Laudatio Turiae: In Praise of a Woman

In the 1st century B.C., the impassioned expression of a nameless Roman citizen made his wife immortal.

Image for post
Image for post
The Intervention of the Sabine Women by Jacques-Louis David, 1799

To My Dear My Wife, Turia

“Very few women have encountered comparable circumstances to make them endure such sufferings and perform such deeds.”

DEVOTION

Should I mention your domestic virtues: your loyalty, obedience, affability, reasonableness, industry in working wool, religion without superstition, sobriety of attire, modesty of appearance?

GENEROSITY

Your generosity you have manifested to many friends and particularly to your beloved relatives. On this point someone might mention with praise other women, but the only equal you have had has been your sister. For you brought up your female relations who deserved such kindness in your own houses with us. You also prepared marriage-portions for them so that they could obtain marriages worthy of your family. The dowries you had decided upon Cluvius and I by common accord took upon ourselves to pay, and since we approved of your generosity we did not wish that you should let your own patrimony suffer diminution but substituted our own money and gave our own estates as dowries.

LOYALTY

“You took the gold and jewelry from your own body and sent it to me, and over and over again enriched me in my absence.”

When I was in exile for political reasons, you provided abundantly for my needs during my flight and gave me the means for a dignified manner of living, when you took all the gold and jewelry from your own body and sent it to me and over and over again enriched me in my absence with servants, money and provisions, showing great ingenuity in deceiving the guards posted by our adversaries.

COURAGE

“I was saved by your good advice when you did not allow me imprudently to tempt providence by an overbold step.”

Meanwhile when a troop of men … tried to profit by the opportunities provided by the civil war and break into our house to plunder, you beat them back successfully and were able to defend our home.

SELFLESSNESS

It is true that we did wish to have children, who had for a long time been denied to us by an envious fate. When you despaired of your ability to bear children and grieved over my childlessness, you became anxious lest by retaining you in marriage I might lose all hope of having children and be distressed for that reason.

SPIRIT

“This praise will be a consolation for me and I will not feel too much the loss.”

Fate decreed that you should precede me. You bequeathed me sorrow through my longing for you and left me a miserable man without children to comfort me. I on my part will, however, bend my way of thinking and feeling to your judgments and be guided by your admonitions. But all your opinions and instructions should give precedence to the praise you have won so that this praise will be a consolation for me and I will not feel too much the loss of what I have consecrated to immortality to be remembered for ever.

Written by

Producer of Extraordinary Lives 2019 @TellyAwards for documentaries @ IconicVoices.tv; Author of Be Somebody @ jeffcunningham.com; ex-publisher @Forbes

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store