Friday, May 27, 2011

Note on the Asteroid Vesta

by Milky Way Maid

I've been reading a book about Roman times, and came across some references to the Vestal Virgins. You might want to make a note of this if you use the asteroids.

It seems that the Vestal Virgins of Rome were charged with not only keeping up prayers to the gods. They were also charged with the duty of keeping wills. They had a system for storing all the wills that had been entered to their keeping, so that a particular will could be quickly located upon the demise of the owner. The Vestals held over two million wills. Wills from provinces and foreign countries were in one wing, Italian wills in another area, and those from Rome itself in yet another. The temple had upstairs, downstairs and part of a basement devoted to storage of these wills.

And the most important part of their mission was to protect the privacy of these wills. No one was to have access to learn the contents of these wills until after the demise of the owner/writer. No bumping off old Uncle Cornelius or Aunt Livia to gain the thousand talents he or she intends to bestow on you.

So we can add 'privacy' to the list of ideas attached to the asteroid Vesta. I had already suspected that privacy was key to Vesta rather than security as so many suppose, and this just seals it for me.

Vesta has nothing to do with the writing of the wills, per se; that would come under the purview of Mercury or perhaps the signs Gemini and Virgo. She has nothing to do with the legal functions connected with estates; that would come under Jupiter (law) and the eighth and ninth houses. She has nothing to do with the lawyers who draw up the will; that would possibly come under the purview of Pallas Athena, in her role as advocate. And she has nothing to do with the wealth redistributed upon execution of the estate; that might come under the purview of Pluto, the immensely wealthy god of mining riches.

Vesta just maintains the privacy of personal records and in particular the privacy of wills. There have been only rare breaches of this sacred duty, one of which was when the contents of Marcus Antonius' will became public and caused a political brouhaha. But this is a case when the exception proves the rule, as my old fourth grade teacher used to say.