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Sextus, the son of Lucius Tarquinius (Superbus), the king of the Romans,1 left2 and came to the city of Collatia, as it was called, and stopped at the home of Lucius Tarquinius,3 a cousin of the king, whose wife was Lucretia, a woman of great beauty and virtuous in character. And Lucretia's husband being with the army in camp, the guest, awakening, left his bed-room during the night and set out to the wife who was sleeping in a certain chamber. [2] And suddenly taking his stand at the door and drawing his sword, he announced that he had a slave all ready for slaughter, and that he would slay her together with the slave, as having been taken in adultery and having received at the hand of her husband's nearest of kin the punishment she deserved. Therefore, he continued, it would be the wiser thing for her to submit to his desires without calling out, and as a reward for her favour she would receive great gifts and be his wife and become queen, exchanging the hearth of a private citizen for the first place in the state. [3] Lucretia, panic-stricken at so unexpected a thing and fearing that men would in truth believe that she had been slain because of adultery, made no outcry at the time. But when the day came and Sextus departed, she summoned her kinsmen and asked them not to allow the man to go unpunished who had sinned against the laws both of hospitality and of kinship. As for herself, she said, it was not proper for the victim of a deed of such wanton insolence to look upon the sun, and plunging a dagger into her breast she slew herself.Const. Exc. 2 (1), pp. 226-227.

1 535-510 B.C.

2 510 B.C. He was in the Roman army which was besieging the city of Ardea; see Livy 1.57 ff.; Dionysius Hal. 4.64 ff.; Dio Cassius fr. 10.12 ff..

3 He had the surname Collatinus.

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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 57
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