Prof. Lanciani spoke last evening on the Discovery of the House of the Vestals. He said the recent excavations about the foot of the Palatine have brought to light many historical inscriptions, which have enabled him to trace much of the history and manner of life of the vestals. This order was held in the deepest reverence by all classes of people. Its influence in the state was tremendous. The highest honors of the Empire were bestowed on its members. The time they were pledged to the service of Vesta was thirty years, which period was divided into three decades. In each of these respectively, they learned, practiced, and taught to the novices, the duties of the office. When the pledged time had expired, they were free to return to their families. This however, they rarely did, because of the power and honors they obtained as Vestals.
The severest penalties were inflicted on any nun who broke her vow to Vesta. The reverence which even the early Christians felt for this order is shown by the fact that when the Temple of the goddess was confiscated, none of the ornaments or decorations were injured.