sculpture of Hestia on the Parthenon

  Hestia was the daughter of Cronos and Rhea and sister to Zeus, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon. She wsas the goddess of the hearth (the fireplace where food was cooked), the home, and feasts.

A prayer was spoken to her before and after all feasts. As the goddess of the hearth, she was also goddess of altars, outside temples, where sacrifices of animals were burnt to the gods. She therefore had a place in every temple. At Delphi there was a fire in the temple of Apollo dedicated to Hestia, which was never allowed to go out - an eternal flame.


There a very few myths about Hestia. She was a mild, charitable goddess, and refused to have any love affairs with other gods (as did Artemis and Athena)

An Homeric Hymn which mentions Hestia:

"Zeus the Father gave her [Hestia] a high honour instead of marriage, and she has her place in the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the temples of the gods she has a share of honour, and among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses."

  Goddess of the Home

As the hearth was the centre of religious sacrifice and worship in the ordinary family home, Hestia was the centre of domestic religion. She had no temples of her own, but did not need one as she was worshipped in every home.