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A Gallic Woman Takes Vengeance

It chanced that among the prisoners made when
The vengeance of Chiomara, wife of the Gallic chief Ortiago. See Livy, 38, 24.
the Romans won the victory at Olympus over the Gauls of Asia, was Chiomara, wife of Ortiago. The centurion who had charge of her availed himself of his chance in soldierly fashion, and violated her.

He was a slave indeed both to lust and money: but eventually his love of money got the upper hand; and, on a large sum of gold being agreed to be paid for the woman, he led her off to put her to ransom. There being a river between the two camps, when the Gauls had crossed it, paid the man the money, and received the woman, she ordered one of them by a nod to strike the Roman as he was in the act of taking a polite and affectionate farewell of her. The man obeyed, and cut off the centurion's head, which she picked up and drove off with, wrapped in the folds of her dress: On reaching her husband she threw the head at his feet; and when he expressed astonishment and said: "Wife to keep faith is a good thing," she replied: "Yes; but it is a better thing that there should be only one man alive who has lain with me!" [Polybius says that he conversed with the woman at Sardis, and was struck with her dignified demeanour and intelligence.]1 . . .

1 This is really Plutarch's version of a story he found in Polybius, and, to judge from Livy, 38, 24, not a very complete one. It took place near Ancyra. Plutarch de mulierum virtutibus.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 24
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