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The Regifugium is a festival which is celebrated by the Romans every year on the 24th of February, and according to Varro and Ovid held in commemoration of the flight of king Tarquinius Superbus from Rome - a story of anger, rape, suicide, and revenge.

Some ancient sources (Cincius and Plutarch, in paticular) are of opinion that these two days derived their name from the symbolical flight of the Rex Sacrorum from the comitium; for this king-priest was generally not allowed to appear in the comitium, which was destined for the transaction of political matters in which he could not take part. But on certain days in the year, and certainly on the two days mentioned above, he had to go to the comitium for the purpose of offering certain sacrifices, and immediately after he had performed his functions there, he hastily fled from it; and this symbolical flight is said to have been called Regifugium.

"Now I have to tell of the Flight of the King: The sixth day from the end of the month has that name. Tarquin the Proud held the last kingship of the Roman people, A man of injustice, but powerful in might. He had taken cities, and overthrown others, And made Gabii his, by base trickery. For the youngest of his three sons, Sextus, clearly a child Of Tarquin, entered the midst of his enemies in the still of night. They drew their swords: he said: `Don't kill the unarmed! That's what my brother, and father, Tarquin, desire, He who lacerated my back with a cruel scourge.' So he could make his plea, he had suffered a beating... It was night, and the whole house was without light: He rose, and drew his sword from his gilded scabbard, And, chaste wife, he entered your bedroom. As he touched the bed, the king's son said: `Lucretia I have a blade, and I, a Tarquin, speak!' She said nothing: she'd no voice or powers of speech Nor any capability for thought in her whole mind. But she trembled like a little lamb, caught straying From the fold, brought low by a wolf's attack. What could she do? Fight? In battle a woman loses. Cry out? But the sword in his right hand restrained her... What she could, she told. The end she suppressed: She wept, and a blush spread over a wife's cheeks. Her husband and her father forgave her being forced: She said: `I deny myself the forgiveness that you grant.' Then she stabbed herself with a blade she had hidden, And, all bloodied, fell at her father's feet. Even then she took care in dying so that she fell With decency, that was her care even in falling... Brutus, with a shout, Gathered the Quirites, and told of the king's evil act. Tarquin the Proud and his children fled, a consul took up the rule For the year: That day was the last day of kingship. Am I wrong, or has the swallow come, herald of the Spring: Does she not fear lest winter should turn back, return again? Often, Procne, you'll complain that you've been too swift, And your husband, Tereus, rejoice in the cold you feel.." - Ovid, Fasti II

"'Courageous Roman, do not steep thy heart In such relenting dew of lamentations; But kneel with me and help to bear thy part, To rouse our Roman gods with invocations, That they will suffer these abominations, Since Rome herself in them doth stand disgraced, By our strong arms from forth her fair streets chased. Now, by the Capitol that we adore, And by this chaste blood so unjustly stain'd, By heaven's fair sun that breeds the fat earth's store, By all our country rights in Rome maintain'd, And by chaste Lucrece' soul that late complain'd Her wrongs to us, and by this bloody knife, We will revenge the death of this true wife.'

This said, he struck his hand upon his breast, And kiss'd the fatal knife, to end his vow; And to his protestation urged the rest, Who, wondering at him, did his words allow: Then jointly to the ground their knees they bow; And that deep vow, which Brutus made before, He doth again repeat, and that they swore. When they had sworn to this advised doom, They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence; To show her bleeding body thorough Rome, And so to publish Tarquin's foul offence: Which being done with speedy diligence, The Romans plausibly did give consent To Tarquin's everlasting banishment." - Wm. Shakespeare, "The Rape of Lucrece"

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