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Clodia, born Claudia Pulchra Tertulla in circa 95 BC, was the third daughter of the patrician Appius Claudius Pulcher and Caecilia Metella Balearica. Despite being a woman, Clodia was very well educated in Greek and Philosophy, with a special talent for writing poetry. But she shared the recklessness of her younger brother, the political agitator Publius Clodius Pulcher. Her life, immortalized in the poems of Catullus and the writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero, was lived on perpetual scandal.

Clodia was married as a young girl to Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, her first cousin. Soon she would start to be noticed. Along with Publius, she changed her patrician name to Clodia, with plebeian connotation. The marriage was not a happy one. Clodia engaged in several affairs with married men and slaves, becoming at the same time a notorious gambler and drinker. Discussions with Celer were constant, often in public situations. When Celer died in strange circumstances in 59 BC, Clodia was pointed as suspect of poisoning her husband.

After that, Clodia became a widow, although a merry one. Around 60 BC, her favourite lover was the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. Madly in love with her, Catullus wrote several poems about his feelings towards Lesbia, the name he gave her. From the poems, the reader can understand that the relation was not an exclusive one. Clodia maintained several other lovers, including Marcus Caelius Rufus, Catullus' friend. This particular affair would cause an immense scandal. After the relation with Caelius was over in 56 BC, Clodia publicly accused him of attempted poisoning. The accusation led to a murder charge and trial. Caelius' defence lawyer was Cicero, who took a harsh approach against her recorded on his speech Pro Caelio. Cicero had a personal matter in this case, because Publius Clodius was his bitterest political enemy. Among other things, Clodia was elegantly accused of being a seducer and a drunkard, as well as committing incest with her brother Publius. He declared her a disgrace to her family and nicknamed Clodia the Medusa of the Palatine.

After the Caelius trial (in which he was considered non guilty), Clodia disappears from the sources. Presumably, this scandal was too much for her family to digest, thus removing her from Rome. The date of her death is unknown.