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date: 25 June 2022



  • Rebecca Langlands


Lucretia, the virtuous wife of Collatinus, was raped by a royal prince, Sextus Tarquinius, and killed herself after reporting the crime to her father and husband. Her death and the vengeance it inspired marked a turning point in Roman history in 509 bce, when Lucius Junius Brutus led the expulsion from Rome of the tyrannical Tarquinii, putting an end to monarchical rule, and founding the Roman republic; Brutus and Lucretia’s father Collatinus were elected the first pair of consuls. The avengers of Lucretia’s rape are thus champions of liberty, freeing Rome from tyranny. This is the core of one of Rome’s more powerful and enduring foundation legends. Although the episode is set in the 6th century bce, our most extensive early ancient accounts were written in the 1st centuries bce and ce by Livy, Ovid, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Augustan authors for whom Lucretia’s fate was a distant legend. Since antiquity, the story has been reworked and reinterpreted many times, in scholarship, political thought and philosophy, and literature and arts. It has been used to explore a wide range of political and moral ideas, including the ethical ramifications of both rape and suicide.


  • Roman History and Historiography

Updated in this version

Article rewritten to reflect current scholarship.

Lucretia and the Founding of the Roman Republic

Lucretia is one of the most famous of the exemplary heroes of early Roman history, and her story is at the heart of the foundation myth which the ancient Romans told about how in 509 bce they expelled their rulers the Tarquinii, freed the Roman people from tyranny, and established their republican system of elected consuls. Lucretia herself was a loyal wife and virtuous woman, but she was drawn into the political story when she attracted the lustful attentions of one of the royal princes, Sextus Tarquinius. By forcing her to have sex with him in her own home, Sextus acted with a disregard for the bodies and dignities of other people that is characteristic of tyrants in the ancient imagination, and his assault on her is seen as symbolic of the wider oppression of the Roman people by their rulers. Considering herself ruined by this sexual act, Lucretia killed herself, first calling on family and friends to avenge her; their subsequent vengeance not only drove the royal family out of Rome but put an end to the institution of monarchy itself.

Although the episode is set in the 6th century bce, our most extensive early ancient accounts were written in the 1st centuries bce and ce by Livy, Ovid, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Augustan authors for whom Lucretia’s fate was a distant legend. Written during the eventual fall of the republic and Augustus’ rise to power, these retellings of the myth reflect values and concerns of their era, including anxieties about the control of women’s sexuality, and about monarchy, the abuse of power, and the ideals of the Roman republic.

The canonical version, and most vivid account, is that of Livy Histories Book 1.57–60.1 In summary, the story unfolds c. 509 bce, when a group of leading Roman men are laying siege to the nearby city of Ardea. Bored and drinking together one evening, they begin to argue about whose wife is the most virtuous. Collatinus suggests they resolve the matter by visiting the homes of each man in turn to take their wives by surprise. All the other wives are found partying, but the wife of Collatinus, Lucretia, is found quietly wool-working with her servants (an occupation associated in ancient Rome with wifely virtue).2 At the combination of her beauty and her manifest virtue, Sextus Tarquinius (in Livy’s version, the king’s son) is inflamed with lust for Lucretia, and with desire to violate her. Some days later he returns to her house in Collatia as a guest, while Collatinus is away, and enters her bedroom at night, with a drawn sword. Declaring his passion for Lucretia, he tries to persuade her to have sex with him with entreaties and threats, but she refuses him, unafraid of death. Finally he threatens her with disgrace: if she refuses him again, he will kill a male slave and place him in the bed next to her corpse, to imply that he has caught her in adulterous sex with a slave. In order to avoid bringing such disgrace upon her husband and family, Lucretia agrees to have sex with him. After his triumphant departure, she summons her husband and father, and explains what has happened. Although her body has been sullied, she says, her mind is innocent. To prove that she complied unwillingly with Tarquinius’s demand, she now proposes to kill herself, lest adulterous woman should in the future take her as a precedent for adultery. She urges the men to avenge her. They try to dissuade her, but, ignoring them, she plunges the dagger into her heart. Lucius Junius Brutus, a trusted friend who is present, pulls the dagger from her wound and swears to destroy the Tarquins. Displaying her corpse publicly in the forum Romanum, he calls on the people to avenge her death and expel the tyrants. Her rape and death thereby become the catalyst for the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Roman republic.

Some details differ in other accounts. For the Greek writers Diodorus Siculus (10.20–22) and Dionysius of Halicarnassus (4.64), there is no competition between the husbands, and the story begins with Tarquinius a guest in Lucretia’s house.3 These two Greek authors (with Ovid) both suggest that Tarquinius primarily desires Lucretia for her beauty, while other sources suggest it is her spotless reputation that arouses him.4 In Dionysius’s account, Tarquinius offers Lucretia the chance to rule at his side as queen; after the rape, Lucretia travels from Collatia to Rome, dressed in black, to meet the men rather than inviting the men to her; after her death Brutus delivers a speech in praise of Lucretia over her dead body, describing her as an inspiration to men and as having the mental attitude of a man, although her nature was female (Dion. Hal. 4.82; see also Valerius Maximus 6.1.1, who describes her as having “a man’s spirit allotted by a cruel twist of fate to a woman’s body,” and Ovid who calls her “a woman of masculine spirit”). Her husband Collatinus is not accorded a major role in Dionysius’s account, perhaps because in the light of Augustan legislation on adultery his role in the competition of the wives risks looking like the crime of pimping (lenocinium).5 In Ovid’s Fasti (2.721–852), as befits the erotic focus of elegiac poetry, Lucretia’s charm is emphasized and her beauty is described in greater detail; far from delivering a rousing speech, she is too distressed to speak about the assault.6

The origins of the legend are obscure, and elements may have been drawn from Athenian and Etruscan traditions. The competition between the husbands may derive from the story of Gyges and Candaules’s wife told by Herodotus (1) (Hdt. 1.8–13).7 The motif of a tyrant overthrown as a consequence of sexual abuse is paralleled in the Athenian story of the overthrow of the tyrant Hipparchus (1) by the lovers Harmodius and Aristogiton.8 There is evidence that the characters of Lucretia and Brutus featured in theatrical performances in the mid-2nd century.9 Etruscan versions of the story may have cast Lucretia as the seductress of the virtuous prince, as seems to be depicted on some Etruscan vases found in Volterra.10

Lucretia’s Significance in Ancient Rome

Lucretia is cited extensively in ancient literature as a moral paradigm. She is most closely associated with sexual virtue (pudicitia) and chastity (Val. Max. 6.1.1., Sil. Pun. 13.821, Mart. 1.90), but is also used to illustrate female courage and moral excellence more generally (Sen. ad Marciam 16.2), as an inspiration to and model for Roman women, and sometimes for Roman men as well (as in Dionysius’s account; see also Cass. Dio 2.13–19).11 Her story is also used to make political points about the dangers of monarchy (Cic. Rep. 2.45).

The story illustrates the patriarchal values and structures of ancient Rome, but may also critique them. Within patriarchy, women are the property of men (usually their husbands or fathers), and men feel entitled to control women’s bodies. Within the Roman code of honour, a wife’s chastity and fidelity are highly valued and reflect on her husband; hence the husbands’ boasting of their wives’ virtue. To violate another man’s wife (the crime of adultery) is to commit an offence against that man, rather than against the woman herself, and there is little focus in the ancient Roman sources on the issue of a woman’s consent or distress (see criminal law, roman and feminism and ancient literature).12 The damage done to Lucretia is conceptualized rather in terms of her diminished value as a wife. However, by allowing Lucretia to speak out about her lack of complicity in the crime and to prove her virtue through her suicide, the story draws attention to the experience and volition of the woman in such situations. Lucretia is able to voice distress, revulsion, and resistance. In this context, Lucretia’s story was a touchstone for reflection on sexual morality; it allowed the Romans to explore the question of what sexual virtue was, and whether it lay in the mind or the body. Does Lucretia remain pure because her own intentions were virtuous, or is her virtue damaged by the physical act? While Lucretia is a paradigm of steadfast sexual virtue, the story also embodies ancient anxieties about the regulation of women’s sexual behaviour and the requirement that women be visibly chaste and virtuous. In Livy’s account it is Lucretia’s splendid virtue, illustrated by her wool-working late into the night, that first arouses Tarquinius’ desire, and the boastful competitiveness of her husband that sets events in motion.13

The ancient sources represent Tarquinius as motivated by passionate love.14 Such a representation of a rapist’s motivation is characteristic of patriarchal societies. Yet the story also recognizes that his rape of Lucretia is an exercise of power as much as a sexual act.15 As Patricia Klindienst puts it, “the violence is not erotic, but political,” and she describes the lust as “a cover story” for political rivalry among leading men.16 Tarquinius is also motivated by a desire to “ruin” another man’s prize possession and reassert his superiority after the humiliation of being beaten in the ‘virtuous wife’ competition. This is why he is so keen to win Lucretia’s consent, since the corruption of her virtue and the seduction of a willing wife would deliver the worst blow to her husband.

In Lucretia’s story, the themes of sex and politics are tightly entwined. The theme of abusive power is repeated on political and personal levels, so that the sexual coercion and assault inflicted on Lucretia are emblematic of the abusive political power wielded more generally by the tyrannical Tarquinius family. The quality of pudicitia which Lucretia embodies, and which she dies to protect, is central to the free status of Romans, protection from violation.

The rape of women is a recurrent theme in Roman foundation legends (for instance Rhea Silva, the Sabine women, Verginia), and sexual violence is often associated with political change.17 From an anthropological perspective, Lucretia represents the blood sacrifice that is needed for the founding of the republic.18

Post-Classical Reception and Interpretation

Post-classical reworkings of Lucretia’s story are legion, and only the briefest survey is possible here. Since antiquity, the story has been reworked and reinterpreted many times, in scholarship, political thought and philosophy, literature and arts, and in relation to changing ideas about sex, marriage, rape, gender, politics, and morality. It has been used to explore a wide range of political and moral ideas, including the ethical ramifications of both rape and suicide. Different moments in the story—the rape, the confession, the suicide or Brutus’s response—and different aspects of the narrative—political, sexual, moral—have been the focus in different periods and contexts: Brutus’s oath in the revolutionary 18th century, Lucretia’s chaste corpse in 14th-century Florence, her brave suicide for Renaissance defenders of women, the suspenseful moment just before the rape for Italian Renaissance painters. Often her name is used simply as a byword for chastity or wifely constancy or courage; however, many texts execute a full-scale exploration of the psychology of different actors in the story and the moral significance of their actions.

Early Christian writers such as Tertullian and Jerome offered Lucretia as a paradigm of wifely virtue for Christian women. They described her suicide as washing away her body’s sin with her own blood.19 In the 5th century, however, Augustine introduced a note of provocation, casting doubt on her virtue with the conundrum: “if she is adulterous, why is she praised? If she is chaste, why was she put to death?” (De civ. D. 1.19). He offered various possible interpretations: Lucretia may have killed herself as punishment for her own complicity in (or even desire for) the rape, or to seek glory. In the light of Christian condemnation of suicide, Lucretia’s decision to kill herself was problematic; at the same time, there is a clear distinction from a Christian perspective between adultery and rape, and there was no reason why a woman should need to end her life as a result of rape. Augustine’s discussion raised some challenging questions about suicide, virtue, and reputation, as well as about rape and consent.20

These questions continued to resonate. The medieval English poets Chaucer and John Gower both had Lucretia swoon at the moment of rape in order to exonerate her from any accusation of pleasure.21 The Italian Poliziano (Stanze II.IV) portrays her as an example of “hard” (dura, rigida) female resistance to an ardent lover. A notable treatment is William Shakespeare’s long narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece (1594), which explores the ambiguous theme of women’s assent to male violation.22 In Machiavelli’s satirical comedy Mandragola (The Mandrake, 1524) Lucretia starts out as a faithful wife but ends up willingly committing adultery and murder, seizing the opportunities offered by Fortune; some critics have read this as a satirical response to Augustine’s ethical conundrum and a mockery of contemporary Christianity.23 In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s unfinished tragedy La Mort de Lucrèce (1754) Tarquinius is encouraged by her own husband to seduce Lucretia. In Benjamin Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia (first performed 1946) the message is one of Christian redemption.

The works of Machiavelli and Rousseau also elaborate the political ramifications of the story, using it to engage with the republican ideologies of their own day.24 Machiavelli’s Discourses (III.26, c. 1517) include Lucretia’s story as an illustration of “How states are ruined because of women.” Coluccio Salutati’s Declamatio Lucretiae (c. 1380s) had dramatized the debate between Lucretia and her menfolk, and Stephanie Jed argues that this work illustrates how the twin ideals of Renaissance humanism and republican liberty were implicitly founded on the repression of women and violence against them. As she puts it, feminist readings of the story should seek to “short-circuit the economy of pleasure afforded by reproducing the story of the rape,” and she does so by attempting to dismantle the long-standing symbolic connection between rape and republican liberty.25 Melissa Matthes also argues that Lucretia’s story is a cornerstone of a (gendered) form of post-classical republicanism. The tale is symbolic of the struggle to repress female otherness that necessarily takes place at the founding of a republic, as a means of establishing a community of citizens held together by bonds of fraternity. In this interpretation, the sacrifice of Lucretia marks the transition from the individual and personal to the collective, whereby the state is prioritized over the family. The sexual violation and death of women are emblematic in the political thought both of Machiavelli and Rousseau of the sacrifices needed to found a republic and of the fragility of republican community.26

In medieval Europe, Lucretia’s story was often retold as a morality tale, and Lucretia was widely cited as the exemplar of a virtuous wife. Dante included her among his virtuous pagans in Limbo (Inferno IV.128), despite the shameful sin of her suicide. The representation of Lucretia in this period was affected by changing views of marriage; a new emphasis on the affective bond between husband and wife allowed Lucretia’s suicide to be interpreted as evidence of love for her husband.27 Lucretia’s corpse was a common theme on the marriage chests given to elite Tuscan brides from 14th to the 16th centuries, especially in Florence.28 Her virtue was a prominent theme in art and literature: Boccaccio included Lucretia’s as the second tale in his Famous Women (1361–13622), Petrarch as an example of chastity in Africa 3.732–735 (1343) and Triumphs 1.130–133 (1374); Botticelli’s painting The Tragedy of Lucretia (c. 1500) showed Brutus rousing the people over Lucretia’s dead body.29 After Boccaccio’s works were translated into French, Lucretia’s popularity spread throughout Europe, from the mid-14th century French moralizing works such as Le Ménagier de Paris and Le Jeu des Eschaz Moralisé to the representations of Lucretia as a martyr in early 16th-century Dutch art.30 Figure 1 shows an illuminated manuscript page illustrating the scenes of Lucretia’s rape by Tarquinius and her suicide before her family. All depict her as hero and martyr.

Figure 1. Illuminated manuscript page illustrating Lucretia’s rape by Tarquinius and her suicide before her family. Anonymous, from an illuminated album amicorum, southern Germany (perhaps Tübingen), mid-16th century.

Sotheby’s. Public Domain.

Lucretia was and remains an important figure for the empowerment of women and for feminist thought. Her story has been used to critique the disempowerment of women within patriarchal structures, to decry rape, and to present a strong and powerful female example. In The City of Ladies, Christine de Pizan rewrites Lucretia’s story under the heading “Refuting those who claim that women want to be raped.”31 Her Lucretia is a moral paradigm and a victim of male aggression whose virtue does not need to be proven with suicide and whose story emphasizes the horror of rape. This interpretation of the story influenced many subsequent women writers and artists of the Renaissance and beyond: in 1600 the Venetian writer Lucrezia Marinella cited Lucretia as an example of “Temperate and Continent Women” (The Nobility and Excellence of Women, 1.5.2); in her unfinished novel The Unfortunate Florinda (1640s–1660s), Hester Pulter addresses the politics of rape; in Madeleine de Scudéry’s Illustrious Women or Heroic Harangues (1642), Lucretia’s impassioned oratory is offered as an inspiration for women’s education. Scudery’s later novel Clélie: histoire romaine (1654–1660) explores Lucretia’s sexual and moral subjectivity, introducing a love affair between Lucretia and Brutus, and uses the story to explore power relations between the sexes, critiquing forced marriage in addition to rape. Laura Cereta (Letter to Pietro Zecchi, 1488) passes over the rape and celebrates Lucretia’s suicide as nurturing maternal sacrifice, where it is the power of her breast and dripping blood that “washes away monarchy.”32 The artist Artemisia Gentileschi (herself a victim of rape) painted at least two versions of Lucretia’s courageous suicide (possibly using herself as a model), in 1623–1625 and c. 1630, in addition to painting the rape scene in 1645–1650.

Figure 2. Artemisia Gentileschi, Lucretia, 1623–1625. Oil on canvas—Gerolamo Etro, Milan. Her Neapolitan contemporary Diana De Rosa also painted the scene of heroic suicide.34 The painting Lucretia, Brutus, and Collatinus (probably by Ercole de' Roberti's Ercole da Roberti, 1486–1493, Ferrara) is part of a triptych of heroic ancient women commissioned by Eleanora D’Aragona, in which Lucretia stands in conversation with her menfolk, about to drive the blade into her heart.35

The Athenaeum. Public Domain.

The defiant heroism of such paintings responds in part to the eroticization of rape and female suicide prevalent in Renaissance painting, which are evident in the works of their male contemporaries. A well-known instance is Titian’s Lucretia and Tarquinius of 1571.

Figure 3. Titian, Lucretia and Tarquinius, 1571.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Public Domain.

In this period Lucretia is usually depicted as naked or semi-naked, even at the moment of her suicide, and in contradiction of the ancient accounts.33 Such is the case, for instance, with her depictions by Cranach the Elder, who painted her over thirty-five times (see Figure 4)

Figure 4. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucretia, 1525–1550.

Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. Public Domain.

Figure 5. Luca Giordano, Tarquin and Lucretia, 1663.

Museo Nazionale di Capidomonte. Public Domain

The story of Lucretia is still resonant for feminist thought in the early 21st century, as is evident from recent blog posts such as Eidolon’s Avenging Lucretia: From Rape to Revolution or SlutWalks and The Rape of Lucrece, and the subject of Mary Beard’s third Gifford Lecture in May 2019: Lucretia and the Politics of Sexual Violence.

Primary Sources


  • Calhoon, Cristina G. “Lucretia, Savior, and Scapegoat: The Dynamics of Sacrifice in Livy 1.57–59.” Helios 24 (1997): 151–169.
  • Donaldson, Ian. The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and Its Transformations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982.
  • Glendinning, Eleanor. “Reinventing Lucretia: Rape, Suicide and Redemption from Classical Antiquity to the Medieval Era.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 20 (2013): 61–82.
  • Jed, Stephanie. Chaste Thinking: The Rape of Lucretia and the Birth of Humanism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.
  • Joshel, Sandra R. (2002) “The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy’s Lucretia and Verginia.” In Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome. Edited by Amy Richlin, 112–130. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Klindienst, Patricia. “Ritual Work on Human Flesh: Livy’s Lucretia and the Rape of the Body Politic.” Helios 17 (1990): 51–70.
  • Langlands, Rebecca. Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Matthes, Melissa. The Rape of Lucretia and the Founding of Republics: Readings in Livy, Machiavelli, and Rousseau. University Park: Penn State University Press, 2001.
  • Philippides, Stamatis N. “Narrative Strategies and Ideology in Livy’s ‘Rape of Lucretia,’” Helios 11 (1983): 114–119.
  • Schultze, Clemence. “Ways of Killing Women: Dionysius on the Deaths of Horatia and Lucretia.” In Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Augustan Rome: Rhetoric, Criticism and Historiography. Edited by Richard Hunter and Casper C. de Jonge, 161–179. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Sylvester, Louise. “Reading Narratives of Rape: The Story of Lucretia in Chaucer, Gower and Christine de Pizan.” Leeds Studies in English 31(2000): 115–144.


  • 1. On Livy’s account, see Robert M. Ogilvie, ed., A Commentary on Livy Books 1–5 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965); Stamatis N. Philippides, “Narrative Strategies and Ideology in Livy’s ‘Rape of Lucretia’,” Helios 11 (1983): 114–119; Sandra R. Joshel “The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy’s Lucretia and Verginia,” in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, ed. Amy Richlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 112–130; Cristina G. Calhoon, “Lucretia, Savior, and Scapegoat: The Dynamics of Sacrifice in Livy 1.57–59,” Helios 24 (1997): 151–169; and Rebecca Langlands, Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 85–96.

  • 2. On wool-working, see Lena Larsson-Lovén, “Lanam Fecit: Woolworking and Female Virtue,” in Aspects of Women in Antiquity. Proceedings of the First Nordic Symposium on Women’s Lives in Antiquity, ed. Lena Larsson Lovén and Agneta Strömberg (Gothenburg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag, 1998), 85–95. Ogilvie, Livy, 222.

  • 3. For a comparison between the accounts of Livy and Dionysius, see Clemence Schulze, “Ways of Killing Women: Dionysius on the Deaths of Horatia and Lucretia,” in Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Augustan Rome: Rhetoric, Criticism and Historiography, ed. Richard Hunter and Casper C. de Jonge (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 161–179.

  • 4. See Christopher Mallan, “The Rape of Lucretia in Cassius Dio’s Roman History,” The Classical Quarterly 64 (2014): 758–771.

  • 5. As proposed by Schulze, “Ways of Killing Women,” 76.

  • 6. On Ovid’s reworking of the story and its relation to Livy’s account, see Eleanor Glendinning, “Reinventing Lucretia: Rape, Suicide and Redemption from Classical Antiquity to the Medieval Era,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 20 (2013): 61–82; and Angeline Chiu, Ovid’s Women of the Year: Narratives of Roman Identity in the Fasti (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016), 51–62.

  • 7. See Werner Schubert, “Herodot, Livius und die Gestalt des Collatinus in der Lucretia-Geschichte,” Rheinisches Museum 134 (1991): 80–96.

  • 8. Ian Donaldson, The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and Its Transformations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 7; and T. P. Wiseman, Unwritten Rome (Exeter, UK: Exeter University Press, 2008).

  • 9. Wiseman, Unwritten Rome, 313; and Ogilvie, Livy, ad loc.

  • 10. Jocelyn P. Small, “The Death of Lucretia,” American Journal of Archaeology 80 (1976): 349–360.

  • 11. See Mallan, “Rape of Lucretia,” 758–771.

  • 12. For an analysis of the text in the light of anthropological studies of Mediterranean honour and patriarchy, see Joshel, “The Body Female and the Body Politic,” 112–113.

  • 13. Langlands, Sexuality Morality, 85–96.

  • 14. Livy 1.58.2 has “blazing with love” (amore ardens) and Ovid Fasti 2.778–9 uses similar vocabulary: amor, ardet, amoris.

  • 15. Amy Richlin, “Reading Ovid’s Rapes,” in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, ed. Amy Richlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 158–179; and Mary Beard, “The Erotics of Rape: Livy, Ovid and the Sabine Women,” in Female Networks and the Public Sphere in Roman Society. Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae, ed. Päivi Setälä and Liisa Savunen (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 1999), 1–10.

  • 16. Patricia Klindienst, “Ritual Work on Human Flesh: Livy’s Lucretia and the Rape of the Body Politic,” Helios 17 (1990): 51–70.

  • 17. Klindienst, “Ritual Work on Human Flesh” analyses the Lucretia story in the light of these other founding rapes.

  • 18. Calhoon, "Lucretia, Savior, and Scapegoat,” 151–169; and see also Klindienst, “Ritual Work on Human Flesh.”

  • 19. Tertullian, De Monogamia 17.3, De Exhortatione Castitatis, Jerome, Against Jovinian 1.46, with discussion and further bibliography in Eleanor Glendinning, “Reinventing Lucretia: Rape, Suicide and Redemption from Classical Antiquity to the Medieval Era,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 20 (2013): 61–82.

  • 20. See Donaldson, Rapes of Lucretia, 21–39; Dennis Trout, “Re-Textualising Lucretia: Cultural Subversion in the City of God,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 2, no.1 (1994): 53–70; and Glendinning, “Reinventing Lucretia.”

  • 21. Chaucer, Legends of Good Women. John Gower, Confessio Amantis VII. 4754–5130. For discussion, see Glendinning “Reinventing Lucretia.”

  • 22. Coppélia Kahn reads the poem as a critique of the disempowerment of women within patriarchy, where Lucretia’s choices are severely diminished (Coppélia Kahn, Roman Shakespeare) (New York: Routledge, 1997). See also Catherine Belsey, “Tarquin Dispossessed: Expropriation and Consent in ‘The Rape of Lucrece,’” Shakespeare Quarterly 52, no. 3 (2001): 315–335; and Donaldson, Rapes of Lucretia, 40–56.

  • 23. Donaldson, Rapes of Lucretia, 90–95; Melissa Matthes, The Rape of Lucretia and the Founding of Republics: Readings in Livy, Machiavelli, and Rousseau (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2001); and Susan Behuniak-Long, “The Significance of Lucrezia in Machiavelli’s La Mandragola,” The Review of Politics 51, no. 2 (1989): 264–280.

  • 24. Matthes, Rape of Lucretia.

  • 25. Stephanie Jed, Chaste Thinking: The Rape of Lucretia and the Birth of Humanism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989).

  • 26. Matthes, Rape of Lucretia.

  • 27. See Lynn Shutters, “Marital Affection and the Medieval Lucretia,”Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 45 (2009): 62–84; and Louise Sylvester, “Reading Narratives of Rape: The Story of Lucretia in Chaucer, Gower and Christine de Pizan, Leeds Studies in English 31 (2000): 115–144.

  • 28. Jerzy Miziolek, “The Story of Lucretia on an Early Cassone at the National Museum in Warsaw,” Bulletin du Musée national de Varsovie 35 (1994): 1–4; Cristelle L. Baskins, “Corporeal Authority in the Speaking Picture: The Representation of Lucretia in Tuscan Domestic Painting,” in Gender Rhetorics: Postures of Dominance and Submission in History, ed. Richard C. Trexler (Binghamton, NY: MRTS, 1994), 187–200; and Cristelle L. Baskins, Cassone Painting, Humanism and Gender in Early Modern Italy (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 128–159.

  • 29. Margaret Ann Franklin, Boccaccio’s Heroines: Power and Virtue in Renaissance Society (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006), 138–145.

  • 30. On the Lucretia legend in Le Jeu, see Jacques de Cessoles, Le Jeu des Eschaz Moralisé, trans. Jean Ferron (Paris: Champion, 1999), 139–140; Diane Wolfthal, “‘Douleur sur toutes autres’: Revisualizing the Rape Script in the Epistre Othea and the Cité des dames,” inChristine de Pizan: Texts/intertexts/contexts, ed.Marion Desmond (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 41–71; and Carol M. Schuler, “Virtuous Model/Voluptuous Martyr: The Suicide of Lucretia in Northern Renaissance Art and Its Relationship to Late Medieval Devotional Imagery,” in Saints, Sinners, and Sisters: Gender and Northern Art in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Jane Carroll and Alison G. Stewart (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 1988), 8–22.

  • 31. Shutters, “Marital Affection”; and Karen Casebier, “Re-Writing Lucretia: Christine de Pizan’s Response to Boccaccio’s ‘De Mulieribus Claris,’” Fifteenth-Century Studies 32 (2007): 47.

  • 32. Diana Robin, ed., Laura Cereta: Collected Letters of a Renaissance Feminist (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 64–65.

  • 34. The Art Newspaper.

  • 35. Virginia Cox, “Gender and Eloquence in Ercole de’ Roberti’s Portia and Brutus,” Renaissance Quarterly 62 (2009): 61–101.

  • 33. Donaldson, Rapes of Lucretia, 13–20, although it has been suggested that the nakedness also conveys her vulnerability. This is in contrast to her depiction in 15th-century Florence, where her corpse is almost always clothed, and not sexualized.