Throughout history, there have been countless women who have seized the opportunities afforded to them by fate to their advantage. Despite the oppression of patriarchal societies, these pioneers carved a place for themselves on the walls of the past. Clodia Metelli, who was a Roman aristocrat born in 95 BC, was one of most enigmatic female figures to emerge from ancient Rome. Clodia was a descendant of a powerful line of politicians, so she was soon swept into a world of wealth. Because she was connected to potent people, Clodia seized the opportunity to expand her influence over the political climate in ancient Rome. By utilizing the authority of those around her to gain her own, Clodia Metelli effectively established a precedent for women that is still evident in modern society.
Clodia, who was a descendent of the gens Claudia, had a plethora of political connections. During the first century BC, Rome was controlled by a handful of affluent families, which included the Claudian line (Kamil, 2014). The gens Claudia was a clan distinguished in Rome for its legendary beginnings, and its members often competed for major Roman magistracies. Her father, Appius Claudis Pulcher, served as praetor in 88 BC, as consul in 79 BC, and as governor of Roman province of Macedonia from 78 BC to 76 BC (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014). Clodia’s father was not in Rome for much of Clodia’s youth, and Clodia’s mother is thought to have died when Clodia was young, but she cannot be identified with certainty (Glendinning, 2011). Thus, Clodia had to assist in the upbringing of six younger siblings, so she was able to ascertain the importance of hard work and responsibility. Clodia’s brother, Publius Clodius Pul...
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...odia as dominant and licentious, which was contrary to what a proper Roman women should have been. He compares her to Medea, who was a mythical witch and murderess, and insinuates Clodia was having an affair with her brother and that she also killed her husband (Kamil, 2014). Cicero gave his support to Caelius because of a personal vengeance against her brother. Likewise, Cicero’s wife was known to be jealous of Clodia, so she is the one who initially convinced him to go to court against Clodia. Cicero had to show up because he needed to prove that he did not have feelings for Clodia to his wife (Skinner, 2011). The speech contributed to the resulting acquittal of Caelius, and the tarnishing of Claudia’s reputation. The harsh nature of the speech and the lustful portrayal of Clodia is what contributed to a resulting view of Clodia in Roman society that was negative.
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