Talk:Cato the Younger

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This is just uncritical, objectively portrayed, paraphrasing of Plutarch. An awful article.

Plutarch lived 100 years after Cato the Younger. You can't accept every small anecdote as being evidently true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:20, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Weasel words galore, this article is arguing Plutarch's opinion for him:

"Not believing the poor excuse, Cato took the paper from his hands and read it. Unfortunately, Caesar was right: it was indeed a love letter from his mistress Servilia Caepionis, Cato's half-sister."

Poor excuse? Unfortunately? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Old talk page post[edit]

I removed the Image:Cato.jpeg because its not Cato the younger, a man who died 40 something, known by his beeked nose and tall neck. I wonder if its Cato the elder. [[User:Muriel Gottrop|muriel@pt]] 15:29, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sounds kinda bias[edit]

If this article wasn't about a guy that died two thousand years ago I would probably think he wrote it. It is funny how much similarity it has to articles written by non-notable and insignifigant people about themselves. Anyways, history has given Cato kinda a bad reputation so I don't understand why he is shown in such a positive light.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 23:12, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I would agree, if it wasn't because I disagree. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:57, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


"Anyways, history has given Cato kinda a bad reputation so I don't understand why he is shown in such a positive light."

History often misportrays individuals (i.e. William Wallace, for centuries he has been portrayed by english historians as a butcher, highwayman, etc... It wasn't until the 20th Century that less biased works were written on him and were published). If you portray Ceasar and his empire as the "heros" of the story, then yes, Cato is the villian. However, if you look at the Republic as the hero, then ideals for which Cato stood for were the last bastion against tyranny, and Cato becomes the hero and Ceasar becomes the villian that drove the last nail into the coffin of the republic.

"It is funny how much similarity it has to articles written by non-notable and insignifigant people about themselves."

Interesting statement: I didn't know that Plutarch was an "insignificant" "non-notable" person. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe tha Plutarch is one of the best accounts we have on that era. It also factually coincides with information contained in several other historical accounts as well.

Note: I believe that the last paragraph in "After Cato" should be removed. It draws conclusions for the reader that are the author's personal opinion. It could be argued that had Cato "compromised" with Ceasar, then he would have "compromised" the ideals of the republic, and the end result would have been the same: Tyranny. We cannot draw conclusions about what would have been since it didn't happen. In essence the last paragraph not only tries to force the author's opinion on the reader; it taints the entire article.

Other than that paragragh (which I suspect was added in by an individual that had no part in the rest of the document), I found the article accurate & succinct.


I have just deleted the final paragraph. I reread the article and it is extremely clear that an individual who did either no or very little research inserted the final paragraph. I don't normally believe in deleting any information. However, there were no facts placed in the entire run-on paragraph, just one individual's ranting opinion.

To Whomever wrote that paragraph

Sorry that I had to delete it. This is not supposed to be a website for posting your opinions. thats what the discussion page is for. If there are any facts you would like to post then we welcome it. Otherwise keep it to the discussion page.

"Kinda Bias"!?[edit]

I'd just like to add my voice to those (unsigned) saying that this is a perfectly good article. All the reputable sources agree on Cato's integrity: the only major negative source I'm familiar with is Caesar's Anticato - and Caesar had an obvious grudge to bear, considering what an inveterate opponent of his Cato had been.

As for "...history has given Cato kinda a bad reputation..." - uh? Not that I'm aware of. The main people responsible for demonising the late Roman Republicans were medieval, and that hatred was mainly focussed on the assassins of Caesar. As the existing article notes, Dante puts Cato in Purgatory in the Divine Comedy, above even Virgil whom he idolizes - I think Cato might even be the highest-up of the pagans, but I'm not sure. Brutus, on the other hand, is right in the lowest circle of hell.

Don't like to be picky here, but when user:Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg talks about history dishing out bad reps maybe he is thinking of Catiline rather than Cato? Roughly the same era, similar name.... Bedesboy 22:09, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't claim a lot of expertise on Cato (undergraduate degree in Roman Republican History) but I understand what Al-Silverburg is getting at. Cato's detractors and his hagiographers both agree on his utter inflexibility and unwillingness to compromise on the specific topic of Caesar. Note, by contrast, his willingness to deal with Pompey, who was at least equally disreputable by the standards of the optimates, and was guilty at various times in the past of all of Caesar's offenses (e.g. failure to disband troops in response to senatorial order). Not even his worst enemies (read: Caesar's Anti-Cato) could call him corrupt, or tar him with the brush of other optimates, but his personal vendetta against Caesar has been generally agreed upon by history, and should be included in any serious treatment of his character. In response to the comment about the "ideals of the republic," I refer the writer to the following section from wikipedia's "Roman Republic" article:

Moreover, the Senate had proven, time and time again, to be so selfish, arrogant, incompetent and shortsighted that the Roman population no longer trusted them to lead. The Senate was often too willing to protect its friends, allies and members from lawful prosecution for even the most evident and extraordinary crimes; and because of this it lost the trust of the Roman citizens at large. When someone did come from their ranks and proved himself capable, the Romans flocked to them in a desperate hope that he might pull together the Republic and restore peace, law, and order. The Senate, using what means necessary, struck down these champions one by one, starting with the Gracchi. Each time this happened, the Roman people became more willing to accept the extreme measures of the reformers to ensure their laws, and their lives. Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon was technically treason, but no one outside the Senate cared, because it promised real change for a corrupt and unworkable Republic.

By this standard, is Cato really defending the "Ideals of the republic" (according to most sources, long dead before Cato was born) or is he simply trying to retain his cushy position as one of a privileged and protected minority?Militiades 21:01, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Just a quick note....[edit]

I would recommend that everybody take a look at Christain Meier's Caesar, which takes a good long look at the anomosity between Cato and Caesar; also, Syme's 'A Roman Post-Mortem' (a short article presented in the 1950s and published in his Roman Papers I). I did my Ph.D thesis on Cato the Younger (Oxford and UCD) last year and there are alot of misconceptions, etc., but the general ideas in the above article are correct (although I have been changing a little, adding to the bibliography, etc). I've also given a few papers on Cato at various conferences in the UK, am doing further research on how Imperial authors viewed the figures of the late Republic, and have been approached to write a history of the late Republic - so watch this space. Pamela Marin, Ph.D

Info about Cato's Cypriot commission[edit]

I'm not certain who added the peculiar information concerning Cato's commission to Cyprus, but it was factually inaccurate (he was not sent as Praetor, but as Quaestor pro Praetore; Cato only wrote two letters to Cicero, both related to Cicero's 'triumph', neither related meaningfully to Cato's notions of government), and unsupported by the extant sources. I have adjusted the text to bring it into conformity with more mainstream interpretations of the sources, and the sources themselves.

REPLY: The article claimed that Cato's letter to Cicero endorsed "a policy of benevolence and justice to Roman-controlled territories". This view is indeed supported by Cato's letter to Cicero: " it is an honour much more brilliant than a triumph for the senate to declare its opinion, that a province has been retained rather by the uprightness and mildness of its governor, than by the strength of an army or the favour of heaven." Is the equation of "benevolence" and "mildness" or the equation of "justice" and "uprightness" such a stretch? I think not. Nor is Cato endorsing simply the uprightness and mildness of Cicero's tenure: he was endorsing these qualities as a matter of policy. It takes very little historical imagination to see that Cato was expressing a more general view of provincial administration, one that was in fact fairly similar to that endorsed by Cato the Elder.Jopfer 04:02, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

REPLY to REPLY: I just thought it was a little credulous (and perhaps fatuous) to extrapolate any "policy" of Cato's out of some honeyed words set in a private letter to a friend; a letter in which he was declining to do a favor for said friend, and so perhaps was particularly keen not to offend him. Those words were far more likely intended to salve Cicero's ego than to adumbrate some embryonic manifesto on statecraft. Cicero had fought no major battles (a border skirmish or two), and in fact had done very little worthy of notice in his administration of the provice, and so had no prayer of a triumph. In his letter, Cato is trying to decline to help him gracefully, without pooh-poohing Cicero's meager accomplishments. Contemporary public (and private) discourse was full of language of this kind (most of it insincere or hypocritical, viz. Sallust), so a line in a letter about something completely unrelated, without corroboration from Plutarch or Paterculus, is no proof of anything. That said, the article as it now reads is not clearly erroneous: Cato did approve the policies you're describing, the letter to Cicero is just a uniquely poor source for that contention, when it could be gotten from Plutarch much more clearly, and less controversially.

BBC Documentary said something else.[edit]

"Caesar had Scipio and all his troops slaughtered upon their surrender." However, in the BBC Documentary, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, it said that Caesar had forgiven Scipio and later, he was mysteriously murdered.


If people who watch this page are also interested in how Wikipedia is governed, be sure to check out this: . Slrubenstein | Talk 13:38, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Which Greek philosopher?[edit]

One should remember, however, that the Roman interpretation of Stoicism was somewhat at odds with the Greek philosopher's ideas, for instance, he argued against participation in public affairs; the Romans however were able to incorporate his teachings within the Roman framework.

Which "philosopher's ideas"? And whose teachings? Are we supposed to assume Epictetus? Someone else? Perhaps substituting "Greek philosophers'" (plural) "their teachings" for "his teachings" would help, if just a general reference to the Stoics is what's intended? If not, someone please name the "Greek philosopher" in the article Bacrito (talk) 05:19, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Good point. I'm guessing it's supposed to be Zeno of Citium.--Gen. Quon (Talk) 19:05, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Betrothed vs. Engaged[edit]

The author does not make clear the distinction between"betrothed" and "engaged" in this time and place and under these circumstances, so the discourse in the second paragraph under "Political Development" is unclear. Lriley47 (talk) 06:28, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Apparent error in the Early Life Biography Part of Article[edit]

This part of the article currently reads, " In a playful mood, he asked the children's support for his cause. All of them nodded and smiled except Cato, who stared at the guest with most suspicious looks. Silo demanded an answer from him and, seeing no response, took Cato and hung him by the feet out of the window. Even then, Cato would not say anything."

According to Plutarch's Lives VOL III translated from Greek to English by Aubrey Stewart and George Long, which is available on, nowhere can it be found that "all of them"(the boys who were present) nodded and smiled and that he(Cato) was hung by his FEET. Those facts seem to have been unwarrantably added.

The corresponding excerpt from the previously mentioned source reads so, "While Cato was still a boy, the Allies[656] of the Romans were agitating to obtain the Roman franchise; and a certain Pompædius Sillo,[657] a man of military talent and of the highest repute, and a friend of Drusus, lodged with him several days, during which he became familiar with the youths, and he said, "Come now, pray your uncle on our behalf to exert himself to get the franchise [Pg 502]for us." Now, Cæpio with a smile nodded assent, but as Cato made no answer and looked on the strangers steadily and sternly, Pompædius said, "But you, young man, what reply have you for us? Can you not help the strangers with your uncle, like your brother?" As Cato still would not speak, but by his silence and his expression showed that he rejected their entreaty, Pompædius took him up and holding him through the window as if he intended to drop him down, told him either to assent or he would let him fall, and at the same time he assumed an angry tone and several times he swung the boy backwards and forwards as he held him in his hands. Now, when Cato had borne this for some time, unmoved and fearless, Pompædius gently putting him down said to his friends, "What a blessing[658] to Italy that he is a child; for if he were a man, I do not think we should have a single vote among the people."" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Beezyb36 (talkcontribs) 19:11, 23 February 2015 (UTC)