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Hestia - Goddess of Hearth and Fire

The first-born of the six children of Rhea and Cronus, Hestia was the kindest, most virtuous and most charitable of all the Olympian gods and goddesses. As goddess of the hearth and fire - the symbolic center of the home - she watched over the home, household activities, and the family.

Indeed, some storytellers assert that Hestia herself invented the art of building houses. By extension, she also protected the community, the civic affairs of the communal family.

Unlike most other greek gods and goddesses, she had few shrines built to honor her. But she needed none, for every home was her shrine, as well as the public hearth of every city. Suppliants could seek her protection in any private home or in the city hall.

Protecting Her Chastity

The goddess of the home and family never had a family of her own. At one time, both Poseidon and the younger god Apollo pursued her, and the competition for her favor threatened to get ugly. But her supreme dedication to peace never allowed her to take part in wars, rivalries, or other disputes.

So in order to mainain peace on Olympus, Hestia turned down both rivals and swore by Zeus's head to maintain her chastity forever. Thereafter she withstodd all amorous advances by gods, Titans, and mortals alike. Zeus rewarded her for this sacrifice by guranteeing her the honor of receiving the first portion of every public sacrifice.

Only once did she come close to loosing her chastity. One night at a rustic feast, the gods ate and drank too much and fell asleep or passed out from overindulgence. Priapus, an incredibly ugly man possessed of grossly elephantine gentals, prepared to mount her. But just as he lowered himself on top of her, a braying ass woke Hestia up. The goddess screamed and Priapus skittered away like a scared rabbit.



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