Cato, Marcus Porcius

Cato, Marcus Porcius

biographical name

(born 234, Tusculum, Latium—died 149 BC) Roman statesman and orator, the first important Latin prose writer. Born of plebeian stock, he fought in the Second Punic War. His oratorical skills paved the way for his political career. He held conservative anti-Hellenic views and opposed the pro-Hellenic Scipio family, whose power he broke. Elected censor (magistrate in charge of censuses, taxes, and the public good) in 184, he tried to restore the mos majorum (“ancestral custom”) and combat Greek influence, which he believed undermined Roman morality. He crafted laws against luxury and the financial freedom of women and never ceased to demand the destruction of Carthage. His writings include works on history, medicine, law, military science, and agriculture. His great-grandson Cato the Younger (b. 95—d. 46 BC) was a leading Optimate (see Optimates and Populares) who sought to preserve the republic against Julius Caesar.


Cato, Marcus Porcius known as Cato the Censor or Cato the Elder

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