Palatine Museum

Statue of vestal virgin

The body of this statue of a Vestal virgin was found on 2 January, 1884, within the complex made up of the House of the Vestals and the Temple of Vesta. The head was reattached to the body at the base of the neck at a later date. The sculpture represents a female figure with a veil-covered head and the hairstyle typical of the priestesses of Vesta, with a middle part and two large bands of hair that pass behind the ears on either side of the head. The face, characterized by pronounced wrinkles around the eyes and nose and a receding chin, is that of a mature woman. She wears a long, sleeved chiton with no belt and a voluminous, calf-length mantle with one edge draped around her waist. On her feet she wears calcei, common leather footwear similar to boots. A series of holes drilled into the statue’s chest indicate the insertion of a metal ornament, probably in bronze. The statue is dateable to the second quarter of the 3rd century AD.