Rhea Silvia is raped to bear Rome's founders; the kidnapped Sabine women form a human shield between their men folk to meld two peoples into one; and women like Tullia Minor and Tarpeia
serve as negative examples of correct behavior.
, a daughter of the commander, betrayed the citadel to the Sabines, having set her heart on the golden armlets which she saw them wearing, and she asked as payment for her treachery that which they wore on their left arms.
The author has organized the ten chapters that make up the main body of her text in three parts devoted to Tarpeia
, ethnicity, and being Roman in the Republic; Tarpeia
and the Caesars from the Republic to the Empire; and Tarpeia
from the Greek source material through the Roman Empire.
: Workings of a Roman Myth is a scholarly examination of a legend dating to the foundation of Rome.
The popularity of Hawthorne's novel inspired WD Howells, after his sojourn in Venice as consul from 1861 to 1865, to travel to Rome 'looking for the Tarpeian Rock, less for Tarpeia
's sake than for the sake of Miriam and Donatello and the Model.' (45) But Rome did not have the aesthetic charm it had for Hawthorne, as Howells stated right away in the first two paragraphs.
This rock was highly charged with meaning, since it was here that Tarpeia
betrayed the city to the Sabines, either for love of gold or for love of the enemy general.
73) explains in a footnote that Tarpeia
, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill, traitorously opened the gates to the Sabines for the "ornaments on their arms." The soldiers crushed her to death with their shields, saying that these were the ornaments they had promised her.