La vestale 1280x680 © beyond | Leopold Kogler

Synopsis

After five years Licinius has returned to Rome as a victorious general. The city prepares a triumphal procession for its hero who, however, desires only to see his beloved Julia again. But now he learns that Julia was forced to become a Vestal Virgin. As such she had to swear a vow of chastity; if she breaks it, she will be walled  in alive. Licinius decides to risk abducting Julia from the temple. In the meantime Julia is told that she is the one to crown the young victor with the laurel next day. Her love for Licinius flares up again. At night Licinius enters and tries to take Julia with him. She refuses, but in this moment the sacred fire goes out, which is immediately  noticed. Licinius escapes. The high priest sentences Julia to death. Licinius’s   followers try to resolve Julia, but in the end the goddess herself saves Julia’s life: her  Vestal veil had been placed on the fireplace, and just before the last stone seals her tomb the goddess Vesta sets fire to the veil with a bolt of lightning, thus reigniting the sacred flame.