There remained an entirely new war with1
the Tectosagi. Setting out against them the consul came on the third day of marching to Ancyra, a famous city in that region,2
from which the enemy was a little more than ten miles distant.
While they were established in camp there, a memorable deed was done by a captive woman. The wife3
of the chieftain Orgiago,4
a woman of surpassing beauty, was held under guard among a large number of prisoners; the commander of the guard was a centurion, characterized by both the lust and the greed of the soldier.
At first he tried her disposition; when he found it shrinking from voluntary fornication, he did violence to her body, which fortune had made a slave.
Then, to quiet her indignation at the injury, he held out to the woman the hope of a return to her own people, but not even that, as a lover might have done, did he grant her for nothing. Having stipulated for a definite quantity of gold, to avoid taking one of his own men as an accomplice, he allowed the woman herself to send as a messenger to her people whomsoever of the prisoners she should choose.
He designated a spot near the river to which not more than two of the kinsmen of the captive were to come with the money the following night to receive her. It happened that one of the woman's own slaves was among the prisoners under the same guard.
This man, as messenger, the centurion at nightfall conducted beyond the line of sentinels. The following night both the two kinsmen of the woman and the centurion with the prisoner came to the appointed place.
While they were displaying the money, which was to amount to an Attic [p. 85]
so great had been the sum agreed upon5
—the woman in her own language ordered them to draw sword and kill the centurion as he was weighing the money.
When they had slit his throat and cut off his head, the woman herself wrapped it in her garment and carried it on her return to her husband Orgiago, who had escaped home from Olympus;
before she embraced him she dropped at his feet the head of the centurion, and, when he wondered whose head this was and what this act meant, so unlike that of a woman, she confessed to her husband the violence done to her person and the vengeance exacted for her forcibly violated chastity, and, as the story goes, by the purity and dignity of her life in other respects maintained to the end the
glory won by a deed that marked her as a true matron.6