Quicksilver Tarpeia darts and flits across the pages of this immensely learned volume, her form and myth protean. From Fabius Pictor’s greedy girl to Plutarch’s multifarious figure, Welch (W.) traces instantiations of the Tarpeia myth (TM) in text, silver, and stone, revealing that these tellings are fundamentally about belonging in and under Rome. The volume comprises an introduction and initial background chapter, nine chapters in three parts, a brief conclusion, an appendix of ‘treasonous girls’, and closes with two indexes (locorum and general). The three parts, ‘Tarpeia, Ethnicity, and Being Roman in the Republic’, ‘Tarpeia and the Caesars: From Republic to Empire’ and ‘Tarpeia from the Outside In: Greek Sources and the Roman Empire’, map the shifting contours of the TM from the late third century BCE to the mid-second century CE. Throughout, W. underlines the powerful flexibility and utility of the TM for the teller, marking the ways in which it spoke variously to ancient ‘ethics, gender, ethnicity, political authority, language, conquest, and tradition’ (p. 285). This volume, appropriate for readers who are advanced undergraduates or beyond, evolved from W.’s doctoral research on Propertius (p. xi), and is itself a monumentum to Tarpeia. It will serve henceforth as a foundational text on Tarpeia and her myth, augmenting G. Dumézil’s Tarpeia: Essais de philologie comparative indo-européene , Z. Gansiniec’s Tarpeia: The Making of a Myth , and A. Semioli’s Tarpeia e la presenza Sabina di Roma arcaica . By ensuring that each chapter of the volume is self-contained, W. has written this volume in such a way that readers can pick and choose, but only a complete reading will reveal Tarpeia’s variegated life in Greco-Roman antiquity.
2016. 1-3 p.