Key Questions


  • Who was Clodia Metelli? Was she Lesbia?
  • How does Cicero describe Clodia? What language does he use? Compare and contrast the that portrayal with Catullus' portrayal of Lesbia. What themes, imagery, language does the poet use?
  • What do Cicero and Catullus reveal about male-female relationships in the late Republic? Is this surprising/unsurprising?
  • How far can Cicero and Catullus regarding Clodia be taken as evidence for gendered power relationships; inversion of sexual norms; psychological concerns about sex and sexuality?


Background, Commentaries


  • This website has the Pro Caelio text with running linguistic commentary.
  • Benjamin Johnson has some usefully glossed youtube videos on the Catullus poems here.
  • S. Ciraolo (2000) Cicero. Pro Caelio. Bolchazy-Carducci.
  • W. Englert (1991) Cicero. Pro Caelio. Bryn Mawr Commentaries.
  • Wikipedia article on Clodia.
  • Another solid introduction to Clodia here.
Secondary Reading


Other Ancient Texts


Film and Video


  • At this site, watch modern day Classicists performance  Cicero, pro Caelio 33-34 with appropriate gestures and hand movements.
  • Rome. HBO. Atia is largely based on Clodia.
Books and Plays


  • Steven Saylor Roma sub rosa
  • Robert Harris, Lustrum and Dictator
  • Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March


Lesbia Weeping Over a Sparrow

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tedema (1866); Private Collection.

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