In Greek mythology, Hestia was the virgin Goddess of the Hearth, fire, home, family, protection, architecture, domesticity and virginity. Equated with the Roman Vesta, Hestia was the patron goddess of the oikos or the Greek household; at the hearth of every Greek house was placed an altar for sacrifice, where the first part always went to Hestia. Establishment of a new colony required flame from her hearth to be transferred to the location before any actual settlement could begin.
In myth, Hestia was the first-born child of Cronus and Rhea, swallowed by her father at birth. Later, when Zeus forced the Titan to disgorge his siblings, she was the last to emerge; for this reason she was seen as simultaneously the eldest and youngest of the six Kronides. With Zeus' permission, Hestia pledged to remain a virgin divinity, in line with Artemis and Athena.
Hestia had no personal emblem for herself, signifying her modesty; the hearth and its fire sufficed for her. Instead of a regal throne, Hestia sat on a plain chair with a woolen cushion. Although, as one of the six children of Cronus, Hestia had a place amongst the Olympians, she gave up her seat in favour of Dionysus, son of Zeus and Semele.
|Classical Olympians||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysus • Hephaestus • Hera • Hermes • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Other deities||Asclepius • Eros • Hades • Hebe • Heracles • Hestia • Pan • Persephone|