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Italy, Rome, Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum.
Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum in Rome. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Vesta. All temples to Vesta were round, and had entrances facing east to symbolize connection between Vestaís fire and the sun as sources of life. The Temple of Vesta represents the site of ancient cult activity as far back as 7th century BCE. Numa Pompilius is believed to have built this temple along with the original Regia and House of the Vestal Virgins in its original form. Around the Temple stood The Sacred Grove, in which also there was a graveyard for the priests and virgins. It was one of the earliest structures located in the Roman Forum although its present reincarnation is the result of subsequent rebuilding. Instead of a cult statue in the cella there was a hearth which held the sacred flame. The temple was the storehouse for the legal wills and documents of Roman Senators and cult objects such as the Palladium. The Palladium was a statue of Athena (Roman Minerva) believed to have been brought by Aeneas from Troy; the statue was felt to be one of the Pignora Imperii, or pledges of imperium, of Ancient Rome. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Romans believed that the Sacred fire of Vesta was closely tied to the fortunes of the city and viewed its extinction as a portent of disaster. The sacred flame was put out in 394 by Theodosius I after he won the Battle of the Frigidus, defeating Eugenius and Arbogast. The Temple of Vesta remained reasonably intact until the Renaissance. However, in 1549 the building was completely demolished and its marble reused in churches and papal palaces. The section standing today was reconstructed in the 1930s during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

By Wknight94, 26 April 2008. Source:
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