Although of the approximately 120 fictional documents and letters composing Wilder’s epistolary historical novel The Ides of March slightly less than half are ostensibly written by female characters, the author had to defend his work from at least one accusation of being unfair to women. The aim of this article is to investigate how Wilder gives voice to four famous women of ancient Rome—Clodia Metelli (supposedly Catullus’s model for the Lesbia addressed in his poetry); Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt; Julius Caesar’s aunt Julia Marcia; and the actress and courtesan Cytheris—by subverting traditional stereotypes and rewriting their personalities according to modern issues. Wilder’s Roman women are multilayered, ambivalent characters struggling to overcome gender stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes toward them through a strong connection with art and literature.

You do not currently have access to this content.