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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Chiomara

Flourished circa 189 B.C.E., Galatia (modern-day Turkey)

Chiomara’s story is related in De mulierum virtutes (On the Virtues of Women) by Plutarch (C.E. 46–after 119). During the Roman invasion of Galatia in 189 B.C.E., Chiomara was taken captive and raped by a centurion (a Roman army officer). When the centurion discovered that she was the wife of a chieftain—some sources call her a queen—he demanded a ransom for her return. The ransom was paid and, when the centurion was distracted by the gold, Chiomara beheaded him with his own sword and presented the head to her husband, who exclaimed in dismay, “A noble thing, dear wife, is fidelity.” To which Chiomaris tartly replied: “Yes, but it is a nobler thing that only one man be alive who has been intimate with me.”

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). <em>The Dinner Party</em> (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography
Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

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