Hestia is perhaps the least remembered of the twelve Olympians, and not undeservingly. She was Goddess of the Hearth, and always stayed home, never leaving to dabble in the affairs of men and gods. Her Roman counterpart, Vesta, was revered above all other gods; every meal began and concluded with an offering to her.

As far as family life goes, Hestia's was rather turbulent. She was the firstborn of the Olympians, sired by Cronus shortly after he had "unmanned" the tyrannical Uranus. Unfortunately for Hestia, it had been prophesized that Cronus would be undone by his offspring, so he had the brilliant idea to eat them as they were born. It was thus that Hestia came to spend the first part of her life in her father's stomach, until Zeus liberated her and her siblings, and they came to be the elite of the gods.

Like Athena and Artemis, Hestia was a virgin goddess, and so has no godlings to continue her lineage. Despite this fact, there has developed a tendency to view her as something of a matronly presence. Even in the days of Greece she was associated strongly with domestic life. She is also sometimes presented as a Goddess of Flame, presumably referring to the flame of the hearth. In her temples, a sacred flame would remain always lit in her honor. Due to her family-oriented value system and her tendency to stay at Olympus, Hestia could be considered the patron saint of the stay-at-home mom.




Dictionary of Classical Mythology

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