Within thirteen years, many of the players in the trial of Marcus Caelius would be, in the historian T. P. Wiseman's phrase, 'spectacularly dead' — Clodius murdered during a skirmish with Milo's gang (an angry mob burned the Senate House the next day); Crassus massacred along with twenty-thousand troops in his ill-fated campaign for military glory against the Parthians; Pompey a casualty of the tumultuous Civil War; Cicero a casualty of the peace. Republican judicial restraints on 'political violence' clearly failed, as did the second attempt by Crassus, Caesar and Pompey to form a stabilizing triumvirate; at the end of the road stood Augustus.

King Ptolemy would also be dead, leaving his children (including the famous Cleopatra) to fight over Egypt and to fend off Roman domination for a little while longer.

As for Marcus Caelius, he shifted allegiance once too often, and against the wrong man. Unable to convince a garrison of soldiers to revolt against Caesar in the middle of the Civil War, his ambitions ended in a violent death. His colorful correspondence with Cicero survived to make him the darling of historians like Gaston Boissier ('In the history we are studying, there is perhaps no more curious figure than Caelius') and W. Warde Fowler (who called Caelius 'the most interesting figure in the life of his age'). Early on, the first-century commentator Quintilian delivered the judgment of posterity: Marcus Caelius 'deserved a cooler head and a longer life.'

Catullus died the soonest of any, in 54 B.C., of unknown causes. He was probably about thirty years old.

What of Clodia? After the trial, she vanishes from the scene (though I suspect that Gordianus may not have seen quite the last of her). We get a glimpse of her again nine years later in some of Cicero's letters to his friend Atticus, who appears to have been on good terms with Clodia. Looking to buy property where he can enjoy his retirement ('A place to grow old in,' Atticus assumes, to which Cicero bluntly replies, 'A place where I can be buried'), Cicero asks his friend to check out various horti that might be for sale around Rome.

This is Cicero, in Shackleton Bailey's translation: 'Clodia's gardens I like, but I don't think they are for sale.' And a few days later: 'But you say something or other about Clodia. Where is she then or when is she coming? I prefer her grounds to anyone's except Otho's. But I don't think she will sell: she likes the place and has plenty of money: and how difficult the other thing is, you are well aware. But pray let us make an effort to think out some way of getting what I want.'

So far as I can tell, the very last we hear of her is in a letter of April 15,44 B.C., in which Cicero writes to Atticus: Clodia quid egerit, scribas ad me velim ('I should like you to tell me what Clodia has done'). Was Cicero seeking clarification of a bit of gossip he had heard? Was he inquiring about Clodia out of the blue? We do not know.

I should like to acknowledge some of the books I encountered in my research. Foremost among them is T. P. Wiseman's superbly annotated Catullus and His World: A Reappraisal (Cambridge University Press, 1985), which ranges far and wide to render a vivid picture of Catullus and his circle of history, fiction, and academic myth.

Studies of Catullus abound, from Tenney Frank's venerable Catullus and Horace (Henry Holt and Company, 1928) to Charles Martin's insightful and thoroughly modern Catullus (Yale University Press, 1992). There are numerous translations of his poems. The Penguin edition by Peter Whigham is accessible (in every sense); Horace Gregory's 1956 translation may be harder to find, but rewards the search. Readers with some Latin will find The Poems of Catullus: A Teaching Text by Phyllis Young Forsyth (University Press of America, 1986) frank and useful.

The famous oration in defense of Marcus Caelius can be found in Michael Grant's translation of Selected Political Speeches by Cicero (Pen-guin, 1969). R. G. Austin's commentary on the Latin text (Oxford, 1933; third edition 1960) is delightfully sharp.

Some odds and ends: Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult by Maarten J. Vermaseren (Thames and Hudson, London, 1977) is a treasure trove of information about the Great Mother and her eunuch priests. Back From Exile: Six Speeches Upon His Return, translated with notes by D. R. Shackleton Bailey (American Philological Association, 1991), gives a lucid picture of Cicero's ongoing feud with Clodius. The melodramatic tale of Appius Claudius the decemvir and the hapless Verginia is found in Book Three of Livy's History of Rome. An explication of the Nola pun in Caelius's speech (of which we have only a few secondhand quotations) can be found in T. W. Hillard's ' 'In triclinio Coam, in cubiculo Nolam: Lesbia and the Other Clodia' (Liverpool Classical Monthly, June 1981).

Вы читаете The Venus Throw
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату