The Heroics of Women: Founding the Traditional Values of Rome Essay

The Heroics of Women: Founding the Traditional Values of Rome Essay

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In Titus Livius’ The Early History of Rome, Livy recollects infamous incidents throughout Rome’s history that helped develop the political and social values for the citizens in Rome. Livy was able to accomplish a didactic function of story-telling by craftily introducing two essential female heroines from Roman history. These two women were incredibly influential because they were able to help formulate and embodied many of the fundamental values in Rome. Some of the core Roman principles included: courageously facing death to uphold honour and valour, piety and chastity among its people, and banding together against tyrannical kings or individuals of immoral ethics; all deeply revered elements of an individual’s character that were praised by the Romans. In both of Livy’s tale about the female heroics of Lucretia and Verginia, the similar story elements and circumstances found in both heroines stories are astounding. The rape, and subsequent deaths of both Lucretia and Verginia ultimately helped unite the common people of Rome, created social and moral expectations of all women living in Rome, and represented the romanticized Roman idea of bravely facing death to retain or restore an individuals honour and reputation in Roman society. Without the significant sacrifices from both of these noble, heroic women, many of the traditional Roman values during this period in history, and even in today’s society, would be unfounded.
In Livy’s retelling of Roman history, both the accounts of Lucretia and Verginia’s tales are exceedingly similar. Both unfortunate women are forced to faced and endure similar adversaries in their short lives. Despite the many years in history that separate the two women from one another, the death of Lucreti...


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...ughters. Both women become a representation of the ideal women in Roman society. Both Lucretia and Verginia placed the value of their own reputation in Roman society and honour of their family before their own lives. They symbolized the tragedy that can befallen good individuals when immoral men who placed their own desires above those of their fellow citizens or duty to their city. Without the heroics of Lucretia and Verginia many of the principle traditional values of Romans would be not possible. These contributions prove that even the smallest actions of a single individual can have some of most drastic and the largest repercussions and influence in changing and forming the function and traditional of an entire empire as great as Rome.


Works Cited

Livius, Titus. The Early History of Rome. Trans. Aubrey De Sélincourt. London: Penguin Group, 2002. N. pag. Print.

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