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Plutarch's Life of Elder Cato (Assigned Reading) Summary of the Cato's Life. Focuses on his lifestyle (simple and cheap) compared to the norms of Rome (extravagant). His political, social and military contritions. (Autobiography)

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HIST 2100
Ben Kelly

Introduction Cato is compared to Socrates and Aristides Cato and Aristides were passionate about teach the people about morals honest and traditional virtues Aristides was uninterested in money Cato was interested in building his estate but was thrifty stingyPlutarchs sources are of Catos own speeches and writings where he quotes a couple times in the stbiography 25 Cato was the 1 to record his own speeches Plutarch had access to these textsOther historians like Cicero may have been more imaginative when speaking of Cato Livys accounts are omitted from Plutarchs history of Cato Plutarch does not record year by year like Livy Biography1 Marcus Catos family originated form Tusculum He thought highly of his father Marcus and his grandfather Cato for their military skills and excellence Marcus Cato name was originally Priscus but because of his accomplishments romans named him Cato a name given to anyone who was astuteCato lived a simple life and was a handyman He was well built and a good public speaker He often participated in courts for people did not charge them Those who crossed paths with Cato foresaw him as a possible powerful and successful politician He did not care much for court issues but rather his military achievements was a soldier at 17He was an outstanding soldier and had the ability to strike fear into his enemies with just the tone of his voice and expression he taught this to others expression was more scary than a sword He had an attendant who was responsible for carry their masters armour and meals but Cato always carried his own stuff and even helped cook on occasions It was told that Cato never raised a hand against his attendant He drank water and only when tired vinegar with a dab of wine2 Cato lived on a farm that once belonged to a prestigious man Manius Curius Manius had won 3 triumphs yet lived a very simple life He found pleasure in defeating those who had gold instead of keeping gold for himself Cato looked up to this man and on thoughts of him increased manual labour for his farmWhen Cato served under the military he lived with Nearchus a Pythagorean who taught him that the best way to achieve freedom and purity was to let go of ones desire for luxury and extravagance and only take what is rational sufficient These teachings influenced Cato to live a simple life It was only in his late life that Greek books influenced him authors Thucy and Demosthenes3 Valerius was a prestige man who lived beside Cato From his slaves Valerius had learnt of Catos decency and hardworking abilities and had taken an interest in inviting him for dinner At dinner Valerius saw Cato as someone with the right basis and persuaded him to go to the city as he was sure to excel there In the city Cato was admired quickly
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