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Essay Comparing and Contrasting the Stories of Gaius Mucius and Cloelia

Essay Comparing and Contrasting the Stories of Gaius Mucius and Cloelia

Posted January 5th, 2017 by jopast

by Charmian (Jonathan)
in Where I don't belong...BECAUSE MY HOME IS IN HEAVEN

January 5th, 2017
Essay Comparing and Contrasting the Stories of Gaius Mucius and Cloelia 
By Jonathan P. Staebell
Both Cloelia and Gaius lived at the same time, and both their stories happened relative to each other by a short amount of time. They both lived while Lars Porsenna, king of the Etruscans, was fighting against Rome.
Gaius was a would-be assassin who came from Rome to the camp of the Etruscans. Instead of killing Porsenna, he accidentally killed the army's scribe who was wearing a similar toga as the king. He tried to escape but was captured by the soldiers who brought him before the king. When he stood before the king he spoke with a blazing voice,“ 'C?vis R?manus sum! Vir? m? G?uim Mucium appelant. Hostis tuus sum et, ut hostis t? nec?re d?s?d?r?v?. N?n sum s?lus in cupidit?te t? nec?re. Tr?cent? iuven?s R?m?n? quoque t? nec?re d?s?derant. Semper necesse erit tim?re. ?nus iuvenis t? nec?bit.'”*
This elicited a rather angry response from Porsenna, who told the guards to throw him into the fire. Just as they were about to throw him in, he, instead of allowing them to kill him, escaped from their hands and held his right hand in the fire. At this, Porsenna let him go. He returned to Rome, unhanded, but the Etruscans had not moved.
Cloelia was a Roman maiden who was forced, along with nine other girls and ten boys, to go to the Etruscans as hostages.** One day she, followed by the other youth, escaped the guards. Because the Etruscan camp was close to the Tiber River, they ran to it. Under a shower of spears, they dove into the river and swam away to Rome. Porsenna was amazed at her bravery, and only wanted her back, none of the others. He also allowed her to chose half of the hostages to be freed. She chose the young men as they had more danger to be killed because they could fight.***
    Both were brave young citizens of Rome desiring both their and Rome's freedom. They loved their country and would have died for it, while the older 'more mature' Senate easily sat back and watched. They are an example of bravery and strength to all young people.**** 
    Also, both were rather enshrined by the Roman people, 'Poste? R?m?n? G?i? agn?men “Scaevolam” ded?runt quod dextram ?m?serat”^ and “Poste? R?m?n?  Cloeliam hon?r?v?runt: statuam Cloeliam in equ?  in Viam Sacram posu?runt”^^  
    Additionally, both were praised by King Porsenna, even though one tried to kill him, and the other led all his hostages to escape. 
    Of course the most drastic contrast is their genders: Gaius was a man, and Cloelia was a woman. 
    Gaius went willingly to the Etruscans as an assassin. While Cloelia was most likely forced to go to their camp as a hostage.  
*[I am a citizen of Rome! Men call me Gaius Mucius. I am your enemy and, as an enemy, I desired to kill you. I am not alone in desiring to kill you. Three hundred Roman youths also desire to kill you. It is necessary to always fear. One young man will kill you.]
**Back in ancient times, hostages were usually not political prisoners, kidnapped for ransom. They were exchanged by countries as a sign of a promise or treaty. If one country attacked, the hostages would be killed, and so vice versa.
***Not like it wasn't dangerous for girls to be in a camp full of strong warriors with little moral fiber?
****Not as much of an example as a Christian youth would be, but an example nonetheless.
^[Afterward, the Romans gave Gaius the agnomen(a name added to the names one already has because of some deed he has accomplished) “Left-handed” because he had lost his right hand.]
^^[Afterward, Rome honored Cloelia: they put a statue of Cloelia on a horse into the Sacred Road.] 
    While Cloelia successfully escaped, Gaius was captured by the soldiers and taken before Lars Porsenna. 
    Cloelia did not receive any punishment or physical flaws. Gaius, on the other hand, lost his right hand.*
    In conclusion, age does not determine bravery or maturity. Gaius and Cloelia were both at least under twenty-five.** Bravery does not mean that they had no fear, without fear we would not need bravery. 
Instead of giving up when he was captured, Gaius showed that he cared more for Rome than his own body. Cloelia demonstrated that even though she was part of the Etruscan hostages, she could still help the others escape.
If all our American youth had the same or similar bravery, amazing things could happen. 
Cloelia and Gaius, two amazing youth, doing amazing things even in the face of danger.
*Pun intended:D
**The Latin says that they were youth

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