alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2015-01-13 02:15 am

Verginia (content note: major character death)

The tale men tell their children:

Once in great Rome, there lived a maiden, Verginia by name, daughter of Verginius. She was courted by a powerful man, Claudius, who would not be denied. He pressed himself upon Verginia, but she refused him, once, twice, thrice.

Claudius was determined to have Verginia even if she would not be his bride. He told Marcus, who owed Claudius much, to claim Verginia as his slave, and then to pass her to Claudius. Marcus stole Verginia from a crowd, calling her his slave, but the people, who knew Verginius, demanded Marcus take his claim to the judges.

But woe for Verginia, for Claudius was the judge who heard the claim. When he declared Verginia Marcus's slave, and sedition to say otherwise, who could stand against him?

Verginius asked for a moment with his child, and Claudius, benevolent in victory, granted the plea. Verginius cried out that he had only one way to preserve Verginia's honor, and with his knife he killed his daughter.

The crowd, to avenge Verginia's death, fell upon Claudius and killed him, and installed a new government in place of the old: Verginia's honor safe and the Roman Republic reborn, a happy ending to this tale!

The tale women tell their daughters:

Once in great Rome lived black-haired Verginia, who was pursued by powerful Claudius. He pressed himself upon her, but she refused him, once, twice, thrice.

Claudius, who would not be denied, told Marcus who owed him much to insist Verginia was his slave and then to pass her to Claudius—woe for the slave in Rome! Marcus kidnapped Verginia and made that claim, but the people, who knew Verginia and her father Verginius, demanded he take that claim before the judges.

But woe for Verginia, for Claudius was the judge who heard the claim, and what man ever ruled himself in the wrong? He threatened also anyone who would speak in Verginia's defense.

Verginia cried out in silent prayer to the goddesses Minerva and Diana, that they might help her where mere humans could not.

Verginius asked for a moment with Verginia; granted that, he cried out that he had only one way to preserve Verginia's honor, and with his knife he stabbed—the golden-haired woman who stood in Verginia's place. Diana (for it was she) drew the knife from her breast and smiled at Verginius, who quivered, and Claudius, who quailed.

Diana's armored companion pronounced Claudius a rapist, in intent if not in fact, and commanded that the people behold the fate of rapists: Minerva drew her blade and killed Claudius.

The people rose up and installed a new government in place of Claudius's, the Roman Republic reborn. A happy ending? Perhaps—but in time men forgot the divine judgment upon Claudius, and woe once more to be a slave in Rome! As for Verginia, she lived her life safe and happy, far from her father’s house.


Creative Commons License
Verginia by Alex Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous (will be screened)
OpenID (will be screened if not validated)
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.