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Müller, Marvin (2014): Die fiktionale Markierung der Legende von Tarpeia bei Livius (1, 11, 5–9). In: Philologus, Vol. 158, No. 2: pp. 306-319 [PDF, 348kB]


In Livy’s report, in Book 1 of his annals, of the mythical traitor Tarpeia, who, according to tradition, had betrayed the Romans to their enemies the Sabines out of lust for money and was then murdered by her accomplices, it is possible to interpret both the principal figure and her motives in an open way. With reference to the praefatio, it will here first be argued that the term fabula is important in this context and that a manuscript reading rejected by most modern editions should be retained. This makes it possible to interpret the discussion of story-variants, which is presented after this term, as a narrative functional instrument that causes the reader to doubt the veracity of the tradition about the criminal Tarpeia. In conclusion two further passages from the following chapter will be considered, which, through their semantic ambiguity, are well-suited to support the ambivalent character-drawing proposed here. Understood this way, the Tarpeia episode refers, through its narrative mode, to myth’s lack of historical reliability, a theme already raised in the praefatio.

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