Cato Maior de Senectute

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On Old Age is an essay written by Cicero in 44 BC on the subject of aging and death. It has remained popular because of its profound subject matter as well as its clear and beautiful language. It is a standard text for teaching Latin to students in the second year.

The Latin title of the piece is "Cato Maior de Senectute". To lend his reflections greater import,[1] Cicero wrote his essay such that the esteemed Cato the Elder was lecturing to Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius Sapiens.

A translation by the colonial American scholar James Logan was published by Benjamin Franklin, the first printing of a translation of a classic text in North America.[2] It was a favorite of former U.S. President John Adams, and was selected for inclusion in the Harvard Classics.

Quotes[edit]

  • The works of Nature must all be accounted good. (Latin: Omnia autem quae secundum naturam fiunt sunt habenda in bonis) (71)
  • No man is so old that he does not think himself able to live another year (Latin: nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere) (24)

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