Text #9614"Vestal Virgins", in .
The College of the Vestals was disbanded and the sacred fire extinguished in 394, by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius I. Zosimus records how the Christian noblewoman Serena, niece of Theodosius, entered the temple and took from the statue of the goddess a necklace and placed it on her own neck. An old woman appeared, the last of the Vestals, who proceeded to rebuke Serena and called down upon her all just punishment for her act of impiety. According to Zosimus, Serena was then subject to dreadful dreams predicting her own untimely death. Augustine would be inspired to write The City of God in response to murmurings that the capture of Rome and the disintegration of its empire was due to the advent of the Christian era and its intolerance of the old gods who had defended the city for over a thousand years.
The last known chief vestal was Coelia Concordia, who stepped down in 394 with the disbanding of the College of the Vestals.