Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)


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Cicero's letters to Terentia obviously only refer to arrangements which had to be made while they were apart, and it seems to have been a matter of etiquette not to discuss intimate matters in letters even to very close friends. Women were likely to spend more time on country estates than men who needed to be in Rome, so Terentia and Tullia were probably often at Tusculum and the other villas, but there is very little evidence of what they did there.

Treggiari notes the complete lack of any reference to female slaves in the correspondence. It seems that they must have been, if not invisible to Cicero, then at least not an interesting enough topic to mention in writing. Cicero's letters in which he writes about his feelings for Terentia in passionate terms come from the time when he was in exile and despondent about everything.

He did not make a habit of writing love-letters or, if he did, they were not preserved.

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Treggiari shows that the letters to Terentia from the end of the marriage in which he notoriously shows no feelings at all do not have to be seen as especially significant, and the final letter is evidence that he was still reliant on her for domestic arrangements.

Tiro defended his second marriage to Publilia by saying that he married her for her money not because he was infatuated as Terentia claimed Plutarch, Cic.

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There is more detailed information about Tullia's three marriages than about almost any other Roman marriage, in terms of how they were arranged, how the dowry was paid, how in-laws were treated -- but of course not about Tullia's feelings with regard to any of them. It seems unlikely that she had no say in the choice of her first husband when the letters show that something as relatively minor as family travel arrangements could be changed to suit her while she was a teenager She and her mother were entirely responsible for the choice of Dolabella as her third husband, but their precise motives can only be guessed.

The difficulties of communication with Cilicia meant that they may have been ignorant of Cicero's preference for Ti. Claudius Nero rather than impervious to it. One aspect of marriage which is highlighted by Tullia's divorces is that they did not necessarily entail a break between the two families: Cicero "remained on polite terms" with Crassipes 77 and was very friendly with Dolabella for a time after the divorce, despite his ill-treatment of Tullia.

While there were political reasons for this, it perhaps suggests that, if divorce did not always cause a political split, marriage was no proof of political co-operation.

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Cicero's relations with Terentia after their divorce seem to have been full of mutual suspicion, but he was anxious to treat her fairly by repaying her dowry on time, despite the chaotic state of his finances. Cluvius of Puteoli, who made Cicero one of his heirs, also left a legacy to Terentia in 45, an interesting piece of evidence about how women could be involved in the relationships of amicitia which elite wills recognised, and comparable to the presence of women among legatees somewhat later in the Testamentum Dasumii.


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Very little is known about Publilia the article about her in Der Neue Pauly runs to 53 words excluding references , and most of it comes from later sources and not from Cicero himself, who only refers to his second marriage very cryptically. Treggiari disapproves of Cicero's conduct, abandoning her usual non-judgmental tone: She finds some interesting evidence to suggest that later references to "the wife of Cicero" may mean Publilia rather than Terentia, giving her a series of marriages including one to Sallust the historian, although she ultimately dismisses all this as "a house of cards in which we should have no trust" Edward Turbeville rated it it was amazing Oct 16, Jessica Zelli rated it it was ok Mar 18, Sean McConnell rated it really liked it Apr 20, Audrey Mckay added it Sep 10, Emily marked it as to-read Nov 17, Emma Rodgers marked it as to-read Dec 13, Bec marked it as to-read Jan 01, Charlotte marked it as to-read Jan 15, Maroua Chtioui marked it as to-read Apr 06, Vicki Cline marked it as to-read Aug 05, Katy marked it as to-read Oct 22, Nightwitch marked it as to-read Feb 17, Francesca marked it as to-read Jun 15, Katrina marked it as to-read Jul 09, Timothy Phin marked it as to-read Jul 10, You can get the remaining amount to reach the Free shipping threshold by adding any eligible item to your cart.

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Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World) Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)
Terentia, Tullia and Publilia: The Women of Ciceros Family (Women of the Ancient World)

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