previous next


A Roman virgin, given as a hostage to Porsenna. According to the old Roman legend, when Porsenna and the Romans made a peace after the affair of Mucius Scaevola (q.v.), the latter people gave hostages to the king—ten youths and ten maidens, children of noble parents—as a pledge that they would truly keep the peace which had been proclaimed. It happened, as the camp of the Etrurians was near the Tiber, that Cloelia, one of the maidens, escaped with her companions and fled to the brink of the river; and, as the Etrurians pursued them, they all rushed into the water and swam in safety across the stream. But the Romans, jealous of their reputation for good faith, sent them all back to the camp of Porsenna. Not to be outdone in generosity, the monarch gave her and her female companions their freedom, and permitted her to take with her half of the youths; whereupon, with the delicacy of a Roman maiden, she selected those only who were of tender years. The Romans raised an equestrian statue in her honour on the highest part of the Via Sacra (Liv.ii. 13). There is another story, that Tarquinius fell upon the hostages as they were conducted into the Etrurian camp, and with the exception of Valeria, who fled back to the city, massacred them all (Plin.xxxiv. 13).

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 34.13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 13
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: