HESTIA, in Greek mythology, the "fire-goddess," daughter of Cronus and Rhea, the goddess of hearth and home.
He seems to have regarded the soul as composed of igneous matter, and so approximates the orthodox Pythagorean doctrine of the central fire, or Hestia, to the more detailed theories of Heraclitus.
The fire of Hestia was always kept burning, and, if by any accident it became extinct, only sacred fire produced by friction, or by burning glasses drawing fire from the sun, might be used to rekindle it.
Hestia is the goddess of the family union, the personification of the idea of home; and as the city union is only the family union on a large scale, she was regarded as the goddess of the state.
Hestia was closely connected with Zeus, the god of the family both in its external relation of hospitality and its internal unity round its own hearth; in the Odyssey a form of oath is by Zeus, the table and the hearth.
Again, Hestia is often associated with Hermes, the two representing home and domestic life on the one hand, and business and outdoor life on the other; or, according to others, the association is local - that of the god of boundaries with the goddess of the house.
In later philosophy Hestia became the hearth of the universe - the personification of the earth as the centre of the universe, identified with Cybele and Demeter.
As Hestia had her home in the prytaneum, special temples dedicated to her are of rare occurrence.
It is not certain that any really Greek statues of Hestia are in existence, although the Giustiniani Vesta in the Torlonia Museum is usually accepted as such.
The Roman deity corresponding to the Greek Hestia is Vesta.
Preuner, Hestia-Vesta (1864), the standard treatise on the subject, and his article in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie; J.
Hestia presided over cities; there was even a common Hestia for all Greece.
Their children were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades a.nd Poseidon.
So also it was needful that, like a Greek city, it should have a public hearth or prytaneum, where fire should always burn on the altar of the Olympian Hestia, and where the controllers of Olympia should exercise public hospitality.
It contained a chapel of Hestia at the front or south-west side, before which a portico was afterwards built.