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Bacchanals First Mass Hunt

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Aug 16, 2014
Europe, Berchtesgaden Alps
At the last century of the roman republic - since the female insurrection against the Oppian laws - women were exercising greater freedom. Suddenly, leading patricians were accusing female-led mystery sodalities of poisoning, ritual murder, sexual deviance, and treason. As Livy tells it, the celebrants feasted, drank wine and
... all feelings of shame extinguished, they abandoned themselves to all kinds of debauchery... not limited to faceless coupling of male and female... also poisonings and internal murders, to the point that sometimes the body could not even be found for burial... This violence was hidden by the shouts and noise of the drums and cymbals so that none of the cries for help could be heard... There is no crime or misdeed which they have not committed ...

Panic swept Rome, then all Italy. The night of the speech, many people trying to flee the city were arrested by guards posted at its gates. Thousands more were denounced. Some known initiates, male and female, killed themselves. Others succeeded in escaping from Rome; many of those denounced could not be found. Officials staged dragnet searches and inquests in the suburbs. There were rumored to be more than 7,000 conjurari. Recent initiates were imprisoned, but all the rest—thousands of people—were condemned to death. The state followed the old policy of allowing men to punish female relatives in the privacy of the home:

The convicted women are turned over to their relatives or to those in whose hands they are [male guardians], so that they will punish them in private; if there is no one to carry out the execution, it will be done in public.

According to the roman custom, women were not executed in public, this was done in the privacy - women where hanged in a noose.

Liv. 39 18

Plures necati quam in vincula coniecti sunt. Magna vis in utraque causa virorum mulierumque fuit. Mulieres damnatas cognatis, aut in quorum manu essent, tradebant, ut ipsi in privato animadverterent in eas: si nemo erat idoneus supplicii exactor, in publico animadvertebatur.

More were killed than were thrown into prison. There was a large number of men and women in both classes. Convicted women were turned over to their relatives or to those who had authority over them, that they might be punished in private:1 if there was no suitable person to exact it, the penalty was inflicted by the state.


Hanging is a common death for women in Greek tragedy. However, in Roman society hanging was considered to be the death of inferior people, and was regarded with revulsion. Van Hooff notes that in Senccan tragedies the women who in their Greek setting killed themselves by hanging in the Roman versions use cutting implements. In the Aeneid, the noose with which Amata hangs herself is described as »knot of ugly death« (nodum informis leti, Aen. 12.603), emphasising the disfigurement of this way of dying, and Servius writes ad loc. of ancient Roman taboos against hanging.' One reason why upper-class Roman women in particular might have found suicide by hanging a revolting idea was that it was the means of death used for the capital punishment of this section of Roman society. In fact, the only other women recorded in Roman literature who kill themselves in this way arc the freedwomcn Epicharis and Phoebe, with their Greek names.

In other words, this form of suicide is the polar opposite of the soldierly stab which we found in Lucrctia’s story; rather than being masculine, heroic and Roman, the death of the Teutonic women has associations with effeminacy, shame, inferiority and foreignness.

bacc_0_Gregorio-Lazzarini.JPG bacc_1.jpg bacc_2.jpg bacc_3.jpg bacc_4_Fritz-August-von-Raulbach.jpg bacc_5.jpg bacc_6.jpg bacc_7.jpg bacc_8.jpg bacc_9.jpg


Crucified Amazon
Jan 9, 2012
Bacchanals were not only a wine'feast but also a sex'feast ; but they were reserved, in fact, to a sect of initiated persons (males and females) and were celebrated in private .
They were becoming so much frequent (sometimes several times per month !) that the Roman Senate took some initiatives to stop this practice, going till to condemn to death those who were practising them !
Here is a sculpted fresco to a roman sarcophagus ( 210-220 AD)

800px-Sarcophagus_with_Scenes_of_Bacchus_-_Getty_Villa_-_Collection.jpg ... and for more :
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