here."

  • AQTruthhurts
    AQTruthhurts 26 days ago

    Most nations had one horrible human sacrifice or similar in their history ie witch hunting, bloody religious crusades etc. This is why the world is so full of sadness. Payment for generational curse by the innocents. Humans are self glorified animals and the world is a mighty zoo.

  • boo boo
    boo boo 28 days ago

    I thought Romans despised human sacrifice? This is not accurate.

    • Druid Riley
      Druid Riley 19 days ago

      It's not a sacrifice. It's a punishment.

  • Project Create
    Project Create 29 days ago +1

    Imagine of it was switched and men had to be the virgins

  • Tae S.
    Tae S. 29 days ago +1

    This was pointless and I don't get it. Just another video that looked like women were tortured and killed for no damn reason at all. No one in all of Rome could relight the fire??? Smh lol. 😒😒😒😒 Dont even know why I clicked on this!

  • Anna Carmela Abella
    Anna Carmela Abella 29 days ago

    All this for a superstition

  • Knom Knom
    Knom Knom Month ago

    15 yrs olds: I was born in the wrong generation
    Ancient romans: am i a joke to you

  • Doodle dragons Toucans

    Ugh why is it loading soooo slow?...

  • Michelle Kimberlene Ko

    Geez I always knew romans are very strict of all that but I never knew they can be a little clueless I mean what will happen if the fire just went out because of the rain or water

  • Sara Zatezalo
    Sara Zatezalo Month ago

    Wtf is this

  • Noor forever
    Noor forever Month ago

    People really were crazy in the old days

  • ImPatrick !
    ImPatrick ! Month ago

    They rly love fire

  • Winnie Levine
    Winnie Levine Month ago


  • ignitemare
    ignitemare Month ago


  • Kira Smith
    Kira Smith Month ago

    I wonder how much pollution that fire put into the air since it was burning 24/7

    • Kira Smith
      Kira Smith Month ago

      +Druid Riley I didn't think about that. Probably a lot of pollution as a whole then. Although, I still wonder how much pollution *just this fire* put into the air.

    • Druid Riley
      Druid Riley Month ago

      Before electricity, EVERYONE was burning wood/charcoal/oil every single day. Smoke was always present in the cities and villages.

    PURPLE SASS Month ago +2

    But scientifically some women aren't even born with the tissue that proves virginity 😒😒😒😒

  • Ari Glo
    Ari Glo Month ago

    So sad the traps of religion.

  • pratik mohite
    pratik mohite Month ago

    How about 72 juicy virgins of religion of peace.

  • Sugar Cane
    Sugar Cane Month ago

    Why did they stop.... because it's nonsense.

  • Devices going dark
    Devices going dark Month ago

    Dark souls?

  • Soso De Mgh
    Soso De Mgh Month ago +1

    Great drawings but the narrator is lying. This is History being re-wright! Shame on you! Ted-ed is way too political to be accurate.

  • Unicorn Smoothie
    Unicorn Smoothie Month ago +1

    L I K E T H I S I F Y O U L I K E T E D - E D

  • FeatherButter
    FeatherButter Month ago

    That was intense. I loved the narration!

  • burak ayan
    burak ayan Month ago

    paganism sucks

  • JakulaithWolff
    JakulaithWolff Month ago +2

    Male animals never harmed or bothered their women...

  • Shaun De Joya
    Shaun De Joya Month ago

    Fortnite e🅱️ic gamers

  • kud
    kud Month ago

    virginity rocks!.....but not in this case.

  • Msriiko
    Msriiko Month ago +1

    Bet a lot of times the flame went out and theyd quietly restore it

    • Druid Riley
      Druid Riley Month ago +2

      Of course. They were often alone at night, and I'm sure some fell asleep and quickly relit it. No one needed to know.

  • Nightshade Kelly
    Nightshade Kelly Month ago

    Its not fair to give a child a life they don't get to choose

    • Druid Riley
      Druid Riley Month ago

      Only in the last century has a child been given a choice, before, their lives were mapped out.

  • alex thelizardking
    alex thelizardking Month ago

    Poor Vesta/Hestia. She's not even in God of war.

  • evan fletcher
    evan fletcher Month ago

    Clearly they didn't do well because they plunged are empire into chaos look who's Emporer now an aristocrat. How foolish

  • Will Gills
    Will Gills Month ago


  • Ana Diniz
    Ana Diniz Month ago +1

    Wow this is indeed a foundation of my culture. :o

  • Lé Memesiéur
    Lé Memesiéur Month ago

    General Admiral Aladeen wants to know your location.

  • Ariane Baskerville
    Ariane Baskerville Month ago

    If thered wifi / signal / a tablet or phone / electricity i dont mind

  • Lichia Tee
    Lichia Tee Month ago

    This is Devilish 😭

  • Cakey Cho
    Cakey Cho Month ago +11

    Live burial... so cruel

  • Amirah Rosman
    Amirah Rosman 2 months ago

    Imagine the horror if we time traveled back and told the Romans that virginity was a construct

  • Queenbananagrams
    Queenbananagrams 2 months ago

    I can't get enough of the singing! The video doesn't seem to reveal what the source of the singing was, anyone have any idea?

  • Panccino BlueLifa
    Panccino BlueLifa 2 months ago +1

    Did they really care so much about a rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.

  • asteria
    asteria 2 months ago

    I’m sorry but I DONT GET ANYTHING! Why was she buried? Why was the first girl buried! I mean

  • Fariha Mohamed Hilmy
    Fariha Mohamed Hilmy 2 months ago

    Why so Paleolithic?

  • Olivia McCrea
    Olivia McCrea 2 months ago +1

    please tell me someone else only knows who these people are because of PLEBS

  • Bunnow
    Bunnow 2 months ago +1

    they were fortnite players

  • Idiot Sponges
    Idiot Sponges 2 months ago

    But who did she bang?

  • shikkakyuu
    shikkakyuu 2 months ago

    ok whatever but whats the roman equivalent to dionysus

    i mean vesta is a direct equivalent to hestia

  • zebra 12325
    zebra 12325 2 months ago +22

    The only reason why I clicked this was because vestal is my last name

  • Eve Lyn
    Eve Lyn 2 months ago

    The original dark Souls challenge

  • Valley
    Valley 2 months ago

    Anyone use Vesta in astrology!?

  • Mujahid Syed
    Mujahid Syed 2 months ago +1

    1:57 *loud cough*

  • LunEkoYT
    LunEkoYT 2 months ago

    the animation is AMAZING!!!

  • amakam
    amakam 2 months ago +2

    All this for a indoor campfire

  • Commandos_ X
    Commandos_ X 2 months ago

    Could you please put the sources linked to video? Thank you

  • Ravenclaw's heir
    Ravenclaw's heir 2 months ago


  • IntermediateJesus
    IntermediateJesus 2 months ago

    So it's like a Japanese pop idol.
    Man it started depressing and ended depressing.

  • Aidid Rashed Efat
    Aidid Rashed Efat 2 months ago

    Ancient days were horrible.

  • The Neon Apple
    The Neon Apple 2 months ago +4

    DISCLAIMER: this comment is meant to be a joke don’t take this comment seriously.

    1:43 P O L L U T I O N yeeeessss look at that

  • Froot ӏ օ օ թs
    Froot ӏ օ օ թs 2 months ago +2

    I’m Wiccan/Pagan and Hestia has always been I goddess I stayed away from I’ve never felt connected to her in anyway but respected her and vesta seems very similar to Hestia

  • Silver Tune
    Silver Tune 2 months ago +1


  • Ren Seales
    Ren Seales 2 months ago

    Women today, think that they have it hard.

  • Ace Jiffers
    Ace Jiffers 2 months ago

    Use me as a make a vid about Hades and Persephone next button

  • WhittyWhitts
    WhittyWhitts 2 months ago

    Now I’ll never be a Roman Polytheist and instead will make my Pop-Tart religion.

  • raged alamere
    raged alamere 2 months ago

    Thank god now there is no such a thing.... They have must had no education

    • Druid Riley
      Druid Riley Month ago +1

      Er, women are still killed for not being virgins due to religion.

  • 10, 000 subs without any vids challenge

    03:34 SPQR!!!!! PERCY JACKSON???? OH, COME ON!!

  • 10, 000 subs without any vids challenge

    Vesta= Hestia..

    If u were wondering

  • 10, 000 subs without any vids challenge

    Any PJO fan trying to convert Roman to Greek? No?