period: Servilia Caepionis

Servilia Caepionis

Servilia Caepionis (107–after 42BCE) is one of the few Roman women cited by ancient sources, mainly due to her having been both the mistress of Julius Caesar and the mother of his assassin Marcus Junius Brutus.

After the assassination of Caesar by her son Brutus – and her son-in-law Cassius – the conspirators met at her house. Despite this, she herself escaped the purges of the second triumvirate unscathed. After Brutus’ death, she lived out the remainder of her life in relative comfort and affluence under the care of Cicero’s friend Titus Pomponius Atticus.

The movies & TV shows

Rome (2005): Servilia of the Junii (Lindsay Duncan) is one of the leading characters, and is clearly based on Servilia Caepionis. There is no historical evidence to suggest that Servilia and Atia Balba Caesonia (the basis for the character Atia of the Julii) were such vicious rivals, or that Servilia and Octavia Minor had a sexual relationship, as is dramatised in the series. Maurizio Silvi was the makeup designer; Laura Tonello was the makeup supervisor; Federico Laurenti, Katia Sisto & Francesco Nardi were the makeup artists; Vincenzo Mastrantonio was the special makeup effects artist; Aldo Signoretti was the hair designer.

Empire (2005): An epic – or at least, apparently endless – four-hour mini-series about the rise of Octavius who succeeds Julius Caesar and tangles with Marc Anthony for control of the Roman Empire and finally went on to become the Emperor Augustus. Trudie Styler played Servilia. Mario Michisanti was key makeup artist.