CATO, Mincus Ponca's (n.c. 234-149). A Roman statesman, surnamed Ccnsorias and Sapiens (the wise), afterwards known as CAT() Pniscus, or CATO MAJOR (Cato the Elder). to distinguish him from Cato of Ile was horn at Tuseulum, in B.C. 234. Ile inherited from his plebeian father a small farm in the country of the Sabines, where he busied himself in agricultural operations, and learned to love the simple and severe manners of his Roman forefathers, which still lingered round his rural home. Induced by Lucius Valerius Fl•ccus to remove to when that city was in a transi tion epoch from the old-fashioned strictness and severe frugality of Roman habits to the luxury and licentiousness of Grecian manners, Cato pro tested against this, denounced the degeneracy of the Philo-Hellenic Party, and set a pattern of sterner and purer character. He soon distin guished himself as a pleader at the bar of jus tice. and, after passing through minor offices, was elected consul (me. 1951. fn his province of Hither Spain, where an insurrection had broken out after the departure of the elder Scipio (n.c. 206), Cato was so successful in restoring order and displayed such military genius that in the following year he was honored by a triumph.
In n.c. 1S7 a fine opportunity occurred for the display of 'antique notions. Si. Fulvius Nobilior had just returned from _EA°lia victori ous, and sought the honor of a triumph. Cato objected. Fulvius was indulgent to his soldiers and a man of literary taste, and Cato charges him, among other enormities, with "keeping poets in his camp." These rude prejudices of Cato were not acceptable to the Senate, and his opposition was fruitless. In n.c. 1S4 Cato was elected censor, and discharged so rigorously the duties of his office that the epithet rensorius, formerly applied to all persons in the same station, was made his distinctive surname. Many of his acts were highly commendable. He re paired the watercourses, bricked the reservoirs, cleansed the drains, increased the sums paid by the publicans for the farming of the taxes, and diminished the contract prices paid by the State to the contractors of public works. More ques tionable reforms were those in regard to the price of slaves, dress, furniture, equipage, etc.
Ills despotism in enforcing his own idea of decency may he illustrated from the fact that he degraded Slanilius, a man of pretorian rank, for having kissed his wife in his daughter's pres ence in open day. Cato was a thoroughly dog matic moralist, intolerant and stoical: great because lie manfully contended with rapidly growing evils; yet not wise. because he opposed both the had and the good in the innovations of his age with equal animosity.
In the year B.C. 175 Cato was sent to Carthage to negotiate as to the differences between the Car thaginians and the Numidian King Masinissa: but having been offended by the Carthaginians, he returned to Rome, where, ever afterwards, he described Carthage as the most formidable rival of the Empire, and concluded all his ad dresses in the Senate house—whatever the im mediate subject might be—with the well-known words: "Ceterum eenseo, Carthaginem esse de lendam" ("Moreover, 1 vote that Carthage must Ise destroyed").
Though Cato was acquainted with the Creek language and its literature, his reactionalT prin ciples led him to dem:time the hitter as injurious to national morals. lle died n.c. 149. at the age of 85. He was twice married. In his eightieth year his second wife, Salonia, bore him a son, the grandfather of Cato of Utica. In his old age (•ath became greedy of gain, yet never mice al lowed his avarice to interfere with his honesty as a State functionary. Ile composed various literary works, such as De Agri ('ultura (also known as De Re Rustier:). which has been pre served entire. The best edition is by Kreil ( Leipzig, ISS4). His greatest historical work, the Origines, has, unfortunately, perished. 11, was an account of the beginning and develop ment of the Roman State. Fragments of Cato's orations—of which as many as 150 were read by Cieero—are given in Meyer's Oratorum Ro WM110111111 Fragmenta (Zurich. 1842). As an ora tor. Cato was very famous, his style being natu ral, forcible, and racy to a degree. See Sears, History of Oratory (Chicago, 1896). Fragments from the lost works of Cato were published by Jordan (Leipzig, 1860.