Ancient equality: Love in Rome - this man set a monument to his lioness for eternity

Turia lived at the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus.

Ancient equality: Love in Rome - this man set a monument to his lioness for eternity

Turia lived at the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus. She was younger than her husband and yet left him as a survivor. Her husband built her a valuable tomb, with a eulogy to Turia carved on it. His memory of a lioness. A self-confident woman who was not afraid of confrontation in troubled times and who was ready to make any sacrifice for her husband. Marriages that lasted so long and were ended by death and not separated by divorce are rare, the text begins. "We were successful in ensuring that the marriage lasted for about forty-one years without any offence."

Because of the disputes over inheritance and property, the Laudatio Turiae is one of the most important sources for Roman civil law. But above all it is the sign of great love. It is typical for the Romans that the gravestone holds back on personal data, while today's gravestones are initially described like a population register. The eulogy was intended for the gods and eternity and for Turia. The stone reads as if the man was reciting the song of praise directly from the dead. We only know her name but not even that of her family; the man himself doesn't mention himself. The political unrest of the time also reached Turia, so we can place it in time.

Turia was a fighter. Even as a young woman, she and her sister ensured that her parents' murderers were brought to justice and convicted. She then had to fend off greedy relatives who wanted to dispute her status as sole heir by citing her status as a wife. In their marriage, Turia and her husband chose a path that made both of them equal partners and achieved the feat of still conforming to tradition. So the husband became the guardian of her inherited property, and in return she received custody of all his goods.

But the couple could not have children. In Rome, childlessness was an almost mandatory reason for divorce, as the absence of children led to the extinction of the line and interrupted the cycle by which property could be passed on. Turia therefore offered her husband a divorce and, what's more, she was prepared to give all of her inherited property to her husband's second marriage so that the new couple could continue on the path that she actually wanted to follow with him. But he refused indignantly, because a divorce would have brought disgrace on him and lifelong unhappiness on both of them.

Although the couple could now have no offspring, they attached great importance to increasing their wealth and not wasting it through ostentation. Turia donated the dowry for the young women in her family. Preserving the property was a feat during the civil wars. The parties enriched themselves and financed their armies by pursuing Romans only to confiscate their property.

He confesses that he only has Turia to thank for surviving the two great civil wars. The man was a Republican and fought on Pompey's side against Caesar. With the defeat and death of Pompey Magnus, he was declared without rights and fled into exile. Although it was strictly forbidden and dangerous, his wife maintained the formally invalid marriage to the exile and supported him in a foreign country. The second civil war also found him on the wrong side. When Octavian, the later Augustus, won, the husband was again or still banished. Ultimately, Turia saved his life. She threw herself on the ground before Lepidus, one of Octavian's co-rulers, and kissed his feet to beg mercy for her husband. Even punches and kicks didn't make her stop. Faced with the impression created by her courage and perseverance - "even when the body was covered with blows and stains, your will remained strong" - Lepidus could not help but pardon her husband.

When she died before him, the widower, whose name remained unknown, erected the extraordinary tombstone for his Turia.