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Lecture 12

Lecture 12 - Historical Women II- Clodia, Livia, Roman Empresses

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Regina Höschele

CLA219: Women inAntiquity 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 theAugustanAge • Unusual as until that time there were no statues of mortal women erected before theAugus- 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 MarkAntony • She takes in the children of all her previous husbands along with Cleo’s children CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Dec 4, 2012 Lecture 11 - Historical Women II: Clodia, Livia, Roman Empresses • Put up in reference to Augustus sister’s motherhood Gracchi Tiberius: • • 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- sively • He proposes a law that would distribute public land, and this was not popular with patri- cians In 133 BC he is killed • • Gaius • 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 • Awoman 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 sons) • Cicero, Brutus CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Dec 4, 2012 Lecture 11 - Historical Women II: Clodia, Livia, Roman Empresses • Sons are nursed by mothers speech along side her breast • They way the mum speaks to her children determines their personality and education This elite male realized this! • • Quintilian, Orations • Gracchi owe much of their education to their mother • So both father and mother should take active part in education of children • Tacitus, Dialogue on Oratory • Her strict discipline gave way to pure and virtuous nature which no vices could warp Death of Gracchi • Seneca, To Helvia on Sololation • Cornelia used as a woman who can bear her grief well • Seneca was exiled because the wife of emperor Clodius accused Seneca of adultery • So he was banned to Corsica • Agripina, mother of Nero, recalls him to teach her son (decade later) • In his exile he writes to his mother Helvia in consolation for his absence • Cornelia deserves to be ranked with great men • Despite the death of 10 children she refused to blame Fortune, and focussed on the good of her sons • She is not defeated but proud of her sons, and gets over the loss Seneca holds her up as an example of a strong female • Clodia Metelli • Born 95/4 BC • Married to Q. Metellus Celer • Dies in 59 BC • Clodia suspected of killing husband
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