Moles Martis, il turpe sepulcrum di Tarpea e la Luna dell'Arx
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 112, 2012
Through a re-examination of several literary sources and the iconographic documentation available, the paper aims to propose a reinterpretation of the legend of Tarpeia – a figure linked to the origins of Rome – and to explain her ties with the Mars of the Capitolium, Moles Martis and the Moon of Arx. In the tale of the traitor of the Capitoline hill and in her rehabilitation for propaganda purposes, traces of ancient ritual practices have been identified, connected with the reditus of the army and the recovery/reutilization of enemy weapons. Like the tomb of Titus Tatius on the Aventine hill, also the tomb of Tarpeia «speaks» of death and expiation. However, if on the Aventine there were laurels to guarantee the purification of soldiers by means of the blood of their dead enemies, on the Capitoline Arx the essential ingredient of the ritual seems to have been the violent hurling and the accumulation of weapons, especially shields.