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or Verginia. The daughter of L. Virginius, a Roman centurion. She was a beautiful and innocent girl, betrothed to L. Icilius. Her beauty excited the lust of the decemvir Appius Claudius, who instigated one of his clients to seize the maiden and claim her as his slave. Her father, who had come from the camp the morning on which Claudius gave judgment assigning Virginia to his client, seeing that all hope was gone, prayed the decemvir to be allowed to speak one word to the nurse in his daughter's hearing, in order to ascertain whether she was really his daughter. The request was granted; Virginius drew them both aside, and snatching up a butcher's knife from one of the stalls, plunged it into his daughter's breast, exclaiming, “There is no way but this to keep thee free”; then, holding his bloody knife on high, he rushed to the gate of the city, and hastened to the Roman camp. The result is known. Both camp and city rose against the decemvirs, who were deprived of their power, and the old form of government was restored. L. Virginius was the first who was elected tribune, and by his orders Appius was dragged to prison, where he put an end to his own life (Livy, iii. 44-58; Dionys. xi. 28-46). See Claudius.

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