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Cesar's Wife Must Ought Not Even Be under Suspicion

One must not be only honest, but must look honest.

In Plutarch’s Life of Julius Caesar, a story is related that Julius Caesar divorced his wife (Pompeia) because of rumors of opprobrious behavior. At trial, Caesar said he knew nothing about his wife’s rumored adultery, but asserted that he divorced her because his wife “ought not even be under suspicion” (The Life of Caesar, 9-10). In a sense, what Caesar was asserting was that he would not allow his wife’s suspected behaviors to sully his status, reputation, and prestige. At the time, Caesar was a powerful and ambitious political player (Pontifex Maximus), and he did not want his career thwarted by rumors of his mate’s turpitudinous behavior.