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Lecture 12

CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Ptolemy Viii Physcon, Jus Trium Liberorum, Pro Caelio

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Regina Höschele

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CLA219: Women in Antiquity
Tuesday Dec 4, 2012
Lecture 11 - Historical Women II: Clodia, Livia, Roman Empresses
These figures did actually exist
But their portrayals are most of the time very biased
Especially with members of imperial household
Some empresses represented as virtuous, others as terrible
It is difficult to reconstruct
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi
191/190-100 BC
Daughter of Scipio Africanus (conquerer of Hannibal in 202 BC)
172 BC: married to Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
Great age difference
Bore 12 children, only 3 survive to adulthood: Sempronia, Tiberius, Gaius
Sempronia gets family name cause she is the female
Univira (refused marriage proposal by Ptolemy VIII physician after her husband’s death)
This is why she is the epitome of virtue
She refused the hand of the king of Egypt!
Nomen, Prenomen and Cognomen
Nomen is family name
Prenomen given name
And Cognomen is nickname (e.g. Africanus)
Limited amount of prenomena to name males
Gaius Julius Caesar
Juli clan = Julius = Nomen
Gaius = Prenomen
Caesar = Cognomen
Supposed letters to her son
Widespread consensus that these letters are not written by her
But it is significant that sources portray her asa woman who is eloquent, educated and gave
a splendid education to her sons
In later times she was worshipped and revered
Can be seen from the fact that a statue of her was erected in Rome in the Augustan Age
Unusual as until that time there were no statues of mortal women erected before the Augus-
tan Age
Thought that it was erected in 2nd century BC but this is unlikely - probably a statue of a
goddess that came to stand for Cornelia
Portico = hall of columns where people hung out
Augustus puts up a portico after 20 BC
1st public building in rome named after a female (Octavia)
There was a statue of Cornelia (we only have the base which has an inscription)
The base: she is recognized as daughter of Scipio and the mother of Gracchi
Micchelus was designated successor of augustus - husband of Octavia?
Octavia’s second husband was Mark Antony
She takes in the children of all her previous husbands along with Cleo’s children
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CLA219: Women in Antiquity
Tuesday Dec 4, 2012
Lecture 11 - Historical Women II: Clodia, Livia, Roman Empresses
Put up in reference to Augustus sisters motherhood
Lived from 163-133 BC
Tribune = a representative of the roman people (the plebs)
Two parts of population: Patricians (old roman aristocracy) and plebians (non-nobles)
Tribune could make laws and influence politics on behalf of lower classes
Quite a desirable position, office was for a year, can be reelected but not usually succes-
He proposes a law that would distribute public land, and this was not popular with patri-
In 133 BC he is killed
Becomes a tribune
Gracchi are social reformers = they seem to be problematic for the Patricians
Dies in 121 BC (a slave kills him)
Both Gracchi were forward looking politicians who wanted to introduce social reforms that
didn’t go over to well and they end up dead
Cornelia loses her two grown up sons in political struggles
They were notorious and a lot of anxiety is attached to their names but Cornelia’s image is un-
touched - she is the best king of woman there can be (in later portrayal)
She is always represented as mother of gracchi - defined by her motherhood
Plutarch , Life of Tiberius Crassus
Tiberius finds two snakes in his bed-chamber
This is a bad omen
Whichever snake he kills results in death (male snake = his death; female snake = her death)
He kills male so she lives on
Valerius Maximus, Memorable Doings and Sayings
A woman shows off her jewels to Cornelia
When her children come home from school, Cornelia said “these are my jewels”
Plutarch, Life of Gaius Gracchus
Her daughter was married to Scipio Aemlinus
She reproaches her sons because she is known as mother-in-law of Scipio
She is saying that she would rather be famous for her sons, not son-in-law
She is waiting for her sons to be famous
Cornelia and Education
First woman of whom we are told that was actively involved in education (both of herself and
Cicero, Brutus
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