Legendary, known in ancient Rome, beginning circa 450 B.C.E.
Virginia (Verginia) was purportedly a Roman citizen of great beauty. Appius Claudius, a decemvir, or political official associated with the writing of laws, lusted after her but she was already engaged, so he paid a friend to claim that Virginia’s mother had been his slave and therefore she was his property. Her father, Virginius, seeing that there was no hope to free his daughter, killed her with a butcher knife in the public marketplace. This event incited a political revolt in which Appius Claudius and the decemvirs were overthrown and the Roman Republic restored.