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Quote of the day: But a general survey inclines me to beli
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 13: The story of Cloelia.[507 BC]
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Mucius was accordingly dismissed; afterwards he received the sobriquet of Scaevola from the loss of his right hand. Envoys from Porsena followed him to Rome. The king's narrow escape from the first of many attempts which was owing solely to the mistake of his assailant, and the prospect of having to meet as many attacks as there were conspirators, so unnerved him that he made proposals of peace to Rome. One for the restoration of the Tarquins was put forward, more because he could not well refuse their request than because he had any hope of its being granted. The demand for the restitution of their territory to the Veientines, and that for the surrender of hostages as a condition of the withdrawal of the detachment from the Janiculum, were felt by the Romans to be inevitable, and on their being accepted and peace concluded, Porsena moved his troops from the Janiculum and evacuated the Roman territory. As a recognition of his courage the senate gave Gaius Mucius a piece of land across the river, which was afterwards known as the Mucian Meadows.

The Story of Cloelia

The honour thus paid to courage incited even women to do glorious things for the State. The Etruscan camp was situated not far from the city, and the maiden Cloelia, one of the hostages, escaped, unobserved, through the guards and at the head of her sister hostages swam across the river amidst a shower of javelins and restored them all safe to their relatives. When the news of this incident reached him, the king was at first exceedingly angry and sent to demand the surrender of Cloelia; the others he did not care about. Afterwards his feelings changed to admiration; he said that the exploit surpassed those of Cocles and Mucius, and announced that whilst on the one hand he should consider the treaty broken if she were not surrendered, he would on the other hand, if she were surrendered, send her back to her people unhurt. Both sides behaved honourably; the Romans surrendered her as a pledge of loyalty to the terms of the treaty; the Etruscan king showed that with him courage was not only safe but honoured, and after eulogising the girl's conduct, told her that he would make her a present of half the remaining hostages, she was to choose whom she would. It is said that after all had been brought before her, she chose the boys of tender age; a choice in keeping with maidenly modesty, and one approved by the hostages themselves, since they felt that the age which was most liable to ill-treatment should have the preference in being rescued from hostile hands

After peace was thus re-established, the Romans rewarded the unprecedented courage shown by a woman by an unprecedented honour, namely an equestrian statue. On the highest part of the Sacred Way a statue was erected representing the maiden sitting on horseback.

Events: War of Porsena against Rome., The story of Cloelia