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    Not Peer Reviewed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


    10X.Pompeia, Caesar's wife, being that year to celebrate this feast, Clodius, who had yet no hair on his face, and thereby thought he should not be bewrayed, disguised himself in a singing wench's apparel, because his face was very like unto a young wench. He finding the gates open, being secretly brought in by her chambermaid that was made privy unto it, she left him, and ran to Pompeia her mistress, to tell her that he was come. The chamber-maid tarried long before she came again, insomuch as Clodius, being weary waiting for her where she left him, he took his pleasure and went from one place to another in the house, which had very large rooms in it, still shunning the light; and was by chance met withal by one of Aurelia's maids, who taking him for a woman, prayed her to play. Clodius refusing to play, the maid pulled him forward, and asked him what he was: Clodius then answered her, that he tarried for Abra, one of Pompeia's women. So Aurelia's maid, knowing him by his voice, ran straight where the lights and ladies were, and cried out, that there was a man disguised in woman's apparel. The women therewith were so amazed, that Aurelia caused them presently to leave off the ceremonies of the sacrifice, and to hide their secret things; and having seen the gates fast locked, went immediately up and down the house with torch-light to seek out this man: who at the last was found out in the chamber of Pompeia's maid, with whom he hid himself.

    Clodius taken in the sacrifices of the good goddess.

    Thus Clodius being found out, and known of the women, they thrust him out of the doors by the shoulders. The same night the women told their husbands of this chance as soon as they came home. The next morning, there ran a great rumor through the city, how Clodius had attempted a great villany, and that he deserved not only to be punished of them whom he had slandered, but also of the commonwealth and the gods.

    Clodius accused for profaning the sacrifices of the good goddess.

    There was one of the tribunes of the people that did indite him, and accuse him of high treason to the gods. Furthermore, there were also of the chiefest of the nobility and Senate, that came to depose against him, and burthened him with many horrible and detestable facts, and specially with incest committed with his own sister, which was married unto Lucullus. Notwithstanding the people stoutly defended Clodius against their accusations: and this did help him much against the judges, which were amazed, and afraid to stir the people. This notwithstanding,

    Caesar putteth away his wife Pompeia.

    Caesar presently put his wife away, and thereupon being brought by Clodius' accuser to be a witness against him, he answered, he knew nothing of that they objected against Clodius. This answer being clean contrary to their expectation that heard it, the accuser asked Caesar, why then he had put away his wife: "Because I will not," said he, "that my wife be so much as suspected." And some say that Caesar spake truly as he thought. But others think that he did it to please the common people, who were very desirous to save Clodius.

    Clodius quit by the judges for profaning the sacrifices of the good goddess.

    So Clodius was discharged of this accusation, because the most part of the judges gave a confused judgment, for the fear they stood in one way of the danger of the common people, if they condemned him, and for the ill opinion on the other side of the nobility, if they did quit him.