Cato the Elder in Roman Biography

Cato, [Gr. Koruv ; Fr. Caton* kS't6N'; It. Catone, ka-to'na,] (Marcus Porcius,) often called Ca'to Censo'rius, (or Cknsori'nus,) i.e. "Cato the Censor," also sumamed THE Elder, an eminent Roman patriot and statesman, was born of a plebeian family at Tusculum in 234 B.C. At the age of seventeen he served in the army against Hannibal, and in 209 he took part in the siege of Tarcntum under Fabius. He contributed to the victory over Hasdrubal on the Metaurus in 207. In the intervals of war he worked on his Sabine farm, and accustomed himself to a hardy, simple mode of life, disciplined in austere virtues and in all branches of practical and useful knowledge. By pleading causes for the poor, he had become an oracle among his rustic neighbors, when Valerius Flaccus, a liberal patrician, recognized his merit, and persuaded him to seek in the Forum of Rome an ampler sphere of usefulness. He soon gained eminence as an orator, and became a candidate for office. He was elected quaestor (paymaster) in 204, and prxtor in 198 B.C., when he obtained Sardinia as his province. In 195 he was raised to the consulship, with his early patron, V. Flaccus, for his colleague, and commanded the army in Spain with ability and success, for which he received a triumph on his return. Elected censor in 184, he reformed many abuses, and enforced his principles of economy and sobriety with a severity which procured him many enemies. He was one of the chief advisers of the third Punic war, and author of the phrase (which he often repeated in the senate) Delenda est Carthago, ("Carthage must be destroyed.") He wrote a treatise on agriculture, (" De Re rustica,") which is extant. His son, M. Porcius Cato, became an eminent jurist. Died in 149 B.C. In Plutarch's parallels, Cato the Censor is the counterpart of Aristides. Few names occur in the Latin classics oftener than that of Cato, who was venerated as a model of pristine Roman virtue. See Plutarch, " Lives ;" Livy, " History of Rome ;" Cornelius Nepos, "Cato;" Cicero, "Cato Major, sen de Senectute ;" Drumann, " Geschichte Roms ;" E. Schop.er, "De M. P. Catone Censorino," 1825 ; Weber, " Programma de M. P. Catonis Vita et Moribus," 1831.

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