Vesta, too, passed from the home to the state, always retaining a circular temple reminiscent of the primitive huts whose form can be reconstructed from traces left in the earth and from surviving funerary urns.
Vesta’s shrine contained the eternal fire, but the absence of a statue indicates that it preceded the anthropomorphic period; its correspondence with the Indian “house-father’s fire,” suggest an origin prior to the time of the differentiation of the Indo-European-speaking peoples.
Later, he was identified with the Greek god of war, Ares, and also was regarded as the father of Romulus.
Mars Gradivus presided over the beginning of a war and Mars Quirinus over its end, but earlier Quirinus had apparently, as a separate deity, been the patron of the Quirinal village before its amalgamation with the Palatine; subsequently he was believed to have been the god that Romulus became when he ascended into heaven.
They also came to be regarded as national protectors, the Penates Publici. The legend that they had been brought to Italy by Aeneas with his followers from Troy was imported from Lavinium (Pratica di Mare) when the early Romans incorporated that town into their own state. Diana, an Italian wood goddess worshiped at Aricia (Ariccia) in Latium and prayed to by women who wanted children, was in due course identified with the Greek Artemis.
Her temple on the Aventine Hill () with its statue, an imitation of a Greek model from Massilia (Marseille), was based on the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus.
By establishing such a sanctuary, the Roman monarch Servius Tullius hoped to emulate the Pan-Ionian League among the Latin peoples.
The cult of Vesta, tended by her Virgins, continued to flourish until the end of antiquity, endowed with an important role in the sacred protectorship of Rome.The early Romans, like other Italians, worshiped not only purely functional and local forces but also certain high gods.Chief among them was the sky god Jupiter, whose cult, at first limited to the communities around the Alban Hills, later gained Rome as an adherent.The Roman temple, built in the Etruscan style but with Greek ornamentation, stood beside a Greek trading centre on the Aventine Hill and became a rallying ground for the plebeians, the humbler section of the community who were hard hit by the grain shortage at this time and who were pressing for their rights against the patricians.Sibylline Books at a time when Rome, as on earlier occasions, had requested Cumae for help with grain.