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Vestal Virgin

A Vestal who broke her vow of chastity was buried alive, as happened to Cornelia, a Chief Vestal (vestalis maxima) condemned to death by Domitian in AD 90. The statue of a Chief Vestal pictured above was found in the House of the Vestals.

In his History of Rome, Livy writes of Postumia, a Vestal Virgin who was put on trial for a sexual offense. Even though she was innocent,

"the fact that she dressed well and talked rather more freely and wittily than a young girl should, up to a point justified the suspicion against her. She was remanded, and afterwards acquitted, with a warning from the Pontifex Maximus, in the name of the college of priests, to stop making jokes and to dress in future with more regard to sanctity and less to elegance."

Reference: The illustration is from What Life Was Like: When Rome Ruled the World: The Roman Empire, 100 BC-AD 200 (1997) by the Editors of Time-Life Books.