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Tarpeian rock

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Tarpeian rock
Tarpeian rock

The Tarpeian Rock (saxum Tarpeium, mons Tarpeius, arx Tarpeia), is the slope of the Capitoline Hill named after the Vestal of Virgin – Tarpea, who betrayed Rome for promises of gold bracelets/epaulettes worn by the Sabines. After conquering the city, the Sabines threw her shields over her, causing her death, and buried her on the hill. In memory of this gruesome act, the hillside is called the Tarpeian Rock.

Moreover, since then, as the place has become a symbol of treason, famous traitors have been dropped from there. As the Law of the Twelve Tables commanded in Table VIII and paragraph 23, a person found guilty of giving false testimony was to be thrown off the rock. Such a death was a stigma of disgrace.

It is worth adding that the saying Arx tarpeia Capitoli Proxima – “Rock of Tarpeia near the Capitol lies” should be translated to the inevitability of punishment for the committed act.

Sources
  • Marcus Terentius Varro, De Lingua Latina
  • Plutarch, Parallel Lives
  • Liwiusz, Ab Urbe Condita
  • M. Grant, Roman Myths, "Leges Duodecim Tabularum"

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