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Cloelia Fleeing from the Etruscan King Porsena

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Cloelia Fleeing from the Etruscan King Porsena 1550s

Not on display

In the early history of Rome (around 500BC), an Etruscan King called Lars Porsena came into conflict with the Roman Republic. The Etruscans and the Romans both occupied the area that is modern day Italy. Eventually a peace treaty was drawn up, and as part of the settlement the Romans handed over ten daughters and ten sons as hostages to Porsena, of which Cloelia was one. She mounted a daring escape from the Etruscans, swimming across the Tiber to safety and helping many of her fellow captors. Fearing reprisals, the girls’ families sent them back to King Porsena’s camp, where he granted her and her companions freedom because of the bravery they had displayed in their escape. Salviati has shown the hostages slipping out of the Etruscan camp as the guards sleep.


  • Acc. No. D 3139
  • Medium Pen, brown ink and wash, over black chalk, heightened with white on paper
  • Size 14.10 x 18.10 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881