Fulvia with the Head of Cicero. Pavel Svedomsky. Oil on canvas.
On December 7, 43 B.C., Cicero was killed as part of the proscriptions under Octavian (later Augustus) and Marc Antony. In his Roman History, Cassius Dio says this about how Antony and his wife Fulvia reacted to Cicero’s death:
When, however, the head of Cicero also was brought to them one day (he had been overtaken and slain in flight), Antony uttered many bitter reproaches against it and then ordered it to be exposed on the rostra more prominently than the rest, in order that it might be seen in the very place where Cicero had so often been heard declaiming against him, together with his right hand, just as it had been cut off. And Fulvia took the head into her hands before it was removed, and after abusing it spitefully and spitting upon it, set it on her knees, opened the mouth, and pulled out the tongue, which she pierced with the pins that she used for her hair, at the same time uttering many brutal jests.