Vestal Virgins: Women in Ancient Rome with Jade Bajeot - Context Travel

Vestal Virgins: Women in Ancient Rome with Jade Bajeot


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Join a local Roman archaeologist to discover what life was like for women in Ancient Rome, with a spotlight on the Vestal Virgins. A woman’s main purpose was to give birth to children and rules were very strict for Ancient Roman women. However, in the thousand years of Roman history, they did see a significant improvement in their condition. In this conversation, we will discuss what the rules and duties were and how this varied depending on social class. We’ll spend some time discussing contemporary civilizations, such as the Etruscans and the Greeks, to see how the female condition compared outside of Rome.

A large part of the conversation will be dedicated to the particular case of the Vestal Virgins, priestesses that took care of the sacred fire burning in a temple located in the Roman Forum. The temple, one of the most important in Rome, was dedicated to the goddess Vesta, an indigenous deity older than the city itself. We’ll discuss how the girls who served in the sanctuary were chosen and how they lived together from around age six, for 30 years. As their name suggests, they remained virgins and lived in limbo: their status flowed between a daughter and a bride and was free from a father or husband’s authority. We will discuss their status, their duties, their numerous privileges, and their terrible fate in case they disregarded the rules.

We will talk about the recent excavations in the Roman Forum, in which Jade participated, that allowed to uncover the remains of the hut where the Vestal virgins were possibly living during the 8th century BC. We’ll talk about the origin of the cult and discuss why most ancient civilizations so revered the practice and presence of fire. We’ll finish up by discussing some scandals and legends that concern the Vestal Virgins that may leave us enthralled in this particular period of history.

Led by an archaeologist who has dug at the possible ancient site of the Vestal Virgins, this interactive discussion will explore life in Ancient Rome for women. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a deeper understanding of female duties thousands of years ago and increased knowledge of just really who the Vestal Virgins were.

Born in Paris, Jade moved to Rome when she was 6 years old. Half of her family is French and the other half is Italian (her grandfather was very proud of being a 6th generation Roman!) Her passion for ancient cultures started when she was still a little girl and it inspired her to study archaeology at the Sapienza University of Rome. Thanks to a scholarship granted by a foundation connected to Harvard University, she earned a Ph.D. in Archaeology. She specializes in pre-history, specifically Egyptian pre-history. She still regularly works on archaeological excavations and conducts research projects. Her passion for Rome, together with her career as an archaeologist, inspired her to lead travelers on their discovery of the Eternal City. Jade is currently working on an illustrated book for kids dealing with Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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(3)
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T
T.

I’m enjoying the talks.It helps keep my spirits up by traveling and learning with the experts until we can take a live tour again.

C
C.

I thoroughly enjoyed today’s presentation- The presenter was engaging and the content fascinating. I will definitely register for another of these seminars very soon.
I want to be sure our presenter knows how much I appreciated her presentation style and the depth of knowledge she shared with us this morning. I also want to be sure she is aware that any lack of interactive participation on my part was the result of managing the technology, not because I wasn’t engaged and curious. In other circumstances, there were certainly questions I would have asked at the end (to get additional perspective and information, not because there was any lack of clarity in the presentation.)
I’m blind. I can use Zoom to participate in meetings and calls without difficulty (using my phone or computer with speech access software.) But it can sometimes be challenging to both listen to the speaker and participate in chat messaging simultaneously since I’m listening to both. This often means prioritizing between listening to the speaker and participating in chat conversation— even if I pause to type in questions/responses, it means taking my attention away from what is being said by others at the time. ((Sighted participants can more readily split their attention between listening to the speaker, and (visually) reading the chat screen/typing into the message box/controlling their software at the same time.) Even diverting my attention to muting/unmuting can mean missing something which is being said.
So any “silence” on my part during today’s call was simply my choosing to pay attention to what was being said/to the answers to other people’s questions rather than focusing on entering my own questions or reactions or finding the correct buttons to unmute or indicate a raised hand. (I hate interrupting without raising a hand first— it feels so rude!) I know this can make it seem I’m not paying full attention or am not actively involved and I wanted to be sure she wasn’t left with that impression because the talk definitely held my attention and left me with matters to explore on my own.
On a related note, I also wanted to compliment Jade on the way she handled incorporating visual information into her presentation. When using visual aids to illustrate her talk (maps, images, etc) she did an excellent job of incorporating the information being illustrated into what she was saying at the time. She described what she intended to convey— telling us what was in the map or image and what information we could get from what we were being shown. So without specifically planning for it, I believe I was able to follow what she was saying/showing us with the visuals and to come away with most if not all of what was being illustrated. (I can’t tell you how many college and graduate school professors lost me during lectures by over-using “this” and “that,” “over here” and assuming the visuals would speak for themselves without interpretation! And they *knew* I was there, trying to follow what they were saying.) So my specific thanks and cudos for that job well done!
thanks again for the experience. It certainly paralleled the quality of the in-person Context tours I’ve taken in the past and more than met my expectations.
-Carla

T
T.

excellent variety of courses; I thought that this particular subject matter was very unique

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.

I’m enjoying the talks.It helps keep my spirits up by traveling and learning with the experts until we can take a live tour again.

C
C.

I thoroughly enjoyed today’s presentation- The presenter was engaging and the content fascinating. I will definitely register for another of these seminars very soon.
I want to be sure our presenter knows how much I appreciated her presentation style and the depth of knowledge she shared with us this morning. I also want to be sure she is aware that any lack of interactive participation on my part was the result of managing the technology, not because I wasn’t engaged and curious. In other circumstances, there were certainly questions I would have asked at the end (to get additional perspective and information, not because there was any lack of clarity in the presentation.)
I’m blind. I can use Zoom to participate in meetings and calls without difficulty (using my phone or computer with speech access software.) But it can sometimes be challenging to both listen to the speaker and participate in chat messaging simultaneously since I’m listening to both. This often means prioritizing between listening to the speaker and participating in chat conversation— even if I pause to type in questions/responses, it means taking my attention away from what is being said by others at the time. ((Sighted participants can more readily split their attention between listening to the speaker, and (visually) reading the chat screen/typing into the message box/controlling their software at the same time.) Even diverting my attention to muting/unmuting can mean missing something which is being said.
So any “silence” on my part during today’s call was simply my choosing to pay attention to what was being said/to the answers to other people’s questions rather than focusing on entering my own questions or reactions or finding the correct buttons to unmute or indicate a raised hand. (I hate interrupting without raising a hand first— it feels so rude!) I know this can make it seem I’m not paying full attention or am not actively involved and I wanted to be sure she wasn’t left with that impression because the talk definitely held my attention and left me with matters to explore on my own.
On a related note, I also wanted to compliment Jade on the way she handled incorporating visual information into her presentation. When using visual aids to illustrate her talk (maps, images, etc) she did an excellent job of incorporating the information being illustrated into what she was saying at the time. She described what she intended to convey— telling us what was in the map or image and what information we could get from what we were being shown. So without specifically planning for it, I believe I was able to follow what she was saying/showing us with the visuals and to come away with most if not all of what was being illustrated. (I can’t tell you how many college and graduate school professors lost me during lectures by over-using “this” and “that,” “over here” and assuming the visuals would speak for themselves without interpretation! And they *knew* I was there, trying to follow what they were saying.) So my specific thanks and cudos for that job well done!
thanks again for the experience. It certainly paralleled the quality of the in-person Context tours I’ve taken in the past and more than met my expectations.
-Carla

T
T.

excellent variety of courses; I thought that this particular subject matter was very unique