Lorenzo Maitani, God neemt Adams rib (kathedraal van Orvieto), ca. 1310-1330
Lorenzo Maitani, façade of Orvieto cathedral

Nam posset et illam
pulvere de simili Princeps formare puellam,
sed quo plenus amor toto de corde veniret,
noscere in uxorem voluit sua membra maritum.
dividitur contexta cutis, subducitur una
sensim costa viro, sed mox reditura marito.
nam iuvenis de parte brevi formatur adulta
virgo decora, rudis, matura tumentibus annis,
coniugii subolisque capax quo nata probatur,
et sine lacte pio fit mox infantia pubes.
excutitur somno iuvenis, videt ipse puellam
ante oculos astare suos, pater, inde maritus,
non tamen ex coitu genitor, sed coniugis auctor.
somnus erat partus, conceptus semine nullo;
materiem fecunda quies produxit amoris
affectusque novos blandi genuere sopores.
constitit ante oculos nullo velamine tecta,
corpore nuda simul niveo quasi nympha profundi:
caesaries intonsa comis, gena pulchra rubore,
omnia pulchra gerens, oculos, os, colla manusque,
vel qualem possent digiti formare Tonantis.
(Dracontius, De Laudibus Dei 1.377-397)

God could have created this young woman too from the same dust, but He wanted the man to recognize his own body in her, so that he might love her fully and with all his heart. He slices the tissue of the man’s skin and cautiously removes one of his ribs—a rib that will soon be returned to him, as a husband. From this small part of the young man’s body a full-grown maiden is created, beautiful, unexperienced, yet mature and with a woman’s curves, ripe for marriage and for motherhood, the things for which she clearly is born. Even unfed by lovely (mother’s) milk, her infancy at once turns into adolescence. The young man is roused from sleep and sees her standing there in front of him. Just now he was her father, soon he will be her husband. He hasn’t begotten her in intercourse, and yet he is the maker of his bride. Sleep has given birth to her; conception took place without any seed. A fertile doze has produced this object of love; soft slumber has given rise to new passions. She stood there before his eyes, not covered by any veil, but naked, her body milky-white, like a nymph from the deep. Her long hair is beautiful, her blushing cheeks are charming. Everything about her is charming: her eyes, her mouth, her neck, her hands—such as the fingers of the Lord of Thunder might have fashioned. (tr. David Bauwens)


Clytemnestra incites Aegisthus to kill Agamemnon

“Sors pariter nos una manet: iubeoque rogoque,
pastorem regina monens; formidine mortis
territa sollicitor miserandi femina sexus,
conveniens tamen hortor opus, dum congrua vitae
impero, ne moriar tecum peritura cruente;
nam mecum miser ipse cades Agamemnone viso,
impie. funereis nos casibus eripe sollers;
nec labor ullus erit victorem sternere ferro:
semper iners, securus agit, qui perculit hostem,
et patet insidiis nullo terrente quietus.
non est quem metuas: brevis est et parvus Orestes,
unaque natarum cinis est per templa Dianae,
altera sexus iners, recidens, miseranda – quid audet?”
(Dracontius, Orestis Tragoedia 183-195)

“One and the same fate awaits the both of us. I order and beseech you, a queen exhorting a herdsman; I, a woman, belonging to the pitiable sex, am tormented and afflicted by the fear of death. Yet it is a fitting deed to which I urge, a deed wholly agreeing with life which I demand, so that I may not die a bloody death with you. For you, godless one, will perish miserably with me when Agamemnon appears. Save us from these fatal events through your shrewdness. It will be no great trouble to slay the conqueror with your sword. He who has struck down his enemy is always lazy and feels secure; nobody scares him, and in his peace of mind he is easy to deceive. You don’t have anyone to fear. Orestes is but a small child, and of my two daughters one is mere ashes in the temple of Diana; the other one is weak, frail, pitiable – what’s she going to do?” (tr. David Bauwens)