In 450 BCE, a board of ten, the decemviri, usurp the leadership of Rome. Its head, Appius Claudius, DESIRES Verginia, the daughter of Lucius Verginius. Claudius’s client Marcus Claudius takes her to Appius’s court, where he claims she is his runaway SLAVE; Appius decrees her to be his property, but Verginia’s fiancé Icilius forces Appius to rescind his order. Verginius leads his daughter back to court the next day; Appius again judges her to be a slave. Verginius, exclaiming “In the only way I can, my daughter, I claim your freedom,” kills her. Shown her lifeless body and bloodstained clothes, the crowd overthrows the decemvirate and restores the republic. Verginius and Icilius are elected to office.