Equinox tales

The autumn equinox is almost upon us, which has significance for several pagan traditions - though strangely very few ancient myths directly associated with it. From a secular viewpoint, it was the date on which the French abolished their monarchy and became a republic in 1792. I am not a republican myself (world politics is not currently enthusing me as to the joys of following such a political route), but do know of one pagan myth - or legend, at least (inasmuch as it depicts a purportedly historical event with no reference to magical or mystical goings on) - about how a much older civilisation became a republic.
This is the tragic tale of Lucretia, a Roman matron subjected to horrible treatment by the lecherous son of King Tarquin. I rarely tell historical tales, so this is not particularly well told. The events accounted for the Roman historians do not take place at the equinox, so the only tenuous connection to this time of year is republicanism.
The response she takes to the terrible crime inflicted on her is not one that would sit well with a modern audience, especially anyone of feminist sensibilities. It's a story of its time and reflects the value placed on women in a very patriarchal society. There is a form of strength in it though, given that she takes a step that will guarantee vengeance not only on her attacker but also his family (the Italians then as now being very given to notions of collective familial responsibility). Her end could be considered the sacrifice that made the Roman Republic possible.



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