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who murdered Regilla

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who murdered Regilla

Postby daivid » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:56 pm

I have just read Pomeroy's The murder of Regilla. After two millennium it is hardly likely that any conclusion will meet a criminal level of proof and Pomeroy does not give a final verdict. On the other hand Pomeroy does seem to me to have a favourite conclusion. There are two suspects Herodes Atticus, her husband, and Alcimedon. a freedman of Herodes Atticus. As the defence case (in the subsequent trial) was that Herodes Atticus ordered Alcimedon to punish Regilla and over did it, kicking her in the stomach, there are many possible ways to share out the burden of guilt.

Pomeroy seems to load almost all of the guilt onto Alcimedon. This is on the "who gains?" principle. Alcimedon she suggests may have poisoned Herodes mind against his wife and when given a blank check made full use of it. With Regella out of the way he was able to secure his place in Herodes affections.

That Alcimedon was treated well after the murder of Regella is pretty clear but it seems to me doubtful that Alcimedon could have anticipated that outcome. Even if Herodes had become so alienated from his wife that he bore no ill will against whoever killed her I doubt whether Alcimedon would have been so sure that killing Herodes future son might not result in Herodes turning on him.

Herodes was known for his outbursts of anger and may have killed before. Hence a more likely scenario seems to be for Regella's resentment against her domineering husband to have provoke a rage that led Heroides to attack his wife so brutally that she died of her injuries. Then, after the event, loyal Alcimedon offers to carry the can. That seems a far more likely explanation for Herodes very generous treatment of Alcimedon and his family.

Some of you may well know of evidence that Pomeroy had ignored that can be used in Herodes defence. What I find curious however is why Pomeroy favors a solution that is so at odds with the evidence she presents.
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Re: who murdered Regilla

Postby daivid » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:18 pm

Michael Scott at the beginning of the third episode of his TV series "Ancient Greece: The greatest show on earth" says
"Herodes Atticus built this theatre in memory of recently deceased wife, Regilla. It's not a bad way to say I miss you."

You'd never guess from that he may have been her murder, at the very least ordered Alcimedon to beat her up, and disowned his son by Regilla. Jaw dropping.
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Re: who murdered Regilla

Postby Scribo » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:35 am

I seem to have a black humour in that I gave a little wry laugh at your comment...

This is all interesting, as for his motives look out for stuff like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euergetism and conspicuous consumption, how taxes worked in the ancient world etc. I'm dubious of such personal readings like "I love you" in monuments...such a modern idea, for them such private thoughts had more sensible expressions. So it's not exactly contradictory to have killed her and then put up a library if you consider the wider implications of building projects.
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Re: who murdered Regilla

Postby daivid » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:15 pm

Scribo wrote:I seem to have a black humour in that I gave a little wry laugh at your comment...

This is all interesting, as for his motives look out for stuff like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euergetism and conspicuous consumption, how taxes worked in the ancient world etc. I'm dubious of such personal readings like "I love you" in monuments...such a modern idea, for them such private thoughts had more sensible expressions. So it's not exactly contradictory to have killed her and then put up a library if you consider the wider implications of building projects.


Thanks for pointing out to me the extent that such dedications were almost a kind of "boiler plate". Hence, rather than being intended as a smokescreen to defect suspicion that he was a murderer, it maybe that he added the dedication simply because it was expected.

However, when I said "jaw dropping" it was my reaction to Michael Scott's words which were directed to a modern audience who knows none of the background and who will interpret the words in modern terms as the expression genuine grief of a man who had always been a devoted husband.
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Re: who murdered Regilla

Postby mwh » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:35 pm

There's an erudite review of the book by Leofranc Holford-Strevens at http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2008/2008-01-44.html
Your scenario seems plausible enough to me, except perhaps for the loyal can-carrying role it assigns Alcimedon. (L.H-Str. makes the point that then, given Herodes' acquittal, "the failure to punish him [Alcimedon] becomes inexplicable even as a favour to Herodes".)

Suspicion-deflecting smokescreen also likely enough, though there could be more complex psychological reasons for his long-continued and more than conventional expressions of grief (e.g. if he killed her in a momentary fit of anger, unintentionally even, his grief may have been genuine and his remorse may have taken that form?) But the suspicion that he did in fact kill her, however strong, must remain beyond verification, depending as it does on considerations of plausibility, to eikos.
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Re: who murdered Regilla

Postby daivid » Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:17 pm

mwh wrote:There's an erudite review of the book by Leofranc Holford-Strevens at http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2008/2008-01-44.html
Your scenario seems plausible enough to me, except perhaps for the loyal can-carrying role it assigns Alcimedon. (L.H-Str. makes the point that then, given Herodes' acquittal, "the failure to punish him [Alcimedon] becomes inexplicable even as a favour to Herodes".)

Thanks for Leofranc Holford-Strevens link. He does dispute a key statement by Pomeroy that 'No one claimed that she had died of natural causes'. As I said, I based my argument purely on what is contained in Pomeroy's book. I do intend sometime to check what Pomeroy's reffs but for the moment its for me just the word of one academic against another.

However, I still find the scenario in which Alcimedon despite being innocent loyally carries the can for Herodes the most plausible. In such a case Alcimedon must have had a good reason to put himself at such a risk. The very generous treatment of Alcimedon's daughters by Herodes is such a reason.

That "Romans had no modern prejudice against scapegoating the subordinate" does not mean that a prosecution against inevitable that Alcimedon would be prosecuted. If Regilla's brother had not chosen to bring a prosecution against Herodes he would not have found himself in court. Regilla's brother may well have had a very clear idea of the events that led to Regilla's death.  Bradua, Regilla's son may well have been present and even if he wasn't he would have access to slaves who he would have known well. Bradua may well have got those slaves to tell him off the record what happened.
A son could not testify against his father.
I'm not sure what the law would be concerning the slaves but they probably would not have been able to testify without Herodes consent and even if that were not so Herodes could have ensure they would not say anything against him.
So when Regilla's brother brought his prosecution he may have had a lot of reliable information that he was not able to use in court.

If Regila's brother was convinced that Herodes alone was guilty he may well have seen little to be gained by going after Alcimedon. Indeed to do so would be tantamount to an admission that Herodes was innocent.

 
mwh wrote:Suspicion-deflecting smokescreen also likely enough, though there could be more complex psychological reasons for his long-continued and more than conventional expressions of grief (e.g. if he killed her in a momentary fit of anger, unintentionally even, his grief may have been genuine and his remorse may have taken that form?) But the suspicion that he did in fact kill her, however strong, must remain beyond verification, depending as it does on considerations of plausibility, to eikos.


Killing in a fit of anger is indeed a lot more plausible than anything premeditated.
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