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Lecture

CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Gracchi, Marcus Caelius Rufus, Gaius Gracchus


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA219H1
Professor
Regina Höschele

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Lecture 11 (12/04/12):
Women of Rome
- These are real figures but their portrayals are very biased, like most portrayals of
women
- Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, daughter of Scipio Africanus, bore 12 children of which
only 3 survived (Tiberius, Gaius, Sempronia), a univira
- Roman naming consists of a given name, a clan name, and a nickname of sorts
(Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus), women just get the female version of the family name
- Praenomen: The given name in the Roman convention
- Nomen Gentile: is the clan / family name in the Roman naming convention
- Cognomen: The third name in the Roman naming convention, a nickname of sorts
- Cornelia was one of the women who is held as a pinnacle of virtue like the fictional
Lucretia
- Sources portray her as very eloquent and well educated and known to have given her
sons a good education
- A statue of her from the Julian era is remarkable because mortal women were not often
portrayed in art
- Porticus Octaviae: portico named after Octavia, the first public building to carry a
woman's name, made in the time of Augustus. Has a statue of Cornelia in it
- Tiberius Gracchus was a tribune who represented the Plebeians, he used his time as
tribune to pass a law to redistribute public land
- Tribune: An elected leader of Rome who lead the Plebeian council, could only be held
by a Plebeian
- Plebeians: the traditional lower class of Rome
- It wasn't very popular with the Patricians and Tiberius is killed
- Patricians: The Aristocratic class of Rome
- 10 years later Gaius Gracchus becomes tribune and tries similar social reforms and is
also killed
- Despite the uneasiness surrounding the Gracchi Cornelia still remains untouched by
their antics, she is always defined by her motherhood to the Gracchi
- Cornelia was the daughter of Scipio Africanus and the mother-in-law to Scipio
Aemilianus, who fought in the 3rd Punic war
- Punic Wars: The wars fought between Rome and Carthage, three of them between
264 - 146 BC
- Cornelia is portrayed as erudite and taking an active interest in her children's
education, the first woman to be portrayed like this
- Clodia Metelli, born 95/96 BC, married to Metellus Celer and sister of Publius Clodius
Pulcher, had an affair with Marcus Caelius Rufus who she accuses of attempted
poisoning
- Portrayed very negatively in by Cicero in his defence speech, Pro Caelis
- Frequently identified with Catullus' beloved Lesbia (very problematic)
- Cicero is one of the most important Roman writers of the time, known for philosophy
and speech writing
- Clodius becomes tribune by being adopted into a Plebeian family (thus Clodius rather
than Claudius)
- Clodius is responsible for Cicero's exile, not the best of friends
- Once Clodia's husband died she lived a pretty loose life with parties and affairs and
what not
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