period makeups: Calpurnia Pisonis

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
other portrayals

Ancient Roman period makeups: Calpurnia Pisonis

Calpurnia Pisonis (born 75 BCE) was the third and last wife of Julius Caesar. Caesar and Calpurnia married in late 59 BCE. Calpurnia was sixteen and Caesar was forty-one, already a Consul and with a military reputation built on his victories in Spain. Following Caesar’s death on the Ides of March 44 BCE, Calpurnia delivered all Caesar’s personal papers and most precious possessions to Mark Antony. She did not remarry after the death of Caesar. According to historical tradition, reflected in some ancient sources and many movies, Calpurnia had a premonition of her husband’s murder and tried to warn him in vain.

Calpurnia was only six years older than Cleopatra – and more than thirty years younger than Caesar’s mistress Sevila – and only thirty when Caesar was killed but she is rarely portrayed that way: Valeria Golino at thirty-five was probably the youngest Calpurnia I have seen. It probably suits the the storytelling to contrast the older betrayed wife with the young, beautiful and exotic mistress.