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Playing for Power at the End of the Roman Republic

Celia E. Schultz

Publication Date - 13 August 2021

ISBN: 9780197601839

160 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock


Fulvia is the first full-length biography in English focused solely on Fulvia, who is best known as the wife of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony). Born into a less prestigious branch of an aristocratic Roman clan in the last decades of the Roman Republic, Fulvia first rose to prominence as the wife of P. Clodius Pulcher, scion of one of the city's most powerful families and one of its most infamous and scandalous politicians. In the aftermath of his murder, Fulvia refused to shrink from the glare of public scrutiny and helped to prosecute the man responsible.

Later, as the wife of Antonius, she became the most powerful woman in Rome, at one point even taking an active role in the military conflict between Antonius's allies and Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. Her husbands' enemies painted her as domineering, vicious, greedy, and petty. This book peels away the invective to reveal a strong-willed, independent woman who was, by many traditional measures, an immensely successful Roman matron.


  • The first full-length biography in English focused solely on Fulvia, best known as the wife of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)
  • Traces Fulvia's life from childhood in an aristocratic Roman household through her three marriages
  • Examines Fulvia's historical legacy and the precedents she set for the women of Rome's imperial house.

About the Author(s)

Celia E. Schultz is Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan and the author of Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic and A Commentary on Cicero, De Divinatione I.


"The biography fulfils the series' aim of providing 'compact and accessible introductions to the life and historical times of women from the ancient world'." -- J. LEA BENESS, The Classical Review

"Schultz has crafted a very compelling narrative, leaving aside all clichés and analysing in depth the politics at the time." -- Cristina Rosillo-López, Universidad Pablo de Olavide

"The character that emerges from Schultz's prose is a woman possessing intelligence, independence, and political skill rivaling that of the great men around her." -- J. Tucci, CHOICE

"This is a well-written book, accessible for undergraduates and graduates (the paperback edition is very affordable), that offers a well-balanced, informed and nuanced picture of a powerful and important figure of the Late Republic. Schultz has crafted a very compelling narrative, leaving aside all clichés and analysing in depth the politics at the time. All in all, it is a worthwhile read." -- Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Schultz (Univ. of Michigan) adds to the growing body of scholarship on ancient women with this superb monograph on Fulvia, the first full-length biography of this important Roman figure.... Highly recommended." -- CHOICE

"The Roman matron Fulvia was held in contempt by ancient historians as no other woman of the Republic was. She was accused of fomenting civil war, mutilating the orator Cicero's corpse, and, worst of all, paving the way for her husband Antony's later enslavement to Cleopatra. In this well-informed and often witty book, Celia Schultz gives us a truer picture of Fulvia's remarkable life, shrewdly tracing the distortions back to Antony's political enemies and probably Antony himself." -- Josiah Osgood, Georgetown University

"There is far more to Fulvia's story than her husbands and her enemies, and Celia Schultz tells it skillfully and insightfully. This is a judicious, delightfully readable, and much-needed biography." -- Jeffrey Tatum, Victoria University of Wellington

Table of Contents

    1. The Background
    2. Fulvia Enters the Scene
    3. Life with Curio and Antonius
    4. Fulvia's Final Act
    5. After Fulvia's Death

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