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Publius Clodius


CLODIUS, PUBLIUS (c. B.c.), surnamed PULCHER, Roman politician. He took part in the third Mithridatic War under his brother-in-law Lucius Licinius Lucullus, but considering himself treated with insufficient respect he stirred up a revolt; another brother-in-law, Q. Marcius Rex, governor of Cilicia, gave him the command of his fleet, but he was captured by pirates. On his release he repaired to Syria, where he nearly lost his life during a mutiny instigated by himself. Returning to Rome in 65, he prosecuted Catiline for extortion, but was bribed by him to procure acquittal. There seems no reason to believe that Clodius was implicated in the Catilinarian conspiracy; according to Plutarch he supported Cicero. But Cicero attacked him when he was on trial for profaning the mysteries of the Bona Dea (61), and this made Clodius his enemy for life and he became the tool of Caesar. On his return from Sicily (where he had been quaestor in 61) he was adopted by a plebeian and elected tribune of the people (59). His first act was to bring forward certain laws calcu lated to secure him the popular favour. Corn was to be distributed gratuitously once a month; the magistrates' right of preventing the assembly of the comitia was abolished; the old guilds of work men were re-established ; the censors were forbidden to exclude any citizen from the senate or inflict any punishment upon him unless he had been publicly accused and condemned. He then contrived the exile of Cicero and the despatch of the younger Cato on a mission to Cyprus. Cicero's property was confiscated by order of Clodius. After the departure of Caesar for Gaul, Clodius became practically master of Rome by means of his armed gangs. But he fell out with Pompey and was not re-elected for 57, while one of the Tribunes. Milo, countered his force with force, so despite his opposition, in Aug. S7 Cicero was recalled. Riots between Clodius and Milo continued ; in 56, when curule aedile, Clodius impeached Milo for public violence (de vi), but the matter was dropped. In 53, when Milo was a candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship, the rivals collected armed bands and fights took place in the streets of Rome, and on Jan. 20, 52, Clodius was slain near Bovillae.

His sister,

CLODIA, wife of Q. Caecilius Metellus Celer, was notorious for her numerous love affairs. It is now generally admitted that she was the Lesbia of Catullus (Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Lit., Eng. tr., 214, 3) . For her intrigue with M. Caelius Rufus, whom she afterwards accused of attempting to poison her, see Cicero, Pro Caelio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.—The ancient authorities are Cicero, Letters (ed. Bibliography.—The ancient authorities are Cicero, Letters (ed. Tyrrell and Purser) , Pro Caelio, pro Sestio, pro Milone, pro Domo sue, de Haruspicum Responsis, in Pisonem; Plutarch, Pom pey, Cicero, Caesar; Dio Cassius xxxvi. 16, 19, xxxvii. 45, 12-14, xxxix. 6, II, xl. 48. See also I. Gentile, Clodio e Cicerone (1876) ; E. S. Beesley, "Cicero and Clodius," in Fortnightly Review, v. ; G. Lacour-Gayet, De P. Clodio Pulchro (1888) ; H. White, Cicero, Clodius, and Milo (1900) ; G. Boissier, Cicero and his Friends (Eng. trans., 1897) .

cicero, pro, milo, rome and caesar