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Traditional Roman Republic Virtues versus Christian Virtues

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Perpetua and Lucretia depict different virtues as women, wherein Perpetua is shown as virtuous because she willingly accepted suffering for her faith, while Lucretia took suffering in her own hands and asked others to avenge her marred integrity because she and her society assigned ultimate virtue on her sexual purity. Perpetua is different from Lucretia because she lived by the Christian virtue of suffering for her faith rather than renouncing it. She shows courage in accepting her suffering. Her punishment was to face gladiators, and, before they killed her, she told her brother and others: “You must all stand fast in the faith and love one another, and do not be weakened by what we have gone through.” She embraced her suffering with pride and love. Lucretia did not die for her religious beliefs, but because of her soiled sexuality. She did not even wait for others to punish her for being impure. She said this before committing suicide: “I will absolve myself of blame, and I will not free myself from punishment. No woman shall use Lucretia as her example in dishonor.” She could not accept living anymore after being raped because she and her society believed that women must be sexually pure (i.e. have sexual relations only with their husbands). Lucretia killed herself because of her shame, while Perpetua sacrificed her life for her Christian faith.The male interlocutors in these women’s lives lived according to their cultural virtues, wherein Christian males in Perpetua’s life suffered with her.