World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002302310
Reproduction Date:

Title: Veturia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, Show and tell (education), Veturia (gens), Virgilia, Roman-Volscian wars
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Veturia was a Roman matron, the mother of the possibly legendary Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. According to Plutarch her name was Volumnia.

Veturia came from a patrician family and encouraged her son's involvement in Roman politics. According to Roman historians, Coriolanus was expelled from Rome in the early fifth century BC because he demanded the abolition of the office of Tribune of the Plebs in return for distributing state grain to the starving plebeians. He settled with the Volscians, a people hostile to Rome, while formulating his revenge.

Coriolanus and the Volscians marched upon Rome and laid siege to the city. The Romans sent envoys to Coriolanus to no avail. Then Veturia, together with Coriolanus' wife Volumnia, plus other family members and matrons of Rome, successfully entreated Coriolanus to break off his siege.

The precise versions of the entreaties differ.

According to Plutarch when Veturia came to her son's camp Coriolanus embraced her and begged her to ally herself with his cause. Veturia refused on behalf of all the Roman citizens and convinced her son to cease his crusade against Rome, throwing herself at his feet and threatening to do harm to herself if he did not retreat. Coriolanus obliged, and marched away from Rome; soon, the angry and frustrated Volscians put him to death.

Livy says that Veturia refused to embrace her son, but ultimately convinced him to desist, and is quoted as having said:

"Before I receive your embrace, let me know whether I have come to an enemy or to a son; whether I am in your camp a captive or a mother? Has length of life and a hapless old age reserved me for this—to behold you an exile, then an enemy? Could you lay waste this land, which gave you birth and nurtured you? Though you had come with an incensed and vengeful mind, did not your resentment subside when you entered its frontiers? When Rome came within view, did it not occur to you, within these walls my house and guardian gods are, my mother, wife, and children? So then, had I not been a mother, Rome would not be besieged: had I not a son, I might have died free in a free country. But I can now suffer nothing that is not more discreditable to you than distressing to me; nor however wretched I may be, shall I be so long. Look to these, whom, if you persist, either an untimely death or lengthened slavery awaits."

Livy also records that sources differ as to Coriolanus' fate, and whether he lived on after the incident.

The Romans honored Veturia for her courage, patriotism, and strength in a crisis; she had succeeded where all men before her had failed. She became a model of Roman female virtue. A temple to divine Fortuna was built in honour of her and the other women. She did not ask for any special favors or honors, except that a temple be built as a monument of Female Fortune. Plutarch wrote: "The senate, much commending their public spirit, caused the temple to be built and a statue set up in it at the public charge; they, however, made up a sum among themselves, for a second image of Fortune, which the Romans say uttered, as it was putting up, words to this effect, “Blessed of the gods, O women, is your gift.”"

In Shakespeare's play Coriolanus, the character of Coriolanus' mother performs much the same function as in the Roman story, but her name has been changed to "Volumnia."

See also


Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Beam, Jacob N. (1918), Hermann Kirchner's Coriolanus. PMLA 33:269-301.
  • Smethurst, S.E. (June 1950), "Women in Livy's 'History'". Greece and Rome 19:80-87
  • Plutarch Lives: "Coriolanus" translated by John Dryden and revised by Arthur Hugh Clough.
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  • Plutarch (2000), The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans.Canada: Random House of Canada.
  • Legasse, Paul,The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. 407
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.