The Greek phrase 'hestia' means the fireside, the place in the home the place the hearth was maintained. The issue which primitive man skilled in procuring hearth simply explains why he tended it with care and additionally commemorated it. Moreover it was across the fireside that the household gathered. When considered one of its members departed to discovered a brand new household he took with him a parcel of fireside from his dad and mom' fireside, which thus symbolised the continuity of the household. When households started to kind teams in cities, every city had its communal fireside the place the general public hearth was maintained. Finally the hearth of the hestia was utilized in sacrifices. For these varied causes the hestia, just like the Vedic Agni, very early took on a sacred character. This character was afterwards personified in a deity who took the precise title of the item she symbolised.
Hestia, then, was, like Hephaestus, a fireplace-divinity. But whereas Hephaestus represented the fiery aspect in its celestial and subterranean manifestations, Hestia symbolised the family hearth hearth, because it had been, domesticated. Hence the homely and social character of this goddess, whose province was to shield not solely the home and the household but additionally the town. Later Hestia, by analogy, represented the hearth within the centre of the earth and the earth itself; however this conception was much less mythological than philosophical.
Hestia was commemorated in all Greek cities; she had her altar in each prytaneum - or Public Hearth. The Hest'ia of Delphi was the item of an especial cult, as a result of Delphi was believed to occupy the centre of the universe and its fireside was due to this fact the frequent fireside of all Greece. Temples of Hestia had been characterised by their round kind.
Representations of Hestia are uncommon. Glaucus of Argos sculptured one for Olympia. There was additionally a really celebrated one in Paros. The goddess was depicted typically seated, typically standing, however all the time in an perspective of immobility.
Hestia didn't spring, like the opposite divinities, from in style creativeness, and legends about her are few. According to Hesiod - for Homer, earlier than him, didn't know of the goddess Hestia - she was the primary little one born to Cronus and Rhea. Thus she was the oldest of the Olympians and all the time maintained her priority. Men understood this effectively and after they supplied sacrifices consecrated the primary morsels of the victims to Hestia and in festivals poured her the primary and final libations.
On Olympus Hestia's dignity was unquestioned and her rights because the eldest had been recognised. She appears to have taken little benefit of this and performed a minor position in Olympian drama. 'In the dwelling of the gods,' says Plato, 'Hestia alone maintains repose.' We solely know of her that each Poseidon and Apollo sought her hand in marriage. She would have neither one nor the opposite. In order to put an finish to their attentions she placed herself underneath Zeus' safety and made a solemn vow, touching the top of the grasp of the gods, to stay a virgin for ever. Zeus accepted her vow and 'as an alternative of marriage supplied her a good-looking recompense: seated within the midst of the celestial dwelling-place she receives the richest a part of sacrifices, and amongst males she is of all of the deities essentially the most commemorated'.
Hestia thus shared with Athene and Artemis the prerogative of chastity. She was a kind of over whom Aphrodite by no means succeeded in exercising her energy.