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date: 20 January 2021


  • Andrew Drummond


Lucretia, wife of L. *Tarquinius Collatinus, was raped by Sextus, the son of *Tarquinius Superbus; her subsequent suicide because of her dishonour was the catalyst for the expulsion of the Tarquins by L. *Iunius Brutus. The legend, probably originally distinct from that of Brutus but already linked with it in Q. *Fabius Pictor (cf. fr., utilizes Greek notions to explain the overthrow of tyranny; but, particularly in Livy, Lucretia, implicitly contrasted with *Tanaquil and *Tullia (1), becomes a paradigm of the republican matrona (married woman), heroic in her resolute adhesion to the code of female chastity. In reality, however, she is the victim not only of male violence, but also of the ideology of a patriarchal society.

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