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Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Life of Caesar
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Caesar

    9

    IX.Yet all the time he was officer, he never sought any alteration in the commonwealth; but contrarily, he himself had a great misfortune fell on his house, which was this.

    The love of P. Clodius unto Pompeia, Caesar's wife. The good doddess, what she was, and her sacrifices.

    There was a young nobleman of the order of the Patricians, called Publius Clodius, who lacked neither wealth nor eloquence; but otherwise as insolent and impudent a person as any was else in Rome. He became in love with Pompeia Caesar's wife, who misliked not withal: notwithstanding she was so straightly looked to, and Aurelia (Caesar's mother) an honest gentlewoman, had such an eye of her, that these two lovers could not meet as they would, without great peril and difficulty. The Romans do use to honor a goddess which they call the good goddess, as the Grecians have her whom they call Gynaecia, to wit, the goddess of women. Her, the Phrygians do claim to be peculiar unto them, saying: that she is king Midas' mother. Howbeit the Romans hold opinion, that it is a nymph of the woods married unto the god Faunus. The Grecians, they say also, that she was one of the mothers of the god Bacchus, whom they dare not name. And for proof hereof, on her feastday, the women make certain tabernacles of vine-twigs, and leaves of vine-branches; and also they make, as the tale goeth, a holy dragon for this goddess, and do set it by her: besides, it is not lawful for any man to be present at their sacrifices, no, not within the house itself where they are made. Furthermore they say, that the women in these sacrifices do many things amongst themselves, much like unto the ceremonies of Orpheus. Now when the time of this feast came, the husband (whether he were Praetor or Consul) and all his men and the boys in the house, do come out of it, and leave it wholly to his wife, to order the house at her pleasure, and there the sacrifices and ceremonies are done the most part of the night, and they do besides pass the night away in songs and music.