Cloelia

Eventually Lars Porsena and the Romans made peace, in 508 BC, and hostages were given to the Etruscan king. One of these hostages was a girl called Cloelia, who, with a group of fellow hostages decided to escape from the Etruscans by swimming across the River Tiber.

Cloelia Crossing the Tiber, 1630-40, by Rubens.

Lars Porsena was so furious that he threatened to attack Rome again if the hostages were not returned. Cloelia decided to return of her own free will. The Etruscan king was so impressed with her bravery that he allowed her to return to Rome and take the other hostages with her.

The Romans gave Cloelia an honour usually reserved for men: an equestrian statue, located at the top of the Via Sacra.