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Hestia, in Greek means "Hearth," is considered one of the oldest matriarchal goddesses. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She represented the home place, every man's "center of the world." In time of matriarchal rule "The hearth was in the midst of the dwelling; the hearth was to each member of the household, as it were, an umbilicum orbis, or navel of the earth…[h]earth being only another form of earth, as in the German erde and herde." Pythagoras said the fire of Hestia was the center of the earth.

Hestia was without a consort, for no god could share her strictly matriarchal providence, the Prytaneum or public hearth of every town. It was said of her that "seated in the midst of the celestial dwelling-place she receives the richest part of the sacrifices, among men she is of all the deities the most venerated."

Hestia's Roman counterpart was Vesta. A.G.H.


Walker, Barbara G, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, p. 400 Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 105

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