Publius Clodius Pulcher (c. 92 - 52 B.C.) was a Roman patrician, from the last half century of the Roman Republic, connected with the major figures of the time, including Julius Caesar, Catullus, and Cicero. Attracting scandals, Clodius was the focus of lawsuits. Prosecuted three times, Clodius was never convicted. In 65, Clodius unsuccessfully, but probably half-heartedly, prosecuted Catiline, who was defended by Cicero. Besides scandals and a violent death, Clodius is known for overcoming his high status origins to become a tribune of the plebeians.
The Name Claudius / Clodius Pulcher:
See: "Clodius / Claudius"
Andrew M. Riggsby
Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 51, No. 1 (1st Qtr., 2002), pp. 117-12
Other People in the Claudius Family:
- Publius Clodius Pulcher was the youngest of the 6 children of Appius Claudius Pulcher.
- He is described as having been treacherous to his brother-in-law, Mithridates-fighter Lucius Licinius Lucullus.
- Clodius married Fulvia, daughter of Sulla, on whom he fathered a daughter, Claudia, who briefly married Octavian (Augustus), and a son, Publius Claudius Pulcher.
- Clodius was accused of incest with his sisters, especially the Clodia married to Q. Caecilius Metellus Celer, who is thought to be the Lesbia of Catullus' poems. Catullus alludes to incest between Clodius and Clodia (as Lesbius and Lesbia) in his carmen 79.
- To become a tribune of the plebs, Clodius had to become a plebeian, so he was adopted by P. Fonteius in 59 B.C. and became tribune in 58.
In the Military:
Cassius Dio on Clodius and Marcius in the Military:
2 As for Marcius, the pretext which he gave for not assisting Lucullus was that his soldiers refused to follow him. Instead, he went to Cilicia, where he received one Menemachus, a deserter from Tigranes, and also Clodius, who had left Lucullus out of fear because of the occurrence at Nisibis; the latter he put in command of the fleet, for he, too, had married one of Clodius' sisters. 3 Now Clodius, after being captured by the pirates and released by them in consequence of their fear of Pompey, came to Antioch in Syria, declaring that he would be their ally against the Arabians, with whom they were then at variance. There, likewise, he stirred up a sedition and all but lost his life.
Cassius Dio 36.17.2-3
The Bona Dea Scandal:
- More on the Bona Dea Scandal
For a look at the reasons for the hostility between Cicero and Clodius, see:
Eleanor Winsor Leach
The Classical World, Vol. 94, No. 4 (Summer, 2001), pp. 335-359.
Clodius and His Rival Milo:
Pompey was made sole consul for 52.
His Murder on January 18 52 B.C.:
Cicero unsuccessfully defended Milo in his pro Milone.
- Asconius on Cicero's Pro Milone tr. John Paul Adams
- "Clodius / Claudius"
Andrew M. Riggsby
Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 2002, pp. 117-12.
- "The Early Career of P. Clodius Pulcher: A Re-Examination of the Charges of Mutiny and Sacrilege"
Transactions of the American Philological Association, 1988, pp. 155-178.
- "Gendering Clodius"
Eleanor Winsor Leach
The Classical World, Summer, 2001, pp. 335-359.
- "How Many Roman Senators Were Ever Prosecuted?: The Evidence from the Late Republic"
Michael C. Alexander
Phoenix, 1993, pp. 238-255.
- "Liberty and the People in Republican Rome"
Transactions of the American Philological Association, 2005, pp. 209-229.
- "Monuments of Bronze: Roman Legal Documents on Bronze Tablets"
Classical Antiquity, Apr., 1987, pp. 160-183.
- "The Pattern of the Days in Ancient Rome"
M. S. Broughall
Greece & Rome, 1936, pp. 160-176.
- "P. Clodius Pulcher--'Felix Catilina?'"
A. W. Lintott
Greece & Rome, Oct., 1967, pp. 157-169.
- "Power and Ritual: The Crowd at Clodius' Funeral"
Geoffrey S. Sumi
Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 1997, pp. 80-102.
- "Clodius Pulcher, Publius" Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Ed. John Roberts. Oxford University Press, 2007.