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Title: Nuove prospettive per l’azione matronale: l’esempio di Cerellia corrispondente di Cicerone
Authors: Lapini, Novella
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2016
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Novella Lapini "Nuove prospettive per l’azione matronale: l’esempio di Cerellia corrispondente di Cicerone" in: Francesca Cenerini e Francesca Rohr Vio (a cura di), "Matronae in domo et in re publica agentes - spazi e occasioni dell'azione femminile nel mondo romano tra tarda repubblica e primo impero", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016, pp. 89-107
Series/Report no.: Polymnia. Collana di Scienze dell'Antichità. Studi di Storia romana
This paper aims to analyze the cultural level and the possibility of economic and social
action reached by the matrons belonging to the élite at the end of the Republic. So, I
focused on the study of a specific case, the life of Cerellia, whose name is known thanks
to seven Cicero’s letters, written between 46 and 44 BC (from ad Fam. XIII 72 to ad
Att. XV 26), and thanks to the limited information available in the literary sources.
Unfortunately, had gone almost completely lost the famous Epistulae ad Caerelliam,
the only letters written by Cicero to a matron – except those sent to his first wife Ter-
entia and his daughter Tullia – which had been published. Anyway, according to the
analysis of available data it will be possible to delineate the socio-economic context of
Cerellia and to infer some general characteristics of the life of contemporary women.
First of all, she owned a remarkable fortune – as many matrons of Late Republic –
and administered it without a tutor, thus entering in contact with prominent figures,
such as Cicero himself and his friend T. Pomponius Atticus. Secondly, she had a fine and
wider culture, with interest even in philosophical debates, a prerogative not commonly
attested for Roman women. Although we haven’t direct information about her family,
Cicero’s letters allows us to suppose a kinship between Cerellia and Publilia, the second
wife of the great orator. Further epigraphic investigations had allowed to reconstruct a
possible family tree for the correspondent of Cicero, as a member of the first family of
the gens Caerellia who was able to enter into Senat (CIL, VI 1364). Finally, this analysis
will allow us to consider Cerellia as a typical member of the senatorial-equestrian élite
and to elect her personal story as the normal condition of contemporary matrons.
Type: Article
ISBN: 978-88-8303-753-5
eISBN: 978-88-8303-754-2
Appears in Collections:05. Matronae in domo et in re publica agentes

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