updated: 13/09/2010

period: Calpurnia Pisonis

Calpurnia Pisonis is usually a bit part in the tales of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra – as she may have been in real life. Where movies usually get it wrong is portraying her age: she only sixteen when she married the much-older Caesar and thirty when he was killed, butshe’s usually been portrayed by actresses in their forties or even fifties. She was only six years older than Cleopatra but it probably suits the the storytelling to contrast the older betrayed wife with the young, beautiful and exotic mistress.

Julius Caesar (1979): Elizabeth Spriggs was Calpurnia in this BBC adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Coming soon …

Carry On Cleo (1964): Joan Sims made a brief appearance as Calpurnia. Coming soon …

Cleopatra (1963): Gwen Watford made a brief appearance as Calpurnia. Coming soon …

Julius Caesar (1953): This movie focused on the lead-up to Caesar’s death and featured a fifty-year-old Greer Garson as Calpurnia. William Tuttle was the makeup designer.