The Vestal virgin Julia finds herself divided between love and duty. She is duty bound to watch over the sacred flame in the temple. However, she is still in love with her former betrothed, the victorious general, Licinius. He tries to abduct her from the temple and while he escapes blame for profaning the temple, she is condemned for his intrusion and for allowing the sacred flame to go out. Julia is about to be executed when lightning strikes and the flame is renewed. This is taken as a sign of divine intervention on her behalf, and she and Licinius, whose attempts to exonerate her have failed, are re-united.
La Vestale (The Vestal Virgin) guide sections