In Greek mythology Hestia (Ancient Greek: Ἑστία meaning "hearth" or "fireside") eldest daughter of Kronos and Rhea, is the virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture, and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia's public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement. She sat on a plain wooden throne with a white woolen cushion and did not trouble to choose an emblem for herself.
As the hearth was looked upon as the sacred centre of domestic life, so Hestia was the goddess of domestic life and the giver of all domestic happiness and blessings, and as such she was believed to dwell in the inner part of every house and to have invented the art of building houses. In this respect she appears often together with Hermes, as protecting the works of man. As the hearth of a house is at the same time the altar on which sacrifices are offered to the domestic gods, Hestia was looked upon as presiding at all sacrifices, and, as the goddess of the sacred fire of the altar, she had a share in the sacrifices in all the temples of the gods. Hence when sacrifices were offered, she was invoked first, and the first part of the sacrifice was offered to her. Solemn oaths were sworn by the goddess of the hearth, and the hearth itself was the sacred asylum where suppliants implored the protection of the inhabitants of the house.
In myth Hestia was the first born child of Kronos and Rhea who was swallowed by her father at birth. Zeus later forced the old Titan to disgorge Hestia and her siblings. As the first to be swallowed she was also the last to be disgorged, and so was named as both the eldest and youngest of the six Kronides. When the gods Apollon and Poseidon sought for her hand in marriage, Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin. He agreed and she took her place at his royal hearth.
Romans worshipped the same goddess, or rather the same ideas embodied in her, under the name of Vesta, which is in reality identical with Hestia; but as the Roman worship of Vesta differed in several points from that of Hestia in Greece.