CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Varg Vikernes, Tiber, Marcus Caelius Rufus
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CLA219: Women in Antiquity
71. Cicero on Clodia. Rome, 56 BC (Cicero, Pro Caelio 13-16. 42 L)
•Cicero speaking against a certain woman, Clodia, in defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus, a for-
•He deliberately blurred the formal charges under the law against riot and amused the jury, esti-
vate because it had been empaled on a holiday
•Gives a spicy portrait of a notorious woman, arguing hat she had sponsored the prosecution for
•Two accusations against Caelius: stolen gold, and attempted poisoning
•He says that everything else of gossip, and spread by Clodia who was obviously jilted
•She is merely attacking him, and without her there would be no case
•Subtly accuses her of incest - “confuses” her brother for her husband (this is his sarcastic wit in
•“I never considered it wise to many an enemy of a woman, especially one who is generally
considered everybody’s friend”
•Is this a jab that meaning she is loose?
•Cicero jokingly calls up one of the “old beards” - an ancestor of Clodia - in order to speak and
reprimand her in his place
•Caecus the Blind: uses her lineage to shame her on going for someone beneath her status. If
not her male lineage persuades her then he lists illustrious females of her clan. She is influ-
enced by the vices of her brother rather than qualities of her forebears. He lists his achieve-
ments and juxtaposes them with her vices:
•Did I break the peace with Pyrrhus so that you could make daily treatises with your
•Did I build the aqueduct to provide water for your post-incest ablutions?
•Did I build the road so that you could parade with other women’s husbands?
•Accuses her witnesses of being bought
•Gives her two options:
•Deny the charges and prove that they are lies
•Or admit that neither your accusation nor your testimony deserve to be believed
•Returns to subject of incest:
•Probably out of fear of the dark her little brother slept in her bed
•And she saw a young man, tall and handsome
•And now she tries to see him more often but he rejects her so she turns to another
•She has a garden on the tiber where young people bathe - why does she waste her time with
Caelius? She has plenty of opportunities
•If a woman live immodestly in excess should the man be accused as an adulterer if he takes a
little liberty with her?
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