GCSE Latin Prose

Notes and translation of Pythius and Clodia by Tacitus.

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  • Created on: 29-05-12 10:36
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Clodia
When you had married from a noble family into a most distinguished
household, why was Caelius so intimate with you? For he was neither a relative
nor friend of your husband. What therefore was the reason except a certain
recklessness and lust? Indeed the accusers allege flirtations, love affairs,
adulterous relationships, trips to Baiae, parties, concerts, pleasure boats; and
they affirm that they say nothing against your will. These accusations, which,
unbelievably, you wanted to be brought into the forum and law courts, you
must either refuse or admit that neither your accusations nor your testimony is
to be believed. You caught sight of the young man, your neighbour; his looks
and stature, his face and his eyes swept you off your feet; you wanted to see
him more often; you were sometimes in the same garden; you, a woman of
noble birth, wanted him, the son of a mean and stingy father bound by your
wealth. You cannot; he repels you, he rejects you, he does not think your gifts
worth much; take yourself somewhere else. You bought gardens near the
Tiber, in that spot where all young men come to swim. From here you can
choose your pickups every day. Why do you cause trouble for this man who
spurns you?

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Clodia (Extracts from Cicero, "Pro Caelio" Sections 34-36)
Introduction: Cicero defended Caelius on a charge of attempting to poison his former mistress,
Clodia, a talented society beauty with a notorious reputation. She probably brought the charge
against Caelius out of spite because he had broken off his two-year affair with her. At this point in
his defence, Cicero makes a series of counter-accusations against Clodia in order to blacken her
character and show the innocence of his client...…read more

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Clodia
cum ex nobili genere in familiam clarissimam nupsisses,
cur tibi Caelius tam coniunctus fuit? neque enim cognatus
fuit neque mariti tui amicus. quid igitur fuit nisi quaedam
temeritas ac libido? accusatores quidem libidines, amores,
5: adulteria, Baias, conviva, cantus, navigia iactant;
affirmantque se nihil te invita dicere. has accusationes, quas
tu insane in forum inque iudicium deferri voluisti, aut
refutare te oportet aut fateri nihil credendum esse neque
crimini tuo neque testimonio.…read more

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Cicero delivered his speech, the "Pro Caelio" (In Defence of Caelius), on 4th April, 56 B.C. He began
by defending the character and career of Marcus Caelius Rufus against accusations of impropriety
and treasonable activities (including complicity in the conspiracy of Catiline). After hinting that those
who brought the prosecution against Caelius were not acting for themselves, he accused the woman
Clodia of being the source.…read more

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The argument is that Clodia has made herself readily available to
young men of leisure, of whom she can (and probably does) have her pick, so why should she
be so vindictive to Caelius?
This passage contains many of the elements of Cicero's rhetorical style, which includes lists
(e.g. lines 4-5: libidines, amores, adulteria, Baias, conviva, cantus, navigia) with no connecting
conjunctions (this is known as `asyndeton'); repetition for emphasis, especially of negatives
(e.g. lines 8-9: neque...neque); double negatives (e.g.…read more

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Analysis:
`clarissimam nupsisses' ­ addresses Clodia directly and uses a superlative and
assonance to help build up his campaign against her
`'tam coniunctus fuit?' ­ rhetorical question suggests relationship
`neque...neque' ­ ANAPHORA for emphasis on suggested relationship
`libido' ­ emphatic position and rhetorical question to help emphasise his now explicit
accusation
`libidines...…read more

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­ alliteration and short sentence emphasises suggestion of
her lust
`non numquam' ­ alliteration and litotes for effect
`tu' ­ emphatic pronoun direct his accusations to Clodia
`vis' ­ present tense suggests that she continues to want him
`patric parci' ­ alliteration emphasises the frugality of Caelius' background
`divitiis devinctum' ­ alliteration suggests that Clodia was tried to manipulate Caelius
with her wealth
`non potes' ­ bluntly humiliates Clodia
`calcitrat, respuit, non putat' ­ verbs in quick succession quickens the pace and
increases the hostility…read more

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Questions on Clodia
1. Clodia married into a most distinguished household, whereas she was from a noble
family.
2. He thinks that it is puzzling that Caelius was intimate with her, whereas he was
neither relative nor friend of her husband.
3. Temeritas ­ recklessness, libido ­ lust
4. Love affairs, adulterous relationships, parties and concerts.
5. Insane ­ unbelievably
6.…read more

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Pythius
When C. Canius, a Roman knight, had travelled to Syracuse, he began to say
that he wished to buy small parks, to where he could invite his friends and
where he could amuse himself without interrupters.…read more

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Therefore yesterday I was
amazed at what happened.' Canius was very angry; but what could he do?
(2) Pythius (Cicero, "De Officiis" III, Section 58)
C. Canius, eques Romanus, cum se Syracusas contulisset,
When Gaius Canius, a Roman knight, had travelled to Syracuse,
dicebat se hortulos aliquos emere velle, quo invitare amicos
he began to say that he wanted to buy some small park, to where he
could invite his friends
et ubi se oblectare sine interpellatoribus posset.…read more

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