Medea Palatina . Notes on Cicero's Caeliana with special regard to the person of Clodia Cover Image

Medea Palatina - Megjegyzések Cicero Caelianájához, különös tekintettel Clodia személyére
Medea Palatina . Notes on Cicero's Caeliana with special regard to the person of Clodia

Author(s): Tamás Nótári
Subject(s): History
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The essay aims at highlighting some aspects of the speech Cicero made in defence of M Caelius Rufus in April 56 BC, on the first day of Ludi Megalenses. Pro Caelio is an important stage in Cicero's fight against Clodius (and his clan), a fight that had a number of effects, sometimes fatal, on the life of the great orator as well as on the political events of the final years of the republic. The first stage of the hostile relationship can be dated to 73, when Clodius dealt a shattering blow on Cicero's wife Terentia by accusing the latter's half-sister, the Vestal priestess Fabia of incestum. It was this insult, among others, that Cicero wished to revenge in 61, partly at the urging of Terentia, by his testimony against Clodius in the Bona Dea case, which, however, did not have the desired effect since Clodius was acquitted. Clodius responded by supporting Cicero's exile in 58 and destroying his house on Palatinus . In 56, due to a peculiar coincidence of political and private circumstances, Cicero had the opportunity to deal an annihilating blow in Caeliana on Clodius’ sister Clodia, whom he mocked with murderous satire during the trial, employing the means of the Roman theatre, in particular of comedy, thereby producing a kind of theatrical performance in the Megalensia , the season for ludi scaenici anyway. (Although it is not part of the history of pro Caelio under discussion here, we mention that in 52 Cicero would defend Milo, who had killed Clodius during street fights.) Cicero's career probably had several more glorious and historical points, but few moments only when, as it will hopefully have transpired from the few remarks above, he was able to present, as an orator, such a brilliant theatre and ingenuously structured composition before the judges as he did in the Megalensia of 56 BC. The speech, of course, had the proper effect, Caelius was acquitted, and the trial gave Cicero an excellent opportunity to revenge, if only partially and verbally, the series of injuries that Clodius and Clodia had inflicted upon him.

  • Issue Year: 2000
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 5-19
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Hungarian