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Plutarch, Life of Cato

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Erik Gunderson

CLA 233: Week 7: Mar. 1, 2011 Background -overarching themes like virtue and exemplary citizens discussed in terms of individual people or cases -e.g. Cato the Virtuous -people and events can come to represent categories -application of a category to a person will dictate the historical facts that are collected in relation to himit -categorical thinking -tell stories of glorious past at aristocratic dinner parties -used as example -way of uniting past, present, and future -Plutarch, like Livy, uses exemplary figures to create his history -common technique, orators would say he has the virtue of a _____ (like Cato) -50BC-18CE = gap in histories Plutarch: Life of Cato -not to be confused with Cato the younger (dies 46 BC) -talking about Cato the Elder -exemplary stories also have family names attached to them -to be born a Cato meant you had to live up to that name; be the next Cato -Cato themes: -husband -father -master to his slaves -virtuous -succeeds at everything -bodies -newold combination: radical self invention as an old man, very traditional and conservative, even though he is a new man in town -interesting theme of body politics (e.g. soft bodies, hard bodies, luxurious bodies) -politics and morality are merged for Cato
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