In Greek mythology, virginal Hestia is the goddess of the hearth, of the right ordering of domesticity and the family, who received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household, but had no public cult. In Roman mythology her approximate equivalent was Vesta, who personified the public hearth, and whose cult round the ever-burning hearth bound Romans together in the form of an extended family.
Her name means "home and hearth": the household and its inhabitants. Hestia symbolizes the alliance between the colonies and their mother-cities and is the oldest daughter of Rhea and Cronus, sister to Zeus, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Demeter. Originally listed as one of the Twelve Olympians, Hestia was later removed in favour of Dionysus. Afterwards, she tended the sacred fire on Mt. Olympus. Her altars included every family hearth.
Immediately after their birth, Cronus swallowed Hestia and her siblings except for Zeus, who later rescued them and led them in a war against Cronus and the other Titans. Hestia vowed to forever remain a virgin and refused Poseidon and Apollo when they came calling.
- Wikipedia. (2005). Hestia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hestia). Retrieved on 02/25/2005.