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DE FEMINIS ROMANIS

Livy II.13: The heroic woman Cloelia

Cloelia was one of the hostages demanded by Lars Porsinna for withdrawing his troops from the Janiculum, during the seige of Rome in 508 B.C.

Ergo ita honorata virtute, feminae quoque ad publica decora excitatae, et
Cloelia virgo, una ex obsidibus, cum castra Etruscorum forte haud procul
ripa Tiberis locata essent, frustrata custodes, dux agminis virginum inter
tela hostium Tiberim tranavit sospitesque omnes Romam ad propinquos
restituit. Quod ubi regi nuntiatum est, primo incensus ira oratores Romam
misit ad Cloeliam obsidem deposcendam: alias haud magni facere;
deinde in admirationem versus supra Coclites Muciosque dicere id
facinus esse, et prae se ferre quemadmodum, si non dedatur obses, pro
rupto foedus se habiturum, sic deditam intactam inviolatamque ad suos
remissurum.

1 honorata virtute ablative absolute referring to honors given to Mucius for his bravery.
quoque also, too
2 obses/opses, obsidis, m., f. hostage
* forte by chance
3 frustror (1 depon.) deceive, trick
custos, custodis, m. guard
4 trano (1) swim across
sospes, sospitis (adj.) safe and sound, unhurt
propinqui relatives
5 oratores ambassadors
regi Lars Porsinna, the Etruscan king
6 magni genitive of value/price
7 Coclites Muciosque, heroic men whose stories are told in chapters 10-13
8 * prae se ferre to display, make known
quemadmodum how
dedo give back dedatur subjunctive in subordinate clause in indirect statement
8-9 pro rupto as broken
9 * habeo have, hold, consider

Utrimque constitit fides: et Romani pignus pacis ex foedere restituerunt,
et apud regem Etruscum non tuta solum sed honorata etiam virtus fuit,
laudatamque virginem parte obsidum se donare dixit; ipsa quos vellet
legeret. Productis omnibus elegisse impubes dicitur, quod et virginitati
decorum et consensu obsidum ipsorum probabile erat eam aetatem
potissimum liberari ab hoste quae maxime opportuna iniuriae esset. Pace
redintegrata Romani novam in femina virtutem novo genere honoris,
statua equestri, donavere: in summa Sacra via fuit posita virgo insidens
equo.

11 utrimque on both sides
* consisto -ere, constiti stand firm constitit (it) was kept
pignus, n. pledge
ex foedere in accordance with the treaty
12 * non solum ... sed etiam not only ... but also
13 *dono (1) present (someone acc., with abl.)
se subject of donare
14 impubes (adj.) youthful; as a noun young
14-16 As a modest young woman it was seemly for Cloelia to choose the very young hostages (rather than grown up young men). The younger children were also in greater danger of being molested.
15 probabilis, -e likely, acceptable, approved
16 potissimum especially
opportunus suitable, exposed

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