Rape of Lucretia (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Lucretia, a Roman noblewoman, was raped by Tarquinius Sextus, the king’s son. Her appeal to her husband and father for vengeance brought about the end of the Roman monarchy and the beginning of the Roman Republic.
Summary of Event
The traditional date for the end of the Roman monarchy and the beginning of the Roman Republic is 509 b.c.e. The canonical version of the story was written by Titus Livius, better known as Livy (59 b.c.e.-17 c.e.), in his Ab urbe condita libre (c. 26 b.c.e.-15 c.e.; The History of Rome, 1600). According to Livy, the seventh and last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was a tyrant who treated the Roman people like slaves and executed those who might oppose him or whose wealth he coveted. During the siege of the wealthy town of Ardea, the leading young men—including Superbus’s son, Tarquinius Sextus—spent their evenings drinking and talking. One night, the discussion turned to wives. Each man argued that his own wife was the most beautiful and virtuous. Then Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, nephew of the king and a cousin of Sextus, declared that they should all ride to Rome and to Collatia, where they would see that his wife, Lucretia, was by far the best.
The intoxicated young men agreed and rode first to Rome, where they found their wives spending time eating and talking with friends. When they arrived at Collatinus’s house, they...
(The entire section is 1554 words.)
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