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The Death of the Roman Consul Marcus Atilius Regulus
about 1413 - 1415
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.)
The Roman consul Regulus served in the Punic war, defeating the Carthaginians in 256 B.C. His demands for an unconditional surrender, however, so angered the Carthaginians that they continued their battle and in 255 soundly defeated the Romans. As a Carthaginian prisoner, Regulus was sent back to Rome to negotiate a peace treaty. Against the protests of his fellow citizens, he returned to Carthage to fulfill the terms of his captivity; according to legend, he was then tortured to death. The Romans saw Regulus as a hero, and his legend was kept alive through inclusion in medieval texts like Giovanni Boccaccio's Concerning the Fates of Illustrious Men and Women.