Not so long ago a courageous woman stood up in front of our republic to tell a similar story that was painfully similar to Lucretia’s and many other women throughout history.
The astonishing thing about Lucretia’s story is not that it happened, but that it was believed and acted on. Even if the leaders of our republic didn’t listen to her story, we did and we still have time to act.
Now, we’ve already seen this part of our own history. We’ve already had our own revolution. We’ve already declared our independence from the tyranny of kings and declared all men are created equal – with hard-won amendments to expand on who that applies to. But now we have a president who is threatening to take away those hard-won amendments.
The men were shocked and stricken with grief. Lucius Junius Brutus was so moved that he proclaimed: “By this blood, most chaste until a prince wronged it, I swear, and I take you, gods, to witness, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius Superbus … and that I will suffer neither them nor any other to be king in Rome!”
Unwilling to allow her family to suffer this fate, she gave in under extreme duress and threat of violence.
Lucretia sent for her father and husband, asking them both to bring a reliable witness. She told them the whole story and all of the men present *believe her* & tried to assure her that her attacker was to blame & not her. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of the patriarchal society she’d been raised in and internalized shame, she still felt that she’d lost her honor & killed herself.
Sextus Tarquinius, the king’s son, was so inflamed with desire for Lucretia’s beauty and chastity that he secretly came back a few days later. First he propositioned her but she refused, then he threatened to kill her if she didn’t give in. She still refused. He then threatened that not only would he kill her, he would also kill a slave and pose them naked together and bring disgrace to her, her husband, and all her family.
The men were off at war with a neighboring nation because the Roman king had spent too much money on public projects and his own splendor and needed more, so they attacked Ardea for control of its resources. One night the military leaders were drinking and started bragging about how great their wives were and this turned into a competition. Eventually Collatinus suggested that they surprise their wives and gauge their worthiness.
I’ve been thinking about Lucretia a lot lately. She was a Roman woman whose rape and subsequent suicide led to a revolt against the crooked Kings and brought about the formation of the Roman Republic. (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0151%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D57)
Monday night I was working on my dissertation until 8:30 then prep for my Tuesday am class until 1. Tuesday night we had a guest speaker & a dinner so I was on campus until ~9. Yesterday I was grading until 10:30. But after class today I get to hop a plane to MA for the weekend! Tonight I get to see @cwebber , pet my cat, and take a weekend away from grading and research :)
Chris and I are co-presenting on our Digital Humanities workshops this afternoon at Racketcon! Check out the Livestream ((link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjXhr_TgP8) youtube.com/watch?v=CLjXhr…) We're on at 3:20
Image description: two Racketcon name tags for Chris Webber and Morgan Lemmer Webber
Here's a link to the image at the Chazen we were looking at:
It features the woman fleeing from a man, her friend trying to call for help, and the man's spears visually intersecting both womens' groins as he forcefully grabs her arm. This is typically categorized as marriage imagery in Greek art and the figures are often identified with mythological couples such as Peleus & Thetis or Theseus & Helen. So it's ok if it ended in a marriage ... right? ...
It was somewhat disheartening today to teach my students about pursuit scenes (with imagery that highly suggests violence to women) that were common on vases made specifically for drinking parties catered to elite men, then casually scroll through the news and draw parallels.
Thank you Trader Joe's for summarizing my decision process when I need something but the grocery store is a fifteen minute walk away #spoontheory
Image description: a bag from Trader Joe's featuring an image of a Victorian waman with a spoon caddy on her head and the caption "Let us count our spoons"
Digital Humanities, Roman Material Culture, Textile History, Art History PhD Candidate, Free Software in Academia. Code weaver: Racket and Python.
Octodon is a nice general purpose instance. more