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like Caesar’s wife Of absolutely impeccable conduct; totally beyond reproach; without even the implication of impropriety. The phrase derives from an episode in the life of Julius Caesar as recounted in Plutarch’s Lives. The Roman nobleman Publius Clodius was on public trial for having had an affair with Pompeia, wife of Caesar. The latter testified that he knew nothing to substantiate the charges, and Publius Clodius was consequently acquitted. Caesar nevertheless divorced his wife Pompeia as a result of the scandal. When asked why he had done so when he had maintained her innocence, Caesar is reputed to have said, “I thought my wife ought not even to be under suspicion.” The more often heard version is the phrase Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.
odor of sanctity The appearance of holiness or saintliness; an air of respectability; a virtuous, dignified exterior. This expression grew out of a belief popular in the Middle Ages that the dead bodies of saintly persons exuded a sweet smell. The pleasant odor was interpreted as a sign of the dead person’s sanctity or holiness.
There was also a sensation of aromatic odour, as of a dead body embalmed, for when the celestial angels are present, what is cadaverous then excites a sensation as of what is aromatic. (Cookworthy, tr., Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell, 1756)
Today the phrase is usually used ironically to imply a disparity between appearance—such as that of an extravagant funeral—and a contrasting reality, such as the deceased’s private life. Here sanctity is closer to sanctimoniousness.
sprout wings See CHARITABLENESS.
|Noun||1.||virtuousness - the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong|