Cato the Elder (234 BC - 149 BC)

Cato the Elder (234 BC - 149 BC) With Cato the Elder, in the first half of the second century B.C., Latin history writing first came into existence, representing a new level of self-confidence on the part of the Romans, who now rose to the challenge of Greek letters by composing their own literature in their own language. This was an achievement matched by no other people with whom the Greeks came into contact. For Cato, in fact, the Greeks no longer counted; the Romans and the Italians had nothing of which to be

ashamed. On the contrary, he believed they had incorporated the best of the Greek world with the best of their own rich heritagea pardonable exaggeration with which many Greeks in the second century B.C. must have agreed. From this time on, numerous accounts in Latin by members of the senatorial class provided the growing reading public of Rome and Italy with suitably patriotic, moralizing histories, often laced with polemic tracts from the internal political battles of the century. There were few qualms about adapting history to the political needs of the Roman upper classes, and history was seen as a means of glorifying ones achievements

and the achievements of ones family as well as propagandizing for further advancement. Nagle, pp. 319-320. Some aphorisms of Cato the Elder After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. Anger so clouds the mind, that it cannot perceive the truth. From lightest words sometimes the direst quarrel springs. Grasp the subject, the words will follow. I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches

nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right. Lighter is the wound foreseen. Patience is the greatest of all virtues. Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity. The Stoic Diogenes The Transformation of Rome When three famous Greek

philosophersCarneades, the head of the Academy; the Stoci Diogenes; and Critolaus the Peripatetic came to Rome to plead a case on behalf of Athens, they electrified the youth of the city with their lectures. Carneades, the

head of the Academy Nothing like Carneades lecture on justice and its application to the problem of empire, delivered on two successive dayson the second day of which the speaker refuted all the theories he had put up on the previous dayhad been heard before. Cato urged that he philosophers be given a quick answer to their plea so that they could return to their schools in Athens as soon as possible, while the youth of Rome could listen, as in the past, to their laws and magistrates.

Nagle, p. 320. As Rome grew and the bonds of clientshipDionysus (clientela) dissolved, the confinement of religion to the higher officials of state and to state functions created a vacuum. Eastern religions moved in to fill the void. The worship of the Great Mother (Magna Mater, Mater Deorum, or Cybele) was introduced officially in 205 B.C., and unofficially the

worship of Dionysus crept into Italy and was savagely repressed as being dangerous to Rome both politically and morally. However, the two religions remained as the forerunners of many others, including the one that was ultimately to triumph: Christianity. Nagle, p. 321. Magna Mater, Mater Deorum, or Cybele

Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus (The Gracchi Family) Gaius Marius (157-86 B.C.) and the Jugurthan War. Lucius Cornelius Sulla 138-78 B.C. Pompey

Crassus Caesar Cleopatra and Mark Anthony

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