Porcia Catonis
Overview
Porcia Catonis, also known simply as Porcia (Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

: PORCIA•CATONIS•FILIA, ca.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

70 BC – June 43 BC or October 42 BC) was a Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 woman who lived in the 1st century BC. She was the daughter of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

 and his first wife Atilia
Atilia
Atilia , daughter of C. Atilius Serranus and first wife of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis whom he married about 73 BC, after his intended wife, Aemilia Lepida, married Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica. She was born c...

. She is best known for being the second wife of Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

, the most famous of Julius Caesar's
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 assassin
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

s, and for her suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

, reputedly by swallowing live coals.
Porcia was born between 73 BC and 64 BC.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Porcia Catonis, also known simply as Porcia (Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

: PORCIA•CATONIS•FILIA, ca.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

70 BC – June 43 BC or October 42 BC) was a Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 woman who lived in the 1st century BC. She was the daughter of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

 and his first wife Atilia
Atilia
Atilia , daughter of C. Atilius Serranus and first wife of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis whom he married about 73 BC, after his intended wife, Aemilia Lepida, married Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica. She was born c...

. She is best known for being the second wife of Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

, the most famous of Julius Caesar's
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 assassin
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

s, and for her suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

, reputedly by swallowing live coals.

Early life

Porcia was born between 73 BC and 64 BC. She had an affectionate nature, was addicted to philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and was full of an understanding courage. Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 describes her as being prime of youth and beauty. When she was still very young, her father divorce
Divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

d her mother for adultery
Adultery
Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

.

At a young age she was married first to Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus
Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus
Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus was a politician of the late Roman Republic.Bibulus was the son in law of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis. In 59 BC he was elected consul, supported by the optimates, conservative republicans in the Senate and opponents of Julius Caesar's triumvirate...

, her father's political ally. This marriage occurred between 58 BC and 53 BC. With him she may have had a son, Lucius Calpurnius Bibulus
Lucius Calpurnius Bibulus
Lucius Calpurnius Bibulus was a Roman statesman.Lucius Bibulus was the son of Julius Caesar's implacable enemy Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus and possibly, Porcia Catonis , although it is unlikely...

, although modern historians believe Porcia was too young to have mothered Lucius, and that he was Bibulus' son by his previous marriage, as he was old enough to fight in the battle of Philippi in 42 BC. He died in 32 BC.

A few years later, Quintus Hortensius
Quintus Hortensius
Quintus Hortensius Hortalus was a Roman orator and advocate.At the age of nineteen he made his first speech at the bar, and shortly afterwards successfully defended Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, one of Rome's dependants in the East, who had been deprived of his throne by his brother. From that time...

 desired to make an alliance with Cato and asked for Porcia's hand in marriage. However, Bibulus, who was infatuated with his wife, was unwilling to let her go. Hortensius offered to marry her and then return her to Bibulus once she had given birth to an heir. Such an arrangement was not uncommon at the time. He argued that it was against natural law to keep a girl of Porcia's youth and beauty from producing children for his allies and impractical for her to overproduce for Bibulus. Nonetheless Bibulus refused to divorce her and Cato disliked the idea of marrying his daughter to a man who was four times her age. Instead, Cato divorced his wife, Porcia's stepmother Marcia
Marcia (wife of Cato the Younger)
Marcia was the second wife of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis and the daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus. She was born about 80 BC...

, and gave her to Hortensius; he re-married her after Hortensius died.

In 52 BC, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

's Gallic Wars
Gallic Wars
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. They lasted from 58 BC to 51 BC. The Gallic Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the...

 came to an end, but he refused to return to Rome, despite the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

's demands that he lay down his arms. Cato personally detested Caesar, and was his greatest enemy in the Senate; Cato's political faction, the Optimates
Optimates
The optimates were the traditionalist majority of the late Roman Republic. They wished to limit the power of the popular assemblies and the Tribunes of the Plebs, and to extend the power of the Senate, which was viewed as more dedicated to the interests of the aristocrats who held the reins of power...

 (also known as the Boni), believed that Caesar should return to Rome, in order for the Optimates to strip him of his property and dignitas, and permanently exile Caesar. In 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon
Rubicon
The Rubicon is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, about 80 kilometres long, running from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea through the southern Emilia-Romagna region, between the towns of Rimini and Cesena. The Latin word rubico comes from the adjective "rubeus", meaning "red"...

 with his army, thus declaring war, beginning the Great Roman Civil War
Caesar's civil war
The Great Roman Civil War , also known as Caesar's Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire...

. Both Cato and Bibulus allied with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus against Caesar. Though both Boni hated Pompey, he did not pose the threat to their faction that Caesar did. Bibulus commanded Pompey's navy in the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

. He captured a part of Caesar's fleet, although this was a generally insignificant as Caesar went on to decisively defeat Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus
The Battle of Pharsalus was a decisive battle of Caesar's Civil War. On 9 August 48 BC at Pharsalus in central Greece, Gaius Julius Caesar and his allies formed up opposite the army of the republic under the command of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus...

. Bibulus died in 48 BC following Pompey's defeat, leaving Porcia a widow.

In 46 BC, Cato committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 following his defeat in the battle of Thapsus
Battle of Thapsus
The Battle of Thapsus took place on April 6, 46 BC near Thapsus . The Republican forces of the Optimates, led by Quintus Caecillius Metellus Scipio, clashed with the veteran forces loyal to Julius Caesar.-Prelude:...

 while Marcus Cato
Marcus Porcius Cato (II)
Marcus Porcius Cato , son of Cato the Younger by his first marriage to Atilia.- Life :He was the brother of Porcia Catonis, who was first married to Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus , and later married their half-cousin Marcus Junius Brutus...

, Porcia's brother, was pardoned by Caesar and returned to Rome.

Marriage to Brutus

Following her father's death in June 45 BC, Brutus, Porcia's first cousin, divorced his wife Claudia Pulchra and married Porcia when she was still very young. The marriage was scandalous as Brutus did not state any reasons for divorce despite having been married to Claudia for many years. Claudia was very popular for being a woman of great virtue, and was the daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher, who had been Brutus' ally for many years. She was also related to Pompey by marriage through her younger sister. The divorce was not well received by some including Brutus' mother, Servilia Caepionis
Servilia Caepionis
Servilia Caepionis was the mistress of Julius Caesar, mother of one of Caesar's assassins, Brutus, mother-in-law of another Caesar assassin, Cassius, and half-sister of Cato the Younger.-Life:...

 who despised her half-brother, and appears to have been jealous of Brutus' affection for Porcia. Therefore, Servilia supported Claudia's interests against those of Porcia.

On the other hand, Porcia was highly favoured with the followers of both Pompey and Cato, so the marriage was favoured by people such as Marcus Tullius Cicero and Titus Pomponius Atticus
Titus Pomponius Atticus
Titus Pomponius Atticus, born Titus Pomponius , came from an old but not strictly noble Roman family of the equestrian class and the Gens Pomponia. He was a celebrated editor, banker, and patron of letters with residences in both Rome and Athens...

. The marriage was Brutus' way of honouring his uncle. Nonetheless, it appears that Porcia deeply loved Brutus and was utterly devoted to him. She resolved not to inquire into Brutus' secrets before she had made a trial of herself and that she would bid defiance to pain. She and Brutus had a son, who died in 43 BC.

Brutus attacked Caesar in 44 BC. He confided in Porcia of the plot to assassinate Caesar, and some credit her as being the only woman aware of the plot. Some historians believe Porcia might have been involved in the conspiracy itself. Plutarch claims that she happened upon Brutus while he was pondering over what to do about Caesar and asked him what was wrong. When he didn't answer, she suspected that he distrusted her on account of her being a woman, for fear she might reveal something, however unwillingly, under torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

. In order to prove herself to him, she secretly inflicted a wound upon her own thigh with a barber's knife to see if she could endure the pain. As a result of the wound, she suffered from violent pains, chills and fever. Some believe that she endured the pain of her untreated wound for at least a day. As soon as she overcame her pain, she returned to Brutus and said:
"You, my husband, though you trusted my spirit that it would not betray you, nevertheless were distrustful of my body, and your feeling was but human. But I found that my body also can keep silence... Therefore fear not, but tell me all you are concealing from me, for neither fire, nor lashes, nor goads will force me to divulge a word; I was not born to that extent a woman. Hence, if you still distrust me, it is better for me to die than to live; otherwise let no one think me longer the daughter of Cato or your wife."


Brutus marveled when he saw the gash on her thigh and after hearing this he no longer hid anything from her, but felt strengthened himself and related to her the whole plot. Lifting his hands above him, he is said to have prayed
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 that he might succeed in his undertaking and thus show himself a worthy husband. On the day of Caesar's assassination, Porcia was extremely disturbed with anxiety and sent messengers to the Senate to check that Brutus was still alive. She worked herself up to the point whereupon her fainting, her maids feared that she was dying.

When Brutus and the other assassins fled Rome to Athens, it was agreed that Porcia should stay in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Porcia was overcome with grief to part from Brutus, but tried hard to conceal it. However, when she came across a painting depicting the parting of Hector
Hector
In Greek mythology, Hectōr , or Hektōr, is a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, a descendant of Dardanus, who lived under Mount Ida, and of Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the...

 from Andromache
Andromache
In Greek mythology, Andromache was the wife of Hector and daughter of Eetion, and sister to Podes. She was born and raised in the city of Cilician Thebe, over which her father ruled...

 in the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, she burst into tears. Brutus' friend Acilius heard of this, and quoted Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 where Andromache speaks to Hector:
"But Hector, you to me are father and are mother too, my brother, and my loving husband true."


Brutus smiled, saying he would never say to Porcia what Hector said to Andromache in return (Ply loom and distaff and give orders to thy maids), saying of Porcia:
"...Though the natural weakness of her body hinders her from doing what only the strength of men can perform, she has a mind as valiant and as active for the good of her country as the best of us."

Death

Porcia's death has been a focus point for many historians and writers. It is believed by a majority of the contemporary historians that Porcia committed suicide in 42 BC, reputedly by swallowing live coals. However modern historians find this tale implausible: it is more likely that Porcia took her life by burning charcoal in an unventilated room, succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of carbon monoxide . Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect...

.

The exact time of her death is unknown. Most historians such as Cassius Dio, Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius .-Biography:...

, Appian
Appian
Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

 and Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 all claim that she killed herself after hearing that Brutus had died following the second battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

. However, Nicolaus
Nicolaus of Damascus
Nicolaus of Damascus was a Greek historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC....

 says it happened before Brutus' death, saying she died following the first battle of Philippi, claiming that she only thought he was dead, and that Brutus wrote a letter to their friends in Rome, blaming them for Porcia's suicide. However, Plutarch dismisses Nicolaus' claims of a letter stating that too much was disclosed in the letter for it to be genuine.

The claim that her death occurred before that of Brutus is backed up by a letter sent by Cicero. However this letter would have been sent in late June or early July 43 BC, before the battle of Philippi. This letter suggests that Porcia did not commit suicide, but died of a lingering illness. Plutarch states that, if the letter was genuine, Brutus lamented her death, and blamed their friends for not looking after her. There is a letter to Atticus, which hints at Porcia's illness and compliments him for taking care of her. Cicero wrote a letter to Brutus, consoling him in his grief. This is probably the most accurate account of Porcia's death.

Porcia in popular culture

Classic

  • In Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (play)
    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against...

    , she appears in fictionalised form as Brutus' wife. She makes only two appearances, and her role is the only substantial woman's part in the play. It is reported in the fourth act that she died by swallowing fire.
  • Porcia is also briefly mentioned in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
    The Merchant of Venice
    The Merchant of Venice is a tragic comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps most remembered for its dramatic...

    in regards to the character of her namesake, Portia
    Portia (Merchant of Venice)
    Portia is the heroine of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. A rich, beautiful, and intelligent heiress, she is bound by the lottery set forth in her father's will, which gives potential suitors the chance to choose between three caskets composed of gold, silver and lead...

    :

In Belmont is a lady richly left;
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.

  • In Robert Garnier
    Robert Garnier
    Robert Garnier was a French tragic poet. He published his first work while still a law-student at Toulouse, where he won a prize in the Académie des Jeux Floraux. It was a collection of lyrical pieces, now lost, entitled Plaintes amoureuses de Robert Garnier...

    's play Porcie, she is the heroine of the play, which describes her suicide. In the play, she is devastated to hear of the death of her husband and kills herself. Her servant announces to the Romans that Porcia died swallowing live coals, before taking her own life with a dagger.

  • In The Purgatory of Suicides by Thomas Cooper
    Thomas Cooper (poet)
    Thomas Cooper was a poet and one of the leading Chartists. He wrote poetry, notably the 944 stanzas of his prison-rhyme the Purgatory of Suicides , novels and, in later life, religious texts...

    , Porcia is one of the suicides spoken of in the poem. Here Porcia's life is compared to the death of Arria
    Arria
    Arria was a woman in ancient Rome. Her husband Caecina Paetus was ordered by the emperor Claudius to commit suicide for his part in a rebellion but was not capable of forcing himself to do so. Arria wrenched the dagger from him and stabbed herself, then returned it to her husband, telling him that...

    , Pœtus' wife.

Modern

  • In Masters of Rome
    Masters of Rome
    Masters of Rome is a series of historical fiction novels by author Colleen McCullough set in ancient Rome during the last days of the old Roman Republic; it primarily chronicles the lives and careers of Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Pompeius Magnus, Gaius Julius Caesar, and the early...

    , a series of seven novels by the Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    n writer Colleen McCullough
    Colleen McCullough
    Colleen McCullough-Robinson, , is an internationally acclaimed Australian author.-Life:McCullough was born in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-Māori descent. During her childhood, her family moved...

    , Porcia appears as a child in Caesar's Women
    Caesar's Women
    Caesar's Women is the fourth historical novel in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, published on 21 March 1996.-Plot summary:...

    , as a teenager in Caesar
    Caesar (novel)
    Caesar: Let the Dice Fly is the fifth historical novel in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series.-Plot summary:The novel opens in 54 BC, with Caesar in the middle of his epochal Gallic campaigns, having just invaded Britannia...

    and as a young woman in The October Horse
    The October Horse (novel)
    The October Horse is the sixth novel in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series.-Plot introduction:The book begins with Gaius Julius Caesar's Egyptian campaign in Alexandria, his final battles with the Republicans led by Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger, Titus Labienus and the brothers...

    . Porcia is portrayed as being, first a rabid unthinking follower of republican values, then as a raving maniac, and then as perhaps totally insane. Servilia, who abuses her constantly, later writes to Brutus before the battle of Philippi to inform him that Porcia went mad and killed herself by swallowing live coals. However Brutus recognizes that it is more likely that Servilia murdered Porcia by forcing burning coals down her throat. Given the vicious character of Servilia in the novel, this murder is perfectly believable.

  • She appears in Ides of March
    Ides of March (novel)
    The Ides of March is an epistolary novel by Thornton Wilder that was published in 1948. It is, in the author's words, 'a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic... Historical reconstruction is not among the primary aims of this work'...

    , an epistolatory novel by Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

    , describing the events leading up to the death of Julius Caesar. Porcia is one of the main characters in fourth part of the book. Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

     speaks of her as the only person that Brutus loves. Porcia and Servilia exchange several letters, hinting towards Servilia's dislike of her. Caesar later sends a letter to Porcia informing her that Brutus is returning to Rome, and Porcia replies with a polite thank you; Caesar later confesses to Lucius Mamilius Turrinus (the chief character) that he greatly envies Brutus his marriage to her and often wishes he could have married her himself.

  • She is referenced in The Stars' Tennis Balls
    The Stars' Tennis Balls
    The Stars' Tennis Balls is a psychological thriller novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 2000. In the United States, the title was changed to Revenge...

    by Stephen Fry
    Stephen Fry
    Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

    . As part of his revenge, Simon Cotter gives Oliver Delft, the policeman who had him imprisoned, an alternative to being imprisoned himself. The alternative is for Delft to kill himself, with hot coals, as Portia did in Julius Caesar.

Drama

  • Porcia has been played in various adaptations of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Actresses such as Deborah Kerr
    Deborah Kerr
    Deborah Kerr, CBE was a Scottish film and television actress from Glasgow. She won the Sarah Siddons Award for her Chicago performance as Laura Reynolds in Tea and Sympathy, a role which she originated on Broadway, a Golden Globe Award for the motion picture The King and I, and was a three-time...

    , Virginia McKenna
    Virginia McKenna
    Virginia A. McKenna OBE is a British stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner.-Early career:McKenna trained as an actress at the Central School of Speech and Drama then worked on stage in London's West End theatres before making her motion picture debut in 1952...

     and Diana Rigg
    Diana Rigg
    Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, DBE is an English actress. She is probably best known for her portrayals of Emma Peel in The Avengers and Countess Teresa di Vicenzo in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service....

     have played the part in movies and television productions.

  • Porcia appears as a child and as an adult in Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (TV miniseries)
    Julius Caesar is a 2002 mini-series about the life of Julius Caesar. It was directed by Uli Edel, and written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner. It is a dramatization of the life of Julius Caesar through 82 BC to his death in 44 BC...

    . She is portrayed by Kate Steavenson-Payne
    Kate Steavenson-Payne
    Kate Steavenson-Payne is a British film/television actress, and has two sisters. Her height is 5 ft and 4 in...

     as an adult. She is a companion to her cousin Brutus and later becomes his wife. The drama shows her as an unwilling pawn in Caesar's assassination, torn between her husband and her friend, Calpurnia.

Primary sources

  • Plutarch
    Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

    , Marcus Brutus
  • Plutarch
    Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

    , Cato the Younger
  • Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

    , Epistulae ad Brutum
  • Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

    , Epistulae ad Atticum
  • Appian
    Appian
    Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

    , The Civil Wars, Book II
  • Valerius Maximus
    Valerius Maximus
    Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius .-Biography:...

    , De factis mem
  • Cassius Dio, Roman History 44-47
  • Valerius Maximus
    Valerius Maximus
    Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius .-Biography:...

    , Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri iv.6.5

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