Clodia Metelli: The Tribune's Sister

Clodia Metelli: The Tribune's Sister

Paperback Women in Antiquity

By (author) Marilyn B. Skinner

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 23mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 3 February 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195375017
  • ISBN 13: 9780195375015
  • Illustrations note: 9 black and white halftones, 3 black and white line illustrations
  • Sales rank: 551,233

Product description

Clodia Metelli: The Tribune's Sister is the first full-length biography of a Roman aristocrat whose colorful life, as described by her contemporaries, has inspired numerous modern works of popular fiction, art, and poetry. Clodia, widow of the consul Metellus Celer, was one of several prominent females who made a mark on history during the last decades of the Roman Republic. As the eldest sister of the populist demagogue P. Clodius Pulcher, she used her wealth and position to advance her brother's political goals. For that she was brutally reviled by Clodius' enemy, the orator M. Tullius Cicero, in a speech painting her as a scheming, debauched whore. Clodia may also have been the alluring mistress celebrated in the love poetry of Catullus, whom he calls "Lesbia" in homage to Sappho and depicts as beautiful, witty, but also false and corrupt. From Cicero's letters, finally, we receive glimpses of a very different woman, a great lady at her leisure. This study examines Clodia in the contexts of her family background, the societal expectations for a woman of her rank, and the turbulent political climate in which she operated. It weighs the value of the several kinds of testimony about her and attempts to extract a picture as faithful to historical truth as possible. The manner in which Clodia was represented in writings of the period, and the motives of their authors in portraying her as they did, together shed considerable light on the role played by female figures in Roman fiction and historiography.

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Author information

Marilyn Skinner is Professor of Classics, University of Arizona

Review quote

This book is well-presented and well-written Bryn Mawr Classical Review This book ... is highly readable for its comments on the social and political history of the time, as well as an insight into the literary works of Catullus and Cicero. As a commentary on a key Republican family, it works as an in-depth case study of Late Republican life. Kate Hammond, Journal of Roman Studies

Table of contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ; ABBREVIATIONS ; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ; GENEALOGIES OF CLODIA METELLI AND HER SIBLINGS ; MAPS ; INTRODUCTION ; 1. Cicero as a Biographical Source ; 2. The Gens Claudia ; 3. Women and Wealth ; 4. The Claudii Pulchri ; 5. The Metelli ; 6. Palatine Medea ; 7. : Lesbia ; AFTERWORD: A WOMAN IN A MAN'S WORLD ; ENDNOTES ; WORKS CITED