Friday, July 2, 2010

Myths and Legends: Death of Lucretia

The Death of Lucretia. To find out more about the Roman legend of Lucretia, see this Wikipedia article: link; for information about the image: image source.

The death of Lucretia is a famous legend from Roman history, dating to the sixth century B.C.E. The king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus ("Tarquin the Proud"), had sent his son, Sextus Tarquinius, to the home of Lucius Collatinus, a Roman governor and distant relative of the king. Collatinus had a wife, Lucretia, who welcomed Sextus Tarquinius to their home as her husband was away on military business. During the night, Sextus made his way to Lucretia's bedroom. He insisted that she have sex with him or, if she refused, he would kill her along with one of her slaves and claim that he had caught them in the act of adultery. Sextus then proceeded to rape Lucretia. He left the next day, whereupon Lucretia went to her father's house. She told him what had happened and begged him to avenge her; she then took a dagger and stabbed herself, dying in her father's arms. A conspiracy of Roman noblemen then swore on that dagger that they would overthrow the king - and as a result of this rebellion, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the last king of Rome. He went into exile with two of his sons; Sextus, however, was executed for his crimes. The Republic that was then established lasted for many centuries and when the Republic itself came to an end, the rulers of Rome were "emperors," not kings.

You can also find more myths and legends for the week of July 1-7 here. For more information and links to the actual javascript code, see the Myths & Legends Widget Reference Page.