The Sexual Assault Case That Shook Ancient Rome


EXCERPT: . . . His name was Gnaeus Plancius, and in the year 54 B.C., he was one of the most powerful men in Rome. It was more than 2,000 years before the #MeToo movement, but a scene similar to the ones we’ve witnessed so often lately was already playing out. A prominent politician was on trial for corruption and bribery, charges bolstered by dirt his enemies had dug up from his past: the violent sexual assault of a young girl.

Those charges of corruption and bribery were a serious matter, but to the men in the court, the rape charge was nothing. It was harmless boys-will-be-boys misbehavior — something half the men there were guilty of themselves. His lawyer, Cicero, didn’t even bother to deny it. [...] Raping an actress, as Cicero assured them, was nothing more than following “a well-established tradition at staged events.” [...] Her name has been lost to time — nobody bothered to write it down. [...] The woman from Atina knew well what the men thought of her. She was an actress — and in Rome in 54 B.C., that made her little more than a prostitute.

[...] There was no justice. Mimae, by law, were legally prohibited from testifying in court. Even if she did accuse him of the crime, she wouldn’t have been allowed to tell her own story.

Nothing happened to Plancius. He moved out of Atina and became a powerful politician in Rome. In a twist of cruel irony, he would eventually be made an aedile: the man in charge of the festivals where mimae performed.

Plancius didn’t change. As an adult, he openly cheated on his wife, and once was caught dragging a woman miles out of her hometown so that he could violently rape her in the comfort of his own home. When Plancius was accused of buying votes, his political opponents dug up the old story of the assault in Atina to use as dirt. The actress’s story was told for the first time, but only because she was a convenient way to smear his character.

She was barred from the courtroom, unable to confront her attacker, but the men of Atina went. Cicero rounded up every friend Plancius had and filled the courtroom with people who supported him. Some of them may have been the men who’d cheered while he attacked her; some may even have been those who joined in. Those men came home with smiles on their faces, singing songs and laughing, and she would have known as soon as she saw them that Plancius had once again walked away a free man...

There's a reason women weren't allowed to act in some cultures/time periods and that "casting couches" still exist.

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Dracula's cannonballs likely found in Bulgarian fortress assault C C 0 25 Jun 9, 2019 06:10 PM
Last Post: C C
  Rome fell from climate & disease + "We'll Never Know For Sure How Everything Began" C C 2 215 Mar 20, 2018 04:28 AM
Last Post: Syne
  How climate change and disease helped the fall of Rome C C 0 191 Dec 20, 2017 06:49 PM
Last Post: C C

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)