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Tarpeia


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Tarpeia virgo. On denarii of the Petronia and Tituria families two soldiers are seen, apparently in the act of casting their bucklers upon a young woman, who, with arms uplifted, seems already sinking amidst an overwhelming heap of shields.

This type recalls to mind a well known incident of early Roman story, in which, with no small inconsistency of narration, a virgin, at the period of Romulus's war with Tatius and the Sabines, is made to earn immortality by a deed of perfidious treason to her country; and to give her name to the highest rock of the Capitoline hill at the price of sacrificing her life to her sordid love for "gold bracelets."

"It is pretended (observes Visconti) that this woman was the daughter of a warrior to whom Romulus had confided the defence of the Capitol, and it is added that the price of treason was to have been the bracelets of gold which the Sabines wore round the left arm. Propertius (L. iv. el. iv.) supposes that the female named Tarpeia was a priestess, and that she had fallen in love with the enemy's general or prince." See Petronia.

Tarquinius Priscus, king of the Romans, having subdued the Tuscans, is said to have assumed the paludamentum from that conquered nation. His figure is represented, with that of the Augur Navius, on a brass medallion of Antoninus Pius. See NAVIVS. Eckhel quotes Macrobius to show that a son of this Tarquin distinguished himself whilst yet a boy by an act of valor against an enemy in battle, similiar in description and in the honor of it's reward to that which is alluded to in the remarkable inscription on a coin of the Aemilia family, as acheived by the stripling M. Lepidus, and which Val. Maximus explains to the very letter. See Aemilia.

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