Cato the Elder


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Cato the Elder

(kā`tō) or

Cato the Censor,

Lat. Cato Major or Cato Censorius, 234–149 B.C., Roman statesman and moralist, whose full name was Marcus Porcius Cato. He fought in the Second Punic War and later served as quaestor (204), aedile (199), praetor (198), consul (195), and censor (184). He was renowned for his devotion to the old Roman ideals—simplicity of life, honesty, and unflinching courage. He inveighed against extravagance and new customs, but his policy was not aimed at repression but rather at reform and the rebuilding of Roman life. He sought to restrict seats in the senate to the worthy and undertook much building, including the repair of the city sewers. He was sent on an official visit to Carthage in his old age. Upon his return he expressed stern disapproval of Carthaginian ways and told the senate to destroy Carthage. He thus helped to bring on the Third Punic War, in which Carthage was destroyed. Probably his detestation of luxury and cultivated ways inspired the deep hatred that he had for the ScipioScipio
, ancient Roman family of the Cornelian gens. They were patricians. During the 3d and 2d cent. B.C. they were distinguished by their love of Greek culture and learning.
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 family. He himself deliberately affected a rustic appearance and rustic manners. However, he complacently accepted class division and treated his servants harshly. He wrote many works, most of which are now lost. Probably the most influential was his history of early Rome. His De agri cultura or De re rustica, translated as On Farming, is a practical treatise that offers valuable information on agricultural methods and country life in his day.

Bibliography

See A. E. Astin, Cato the Censor (1978).

References in periodicals archive ?
They provide useful historical background on the careers of Cato the Elder, Marcus Antonius, and Lucius Licinius Crassus, indicating their contributions to early oratorical practice.
The great-grandson of Cato the Elder (the stern Censor known as the defender of Roman morals and opponent of the Hellenistic influences favored by Scipio), the younger Cato had the misfortune of being born into the century in which the degeneration of the Republic reached its culmination, leading to the rule of the Emperors.
Carthago delenda est" (Carthage must be destroyed), the Roman statesman Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) is quoted to have said at the end of his speeches.
The topics include Cato the Elder and the origins of Roman autobiography, Sulla's Memoirs, Augustus' Spanish war and the ending of his memoirs, and alternative memoirs from the other side of the civil war.
In his Essay on Duties, Marcus Tullius Cicero tells a story about Cato the Elder, a wealthy man renowned as a landowner, who lived a century before Cicero.
Sometimes it worked: Cato the Elder signed off every speech with the words, Carthago delenda est--"Carthage must be destroyed"--and in those days before newspapers, Cato's "editorial crusade" eventually won over Roman opinion.
A recipe for `placenta', which means cake in ancient Greek, is recorded in De Agricultura, written by Cato the Elder (234-149 BC).
Their mouthpiece was the senator Cato the Elder, whose condemnation of Carthage was so intense that he ended every speech with the famous phrase "Carthago delenda est" ("Carthage must be destroyed").