In Greek Mythology, Hestia is the Goddess of Hearth and Home. Although a central figure in the daily lives of ancient Greeks, Hestia has a low key role in Greek Mythology.
The Greek Goddess Hestia
Along with Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy, and Artemis, the goddess of hunt, Hestia was one of the three virgin goddesses and one of the twelve Olympian deities. She was the goddess of the hearth, architecture, domesticity, family, home, and the state.
Daughter to the Titans Kronos and Rhea, she is the eldest sister of important deities like Hades, Hera and Zeus, the last one whom to she made the promise to always remain a pure virgin. Because of this oath, Hestia rejected marriage proposals from Poseidon and Apollo, since it was now determined she was to always be untouched by men.
Goddess of Hearth and Home
Even though Hestia made this promise to Zeus, home and the family were her domain. She was the personification of every fire burning in all hearth’s across Greece. There was also a public hearth in every city burning in Hestia’s honor. This was a fire that could never go out. When new colonies were founded, a flame was taken from the old city to the new.
Meals in all households of Ancient Greece began and ended by making an offering to Hestia. Newborns to the family were blessed by being presented at her hearth.
Many Greek temples had a ‘Hestia’ area, including the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.
Hestia in Greek Mythology
Hestia is omitted from many stories and doesn’t play a significant part in Greek mythology. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t important though. In many ways, she might be considered a Goddess that people interacted with on a daily basis.
Hestia was regarded as one of the kindest and most compassionate amongst all the Gods. Perhaps the first example of a benign God or Goddess. Generally speaking, Hestia has a low key role in Greek Mythology.
What powers and skills does she have?
Because Hestia was the goddess of Hearth and Home, she was regarded as the fireplace of Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, and the hearth of all gods and goddesses themselves. She also personified the fire burning in Greek households.
Hestia was the one welcoming people into their homes, while guarding and watching over them. Hestia is thought to have helped and taught the people of Greece to build their houses. This reinforced her status as the kindest and truest protector of home and family.
What interesting children did she have?
The goddess Hestia made a vow to her brother Zeus that she would forever stay a maiden. This meant that the goddess of hearth couldn’t tie herself to any man, whether by marriage or physical intimacy.
Hestia upheld her promise to Zeus, and rejected all marriage proposals that ever came her way. These included those made by Poseidon, god of the sea, and Apollo, god of war, both very powerful and influential deities.
The impossibility of Hestia to give up her virginity signified she couldn’t birth any children of her own. Therefore, Hestia remained childless and devoted herself to care for other’s families.
What role does Hestia play in the Percy Jackson books?
The first time Hestia makes an appearance in the Percy Jackson book series the goddess goes rather unnoticed. In The Lightning Thief, Percy sees a girl next to the hearth at Camp Half-Blood, without realizing she was the goddess herself. Very much in keeping with her low key mentions in Greek Mythology!
It’s only in The Last Olympian, that Hestia arrives, truly shining and making a difference. The goddess appears to Percy Jackson in Connecticut with an omen. If Percy truly wishes to comprehend his enemy, Luke, he needs to understand his family.
Here, she comes to Percy as an eight year-old girl with kind red eyes. She gives him visions of what happened to Luke growing up, and why he became what he is. Again remaining truth to herself, Hestia is the one constantly reminding Percy that once the gods are off to fight, home and hearth will endure.
Hestia in Percy Jackson Series
Hestia’s role goes beyond this, as she is also the goddess who helps Rachel Elizabeth to become the Oracle of Delphi, and the one Percy enlists as the guardian of Pandora’s Pithos.
Hestia plays a crucial part in the Battle of Manhattan at Mount Olympus. She’s the one who keeps Kronos from taking possession of Luke’s sword, Backbiter, once it falls into the hearth. She accomplishes this by heating it to a temperature so unbelievably high, the Titan can’t take the sword back.
Much like in Greek mythology, in the Percy Jackson books Hestia is revealed to be a kind, mild, soft goddess. Her deep desire to keep all families, including her own, calm, happy and free from turbulence is portrayed as one of her biggest traits.
Her role in helping Percy understand his enemy’s background through his childhood and upbringing shows how much Hestia fully comprehends the importance family and the home can have in a person, which is why the goddess dedicates her life to ensure the harmony and happiness of every household she watches over and guards.
Proving time and time again what a caring and responsible goddess she is by guiding and advising Percy through his journey in The Last
Olympian, Hestia also shows signs of great strength, courage and wisdom by taking part in the last battle against her father, the titan Kronos.
Even though her role in the previous books was either fully absent or very small and irrelevant, the goddess of hearth appears when it matters most. She plays a crucial role in the events that take place, as well as their resolution, with grace, purity and an unbent will to do what is right for the world and her own family.
Are there any Greek temples dedicated to Hestia?
In Ancient Greece, Hestia did not have any public cult to be worshipped in. However, every city had a common hearth that was kept burning at all times in honor of the goddess. Additionally, households all across the country kept their own, personal hearth in the name of Hestia. During meals, families poured sweet wine in her honor. They also granted her the biggest portion of food before meals, and worshiped her after.
Even though Hestia remained with very few temples, she was often worshipped in others, regardless of what god they were dedicated to. This only comes to show that people never forgot her significance and were ever so grateful for her watchful eye, care and protection.
Without temples or children, staying simple, modest and kind, Hestia, the Goddess of Hearth, always remained appreciated and loved all throughout ancient Greece, by gods and mortals alike.
Find out more about Hestia
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