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Tarpeia: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Roman mythology, Tarpeia was a Roman maiden who betrayed the city of Rome to the Sabines in exchange for what she thought would be a reward of jewellery. She was instead crushed to death and her body cast from the Tarpeian Rock which now bears her name.[1]



The legend tells that while Rome was besieged by the Sabine king Titus Tatius, Tarpeia, daughter of the commander of the citadel, Spurius Tarpeius, approached the Sabine camp and offered them entry to the city in exchange for "what they bore on their left arms". Greedy for gold, she had meant their bracelets, but instead the Sabines threw their shields—carried on the left arm—upon her and she was crushed to death beneath the weight.[2] Her body was then hurled from the Tarpeian Rock, which became known as the place of execution for Rome's most notorious traitors. The Sabines were however unable to conquer the Forum, its gates miraculously protected by boiling jets of water created by Janus.[2]

The legend was depicted on a silver denarius of the Emperor Augustus in approximately 20 BC.[3]

See also

Rape of the Sabine Women



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TARPEIA, in Roman legend, daughter of the commander of the Capitol during the war with the Sabines caused by the rape of the Sabine women. According to the common story, she offered to betray the citadel, if the Sabines would give her what they wore on their left arms, meaning their bracelets; instead of this, keeping to the letter of their promise, they threw their shields upon her and crushed her to death. Simylus, a Greek elegiac poet, makes Tarpeia betray the Capitol to a king of the Gauls. The story may be an attempt to account for the Tarpeian rock being chosen as the place of execution of traitors. According to S. Reinach, however, in Revue archeologique, xi. (1908), the story had its origin in a rite - the taboo of military spoils, which led to their being heaped up on consecrated ground that they might not be touched. Tarpeia herself is a local divinity, the manner of whose death was suggested by the tumulus or shields on the spot devoted to her cult, a crime being invented to account for the supposed punishment.


- Sir George C. Lewis, Credibility of early Roman History; A. Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. ix. io; Livy, i. II; Dion. Halic., ii. 38-40; Plutarch, Romulus, 17; Propertius, iv. 4; Ovid, Fasti, i. 261; C. W. Muller, Frag. Hist. Graec., iv. p. 367.

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