Sunday, December 27, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 69: Reba represents Rhea Sylvia


Joan Allen as Reba.

Due to the similarity of the names 'Reba' and 'Rhea', Reba represents the mythical woman Rhea Sylvia. Rhea Silvia (also written as Rea Silvia), and also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome.

According to Livy's account of the legend, she was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa and descendant of Aeneas. Numitor's younger brother Amulius seized the throne and killed Numitor's son. Amulius forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess to the goddess Vesta, so that the line of Numitor would have no heirs; Vestal Virgins were sworn to celibacy for a period of thirty years. Rhea Silvia claimed that the god Mars, however, came upon her and seduced her in the forest, thereby conceiving the twins.[a] The fact that Dollarhyde represents Mars, and that he and Reba have had sex, is further evidence for a correspondence between Reba and Rhea Sylvia.

Digressing for a moment, it should be mentioned that The Order of the Vestal Virgins and its well-being was considered to have a direct bearing on the health and prosperity of the city. The prefect Symmachus wrote, "The laws of our ancestors provided for the Vestal Virgins and the ministers of the gods a moderate maintenance and just privileges. This gift was preserved inviolate till the time of the degenerate moneychangers, who diverted the maintenance of sacred chastity into a fund for the payment of base porters. A public famine ensued on this act, and a bad harvest disappointed the hopes of all the provinces... it was sacrilege which rendered the year barren, for it was necessary that all should lose that which they had denied to religion."

Zosimus records how the Christian noblewoman Serena, niece of Theodosius I, entered the Temple of Vesta and took from the statue of the goddess a necklace and placed it on her own neck. An old woman appeared, the last of the Vestal Virgins, who proceeded to rebuke Serena and called down upon her all just punishment for her act of impiety. According to Zosimus, Serena was then subject to dreadful dreams predicting her own untimely death.[b] Augustine was inspired to write his City of God (which we have been using for this analysis) in response to murmurings that the capture of Rome and the disintegration of its empire was due to the advent of the Christian era and its intolerance of the old gods who had defended the city for over a thousand years.

Returning to the subject of Rhea Sylvia, as mentioned she claimed that the god Mars came upon her and seduced her in the forest, thereby conceiving the twins Romulus and Remus. We note that Dollarhyde's house, where he and Reba had sex, is located in a wooded area reminiscent of a forest. Insofar as Reba represents Rhea Sylvia, we see that Reba was impregnated by Dollarhyde when she had sex with him. In fact, we had already determined this back in part 15 of the analysis, during the discussion of William Blake's Great Red Dragon paintings. The fact that Francis has impregnated Reba explains why, in the end (when he has her in his house, and is standing over her), he hesitates when considering whether to kill her - he 'senses' that she has his offspring within her.

a. Wikipedia, 'Rhea Sylvia'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Wikipedia, 'Vestal Virgin'. Web, n.d. URL =


1) In certain instances it has been determined that the creators of some of the productions analyzed on this blog, and/or the creators of source material(s) used in the making of these productions, may be making negative statements about certain segments of society in their productions. These statements should be taken as expressing the opinions of no one other than the creators.

2) This blog is not associated with any of the studios, creators, authors, publishers, directors, actors, musicians, writers, editors, crew, staff, agents, or any other persons or entities involved at any stage in the making of any of the media productions or source materials that are analyzed, mentioned, or referenced herein.

3) In keeping with the policies of the filmmakers, authors, studios, writers, publishers, and musicians, that have created the productions (and their source materials) that are analyzed, mentioned, or referenced on this blog, any similarity of the characters in these films or source materials to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


All images on this blog are used solely for non-commercial purposes of analysis, review, and critique.

All Wikipedia content on this blog, and any edits made to it, are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Marcus Aurelius's Meditations - from Wikisource (except where otherwise noted); portions from Wikisource used on this blog are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Saint Augustine's Confessions and City of God from Wikisource (except where otherwise noted); portions from Wikisource used on this blog are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica from the 'Logos Virtual Library' website (except where otherwise noted), compiled and edited by Darren L. Slider; believed to be in public domain.