Monday, 22 August 2005

Servilia Caepionis - Julius Caesar's Bold Mistress


Cato the Younger

Servilia Caepionis was the half sister of Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger. She married a fairly insignificant man and her son, Brutus grw up to become one of Julius Caeasar's assassins.
What she is most famous for however, is for being Julius Caesar's mistress. She was several years older than him but apparently he was very much taken with her and even bought her a priceless black pearl upon his return from the Gallic Wars.

Servilia was a very bold woman and did not behave like a typical Roman mistress. She did not wait around for him. If she wanted to see Caesar she would make this known to him. Actually, this led to their affair becoming public. One day when Caesar was at the Senate a messenger came up to him with an urgent letter. It ws of course a love letter from Servilia, but of course Cato the Younger (her hafl brother) did not know this. As Caesar attempted to read Servilia's letter discreetly, Cato saw him acting in a secretive manner and accused him of conspiracy. When Caesar explained that the letter was from his mistress, Cato refused to believe him and demanded to see proof. Amist the argument Cato snatched the letter from Caesar's hands and read it. We do not know what the letter actually said but a contemporary account tells us that Cato was taken aback with disgust and did not say anything more. Shortly afterwards Servilia was divorced...

11 comments:

Light said...

Cato (both younger and elder) annoys the hell out of me. Both were highly principled, and neither seem to have been hypocrites. But if they were the prime example of the ideals of the Republic, then no WONDER the state was happy to acquiesce to Empire...

Alterior said...

Well, even the "divine" Augustus didn't like Cato!
I got a DVD of a film about Augustus called, "Augustus" with Peter o'Toole playing the old Augustus and Charlotte Rampling as Livia. I watched about 15 mins of it before switching it off. After the first 5 mins I realised it was crap...pity. :-(

Light said...

Heh. Most tv and film about Rome is. The only exceptions I've found thus far are I, Claudius (somewhere RSC in production, but excellent nonetheless), and that recent Sky One program about Rome, the name of which escapes me (which was aimed squarely at FHM readers in terms of tone, but what factually accurate, well researched, and rather entertaining!)

Now, if you want a REALLY shit film about Ancient times, watch Alexander. It's just appalling...

Alterior said...

Yes, I have heard really bad things about the film 'Alexander'. They even had a real respectable historian advising them and despite that they still managed to make a mess of it!
The tv film Julius Caesar was not very bad, (not as bad as this Augustus one anyway) but I was dissapointed in that too. Basically the only scene which was any good and moving was the assassination one, which made me cry. All the rest was pretty bad.
I Claudius is good and one of my favourites. I also love the film Gladiator, even though it is historically inaccurate. Great filming and sets though and of course the costumes were very accurate too. Music was fantastic too, but obviously that's nothing to do with Ancient Rome.

Light said...

Mm, I do like Gladiator.

For CHRISTS SAKE though, don't let on that I do or my reputation as a curmudgeon will be in tatters...

Alterior said...

Ok then, I won't tell lenin, don't worry.. :-)

James O said...

Ancient Rome does seem to be the most badly-served period of history in film, although there are still 'Spartacus' and 'Life of Brian'

lenin said...

Aaaah, I know Light's secret, now *everyone* on the Tomb will know that he salivates after Russell's impeccable peccables.

Alterior said...

'Life of Brian' is pure satire but not pure history...

Alterior said...
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codad1946 said...

If you like a good read on the Republic, try Colleen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" series, which she spent 13 years researching. Then read them again!