Book Details

Author  Julia Dyson Hejduk
Publisher  University of Oklahoma Press
Publication Date   April 1, 2008
ISBN  0806139072
Pages  288

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A striking portrait of one of the most fascinating women in Roman history

Noble and notorious, the flamboyant Clodia Metelli was the object of passion in poetry and prose in ancient Rome and appears in more written sources than any other woman of her day. Cicero, in a famous oration, branded her a whore yet in private correspondence mentions seeking her help. Her stormy affair with the poet Catullus—the Western world’s first recorded romance with a real and richly characterized woman—had a profound influence on erotic literature.

Bringing together works by Cicero, Catullus, and others in which Clodia plays a part, Julia Dyson Hejduk has produced a striking portrait of one of the most fascinating women in Roman history. Her accurate and accessible English translations include not only all the classical texts that mention Clodia, but also a substantial selection of Roman erotic poetry by Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid. While many sourcebooks offer only small illustrative excerpts, Clodia provides most sources in their entirety, such as the Pro Caelio of Cicero, nineteen complete letters, all of Catullus’s poems on “Lesbia” (his pseudonym for Clodia), and many subsequent love elegies.

Hejduk’s translations please the ear while remaining faithful to the original meaning. Her introduction reviews topics in classical culture and themes in Roman love poetry, placing the texts in their literary, social, and historical context and making them accessible to high school students and undergraduates. Notes, glossary, and bibliography make the book a well-rounded teaching tool.

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