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Caere – city that accepted Vestals

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Vestal Virgin, Jacques-Louis David
Vestal Virgin, Jacques-Louis David

When in 390 BCE the Gauls invaded and conquered Rome, the priests of Quirinus and the priestesses of Vesta decided to leave the city and save the holy artefacts of the Romans from the barbarians. The vestals were to go with their full weight across the Tiber, towards the Janiculum Hill.

At that time, a certain plebeian Lucius Albinius was driving towards Rome, taking his wife and children on his cart. Lucius, seeing the Westanki marching along the steep road, ordered the families to get off the cart, made the place available, and then turned back and drove to the city of Caere, where they were all received with great honours. As Valerius Maximus claims, from that moment on, the sacred rites were called ceremonies – the name came from the city, which showed great hospitality and was always respected by the Romans.

In presenting this story, Valerius Maximus shows Lucius as a pious Roman who was to value religion and public good more than his family. The author of this story and many others in his book Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri novem aimed to showcases (exemp) of model attitudes that should be imitated in Roman society.

  • Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri novem, I.1.10

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