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defeated the Lacetanians, and took among them fix hun-
dred Roman deferters, whom he caufed to be put to
death : and when Scipio feemed to refent it, he anfwer-
ed ironically, " that Rome would then be great indeed
" if men of birth would never fuffer thole who were
" more obfcure to have the pre-eminence in virtue, and
** if they, who were of the commonalty, as he himfelf
" was, would contend in virtue with thofe who were
" more eminent and honourable."

The fenate having decreed, that nothing that had
been eftabliihed by. Cato mould be altered, the poft
which Scipio had fo much courted, leflened his glory
more than Cato's -, for the whole time of his govern-
ment was fpent to no manner of purpofe, in profound
peace and total inactivity.

Nor did Cato even after his triumph, grow remifs in
the exercife of virtue, as many of thole do, who ftrive
not for virtue's fake, but vain-glory, and having en-
joyed the higheft honours, and obtained confulfhips
and triumphs, pafs the reft of their life in pleafure and
idlenefs, and concern themfelves no more in publick
affairs. But he, like thofe v/ho are juft entered upon
bufmefs, and thirft after honour and fame, exerted
himfelf as if he was beginning his race a-new, being
always ready to ferve his country either at the bar, or
in the field. Thus (7) he attended the Conful Tibe-

hundred and fcrty-fixth Olympiad.

Ee 4 (8) When

440 fbe L I F E tf

rius Sempronius, who was fent into Thrace, and to
the Danube, and ferved as a lieutenant under him ; and
afterwards as a tribune under the Conful Manius Aci-
liiri Glabrio, when he was fent into Greece againft King
Antiochus, who, next to Hannibal, feemed the moil for-
midable enemy the Romans ever had for having taken
from Seleucus Nicanor all the provinces he poiTeiled in
Afia, and reduced to his obedience feveral barbarous,
but warlike nations, in the pride of his fuccefs, he turn-
ed his victorious arms againft the Romans, as againft the
only people that were worthy to contend with him. Ac-
cording 1 ^ he marched againft them with a powerful ar-
my, colouring his defign with the fpecious pretence of
delivering the Greeks ; of which they ilood in no need,
fmce they were already made free, and were governed
by their own laws, having been lately delivered from
the yoke of King Philip, and the Macedonians, by the
kindneis of the Romans themfelves.

At his approach all Greece was in a commotion, and
unrefolved how to act, having been corrupted by the
mighty hopes given them by their orators whom Anfco-
chus had won over to his intereft ; but Acilius fent am-
baiTadors to them, and confirmed them in their duty.
Titus Flaminius likewife, without much trouble, baffled
the attempts of thofe innovators, of which- we have
given an account in his life. Cato had the fame fuc-
cefs with the people of Corinth, as well as thofe of Pa-
trse and ./Egium -, he alfo ftaid a great while at Athens.
It is faid that there is ftill extant an oration of his
which he fpoke in Greek to the people of Athens on
that occafion, in which he highly extols the virtue of
their anceftors, and expreiTes the great pleafure he
had in beholding the beauty and grandeur of that re-
nowned city. But this report is not true, for he only
fpoke to the Athenians by an interpreter ; not that he
was unable to fpeak to them in their own tongue, but


(8),WhenLeonidaswitIiahancl- tained his ground, till thebarba-

ful of men fuilained the charge rians fetching a compafs round

of the whole Ferfian army, in the mountains by fecret by-ways

thofe narrow paffes, and main- fell upon him at once, and cut


C A T O the C E N S O R. 441

his intention was to maintain the dignity of the Roman
language, and ridicule thofe who admired nothing but
what was Greek. Thus he jefted onPofthumius Albinus,
who having written an hiftory in Greek, afked his rea-
ders pardon for the improprieties he might be guilty
of inaftrange language ; " He ought, without doubt, to
** be pardoned, faid Cato, had he been obliged to write
" this hiftory by order of the Amphidyons." The Athe-
nians, they fay, admired the ftrength and brevity of his
flyle ; for what he expreffed in a few words, the interpreter
was forced to explain by long and tedious circumlocu-
tions ; infomuch that he left them in this belief, that
the words of the Greeks flowed only from their lips,
whilft thofe of the Romans came from their hearts.

When Antiochus had poffefTed himfelf of the paiTes of
Thermopylae, and to the natural ftrength of the place had
added intrenchments and walls, he refted there, believ-
ing himfelf fecure from any attack of the Romans, and
that he had diverted the war another way ; for the Ro-
mans themfelves defpaired of being ever able to force
thofe paifes. But Cato calling to mind (8) the circuit
the Perfians had formerly taken to attack the Greeks in
the fame place, began to march by night with part of
the army.

As they were endeavouring to reach the top of the
mountains, the guide, who was a prifoner, miffed his
way, and wandring up and down through unpayable
places, full of precipices, put the foldiers into an in-
expreflible dread and defpair. Cato perceiving the dan-
ger, commanded the reft of the army to ha't ; and
taking with him one Lucius Manlius, a man wonder-
fully dextrous at climbing the fteepeft mountains (9), he
marched forward with great pains and danger in a very
dark night, without the leaft moonmine, clambering
over wild olive trees, and fteep craggy rocks which
flopped their view, and hindred them from feeing the


his army to pieces. of Oeta, and the higheft of them

(9) All the mountains to the all is called Callidromus, at the
Eaft of the flraits of Thermopylz foot of which is a road fixty foot
are comprehended under the name broad. See Livy xxxvi. i 5.


442 Me LIFE of

xvay before them. At length, after a vail deal of pains,
they found a little path, which feemed to lead them
down to the bottom of the mountain where the enemy
lay encamped. There they fet up marks upon fome
of the moft confpicuous rocks on the top of the moun-
tain Callidromus ; and returning the fame way back to
the army, they led it with them by the direction of the
marks they had left, till they got into the little path
again, where they aited and made a proper difpofition
of their troops. After they had gone a little further,
the path failed them all at once, and they faw before
them a fteep precipice which threw them into new de-
fpair, for they 'could not yet perceive that they were
near the enemy.

The day began now to appear, when fome one among
them thought he heard a noife, and a little after, that
he faw the Grecian camp, and their advanced guard at
the foot of the rock. Cato therefore making an halt r
commanded the Firmians alone to come to him. Thefe
were the troops of whofe courage and fidelity he had
made thegreateft proof on all hazardous occafions. When
they were come, and flood round him in clofe order, he
fpoke thus to them ; u I want to take one of the enemy
" alive, to know of him what thefe advanced troops are,
" and how many in number, and to be informed of the
" difpofition and order of their whole army, and what pre-
" paration they have made to receive us ; but to execute
"this, requires the fpeed and courage of lions, who rum
** unarmed into the midft of a flock of timorous beafls."

Cato had no fooner done fpeaking but the Firmians,
all jufl as they were, rumed down the mountain, and
falling unexpectedly upon the advanced guard, put
them into diforder, difperfed them, took one armed
man, and brought him to Cato. This prifoner in-
formed him, that the main body of the army was en-
camped in the narrow paflages with the King, and that
the detachment that guarded the heights was fix hun-
dred feledt ./Etolians. Cato, defpifmg thofe troops, as
well on, account of the fmallnefs of their number, as
their careleflhefs and want of order, drew his fword


C A T O the C E N S O R. 443

and marched againft them with loud fhotits and the
found of trumpets. The ^toiians perceiving them
pouring down upon them from the mountains, fled to
their main guard, where they occafioned great ditbrder.

At the lame time Manius with the main body of
the army forced Antiochus's intrenchments below. In
this attack Antiochus was wounded in the mouth by a
ftone, and his teeth beaten out, the excellive pain of
which forced him to turn his horfe and retire. After
his retreat, no part of his army durft ftand the Ihock of
the Romans, fo that a general rout enfued, and though
there feemed no hopes of efcaping by flight, by reafon
of the flraitnefs of the road, and the deep marfhes and
rocky precepices with which it was furrounded, never-
thelefs they threw them felves in crowds into thofe ftraight
pafTages, and deft royed one another, out of fear of being
.deftroyed by the Romans.

Gato, who was always free in his own commendations,
and thought boafting a natural attendant on great acti-
ons, was not fparing on this occafion ; for he fets off this
laft exploit in very high terms, faying, " That they who
" faw him fall upon the enemy, rout and purfue them,
*' confeffed that Cato owed lefs to the people of Rome,
" than the people of Rome did to Cato; and that the Con-
" ful Manius himfelf coming hot from the fight, took
^ him in his arms as he came panting and fweating from
** the battle, and embracing him a long time, cried out in
*'a tranfport of joy, that neither he himfelf, nor all the
" people of Rome, would ever be able fully to reward his
" fervices.

After the battle, the Conful fent Cato to carry the
news of his own exploits to Rome. With a favourable
wind he failed to Brundufium ; from thence he in one
day reached Tarentum ; and having travelled four days
more, on the fifth day after he landed, he arrived at
Rome, and was the fir ft that brought news of this great
vidlory. His arrival filled the city with joy and facri-
fices, and gave the people fo high an opinion of them-
ielves, that they now imagined they were able to obtain
vniverfal dominion both by fea and land.


444. The LIFE of

Thefe are the greateft of Cato's military adions. As
to his conduct in civil affairs, he feems to have been
of opinion, that nothing more defer ved the zeal and
application of an honeft man, than to accufe and pro-,
fecute offenders ; for he himfelf profecuted feveral, and
encouraged and aififted others in carrying on inch pro-:
fecutions. Thus he fet up Petilius againfl the great
Scipio ; but he being a man of high birth and true mag-
nanimity, treated their accufations with the utmoft
contempt. Cato finding that he could not capitally con-
vict him, defifted from the profecution ; but joining
with other accufers, he attacked his brother Lucius
Scipio -, he being condemned to pay a great fine, which
he was unable to difcharge, was in danger of being
caft into prifon ; and it was with great difficulty, and-
by making his appeal to the tribunes, that he was at
laft difmiffed.

It is faid, that a certain young man having obtained a
fentence of condemnation againft an enemy of his father*
who was dead, and eroding the market-place the fame
day that judgment was given, Cato met him, and taking
him by the hand, faid to him, " Thefe are the offerings
" we mould make to the manes of our deceafed anceflors ;
* c we ought to facrifice to them not the blood of goats and
" lambs, but the tears and condemnation of their enemies."

However, he did not efcape thefe fort of attacks
himfelf during his adminiftration - 9 for whenever his
enemies got the leaft hold of him, he was immediately
called to an account, and profecuted to the utmoft, fb
that he was never out of danger ; for it is faid there were
nigh fifty impeachments brought againft him, the laft of
which happened when he was eighty-fix years old , upon
which occafion, he fpoke this well-known faying, " It was
" very hard that he mould be brought to juftify to men
*'of one generation the actions he had performed in

" another.

(0 This is not confident with time of Hannibal's ficcefs io
what Plutarch fays in other parts Italy j and at the conclufion he
of this life. Towards the be- tells us that Cato died juft at the
ginning he fays that, Cato wag beginning of the third Punick
but feventeen years old at the war. But Hannibal came into


C A T O the CENSOR. ,445

" another." But all hiscontefts did not end here, for four
years after, when he was ninety years old (i), he ac-
cufed Servius Galba ; fo that, like Neftor, he faw the
fourth generation, and, like him, was always in action.
In fhor.t, after having conftantly oppofed the great Sci-
pio in (late affairs, he lived till the time of young Scipio,
his adopted grandfon, and fon of Paulus ^milius, who
defeated King Perfeus and the Macedonians.

Ten years after his confulfhip, Cato flood for the of-
fice of Cenior, which was the higheft poft of honour,
and the completion of all thofe dignities to which the
ambition of a Roman citizen could afpire. For befides
all the other power it contained, it gave him a right to
enquire into the life and manners of every particular
perfon. For the Romans were of opinion that no man
ought to be allowed either in marriage, in the procrea-
tion of children, in his ordinary manner of life, or in
his entertainments, to follow his own inclinations,
without being liable to infpection and cenfure. And
being convinced that the difpofitions of men are better
difcerned in the private affairs of life, than by fuch
actions as are of a publick and political nature, they
chofe two magiflrates to be guardians, correctors, or
reformers of manners, to hinder men from quitting the
paths of virtue, for thofe of licentioufnefe and pleafure,
and from changing the ancient and eftablifhed cuftoms
for new fafhions and modes of living. One of thefe was
chofen out of the patricians, and the other from among
the common people, and they were called Cenfors. They
had a right to deprive a Roman knight of his horfe, and
to expel out of the fenate any fenator that lived alicenti-
ous and diforderly life. They took an eflimate of every
citizen's eftate, and kept a particular account of the
feveral families, qualities, and conditions of men in
the commonwealth.

This office had feveral other great prerogatives an-

Italy in the year of Rome ,534; putation, therefore, Cato could
and the third Punick war broke not be more tha-n eighty-feven
out feventy. years after, in the years old when he died ; and this
, year of Rome &i. By this com' account is confirmed by Cicero.

(2) PJu-

446 ?be LIFE of,

nexed to it ; fo that when Cato flood for it, the moft
confiderable perfons in the fenate oppofed him. The
patricians did it out of envy, imagining it would be a
difgrace to their nobility to fufTer men of obfcure birth
to rife to the highefl honour and power and others,
confcious of their own ill lives and corrupt manners,
oppofed him out of fear, dreading his inexorable feverity
when in power, and his inflexibility in difcharging his
office. Having therefore confulted among themfelves,
they agreed to fet up feven candidates in oppofition to
Cato. Thefe foothed the people with fair hopes and
prorriifes as though they wanted fuch magiftrates as
would govern them gently, and ferve their pleafures.
Cato, on the contrary, without condefcending to the
lead flattery or complaifance, but threatning from the
chair where he fat all wicked men to their face, and
crying out aloud, that the city wanted great reforma-
tion, preflfed and conjured the people to chufe, if they
were wife, not the mildefl but the feverefl phyficians - t
he told them that he himfelf was one of that character,
and fuch an one as they then flood in need of, and that
among the patricians, Valerius Flaccus was another ;
and that he was the only perfon with whofe afliflance he
could hope to render any confiderable fervice to the
ftate, by cutting off and fearing like the heads of the
Hydra, that voluptuoufnefs and luxury that had in-
fected all the parts of the commonwealth. He added
further, that all the others flrove by unworthy means
to obtain that office, becaufe they dreaded fuch as would
faithfully difcharge the duties of their place.

The Roman people on this occafion, fhowed them-
felves truly great, and worthy of great leaders ; for, far
from dreading the flifFnefs and feverity of this inflexible
man, they rejected all thofe fmooth flatterers, who
feemed inclined to render their authority eafy and popu-
lar, and unanimoufly chofe Valerius Flaccus and Cato,
liftening to the latter not as a man that flood for the


[2) Plutarch calls thefetwobro- and Lucius Quintius Fkminius,
thers, Titus Quintius Flaminius, whom Potybius, Livy, Cicero, and


C A T O tie C E N S O R. 447

office of Center, but as one in the adual exercife of it,
who, by virtue of his authority, gave forth his orders

The firft thing Cato did, was to name his friend and
collegue Lucius Valerius Flaccus chief of the fenate, and
to remove from thence feveral perfons, and particularly
Lucius Quintius, who had been Conful feven years before,
and, which was more honour to him than his Confulfhip,
was (2) brother to Titus Flaminius who overthrew King
Philip. The caufe of his expulfion was this.

Lucius Quintius kept a beautiful youth, who was al-
ways near his perfon, and all the time he commanded
the army had greater power and credit with him than
any of his moil intimate friends and acquaintance. Lu-
cius being appointed a Proconful, went to refide in his
province, and as he was one day at an entertainment,
the youth who fat next to him as ufual, who could
manage him as he pleafed, cfpecially when he was in
his cups, began to flatter and carefs him, and among
other things laid to him, " I love you with fo much paflion,
" that though there was a combat of gladiators to be feen
"at Rome, which is a fight I never faw in my life, yet I
" would not flay to fee it ; and though I longed to fee a
u man killed, yet I made all poilible hade to wait upon
" you." Lucius to requite this tendernefs, replied, " Be
" not uneafy, I will foon fatisfy your longing " and imme-
diately ordered a man who was condemned to die to be
brought to the feail, together with the executioner and
ax ; he then afked his paramour if now he defired to fee
that fight ? The boy anfwering that he did, Lucius com-
manded the executioner to cut off the man's head. This
is mentioned by feveral hiflorians, and Cicero in his dia-
logue on old age introduces Cato relating the fame thing.
Livy fays that the man who was killed was a Gaul, who
had delerted, and that he was not difpatched by the
executioner, but by Lucius himfelf, and that Cato had
written this account of it.


all the hiftorians call Titus Quin- remarks on the life of Titus Fla-

tius Flamininus, and L. Quintius minius.

Flamioinus, as may be fcen in the (3) A

448 Me LIFE of

Lucius being thus expelled the fenate, his brother
Titus flaminius, unable to fupport fuch an indignity,
appealed to the people, requiring Cato to give his rea-
fons for fixing fuch a ftain upon his family. While
Cato was doing this, and relating all the tranfactions of
that feaft, Lucius denied the fad ; but Cato calling upon
him to take his oath, he refufed it ; upon which the
people determined that he had been juftly puniflied.
But afterwards at a public fpectacle in the theatre,
when Lucius pafled by the place where thofe who had
been confuls ufed to fit, and going on further, fat down
in an obfcure feat at a diflance ; the people who faw
him took pity on him, and making a great noife, forced
him to come back and take his place among thofe of
Confular dignity, by that means repairing, as far as
they were able the difgrace that had befallen him.

Cato likewife removed out of the fenate Manilius,
another fenator, who flood fair for the Confulfhip, be-
caufe he had kiifed his wife in open day, and in the pre-
fence of his daughter. Cato faid on this occafion, that
his wife never embraced him but in loud claps of thun-
der, -adding by way of raillery, " That he was happy
" when Jupiter thundered."

He was much cenfured for his behaviour to Lucius,
brother to the great Scipio, who had been honoured with
a triumph for his victory over King Philip ; for he took
his horfe from him at a review of the Roman knisjits i

O *

and it appeared to every one to have been done on pur-
pofe to infult the memory of Scipio Africanus. But no -
thing gave fo general a difguft, as what he did towards
reforming their luxury. It was impoffible for him to
carry his point by attacking it directly, becaufe the
whole body of the people was infected and corrupted ^
therefore Ire took an indirect method 5 for he caufed all
apparel, vehicles, womens ornaments, furniture and
houfhold goods to be rated, and whatever exceeded fif-
teen hundred Drachmas to be valued at ten times its
worth, and impofed a tax according to that valuation.
For every thoufand alTes he cauied three to be paid ; in
order that they who found themlelves heavily pi died


C A T O the C E N S O R. 449

by this tax, and faw other plain and frugal perfons, of
as gpod eflates, pay lefs to the publick than themfelves,
might be induced to abate their luxury; By this means
he not only made thofe his enemies, who chofe rather
to bear the tax than abandon their luxury, but thofe
alfo who gave up their luxury to avoid the tax. For
the generality of mankind think that a prohibition to
mow their riches is the fame thing as taking them away;
and that a man's wealth is better feen in fuperfluities,
than in the neceiTaries of life. And this, it is faid, was
what furprized Ariflo the philofopher ; for he could not
comprehend why men mould account them who pof-
fefled fuperfluous things happy, rather than thofe who
abounded in what was neceffary and ufeful. But Scopas
the Theflalian, when a friend aiked him for fomething
that could be of little ufe to him, and gave that for a
reafon why he mould grant his requeft, made him this re-
ply, " My friend, it is only in thefe ufelefs and fuperfluous
" things that I think myfelf rich and happy." Thus it is
evident that this ardent defire of riches is not a natural
paflion, but is quite foreign and adventitious, the
effect of a confuted judgment and irregular imagina-

All the complaints and outcries againft Cato had no
effect at all upon him, unlefs to make him more feverc
and rigid. He caufed all the pipes by which private
perfons conveyed the water from publick fountains to
their houfes and gardens, to be cut off; and demolifhed
all fuch buildings as jutted out into the flreets. He
very much beat down the price of publick works, and
farmed out the publick revenues at an exceffive price ;
whereby he brought upon himfelf the hatred of vaft
numbers of people : fo that Titus Flaminius, and thofe
of his party, exclaimed againfl him, and caufed to be
vacated in the fenate the contracts he had made for re-
pairing the temples and publick buildings, as detrimen-
tal to the publick ; and they incited the mod bold and
factious of the tribunes to accufe him to the people,
and fine him two talents. They likewife very much
oppofed him in his defign of building a hall at me pub-

VOL. IJ. F f lick

45 o ^ LIFE of

lick charge below the fenate-houfe ; which however he
fmifhed, and called it the Porcian Hall.

It appears, neverthelefs, that the common people high-
ly approved his conduct ; for they erected a ftatue to him
in the temple of Health, putting an infcription at the
bottom, not of his battles, victories, or triumph, but this
that follows : " To the honour of Cato the Cenfor, who by
" his good difcipline and order reclaimed the Roman com-
"mon wealth, when thepublick licentioufnefshad brought
" it into a declining and dangerous ftate."

However, before this ftatue was erected inhonour of him,
he ufed to laugh at thofe who valued and fought after fuch
honours, faying, "that they were not aware that theyglo-
"ried in the workmanfhip of founders, flatuaries,and pain-
" ters ; and that for his part, he only gloried in leaving a
"beautiful image of himfelf engraven in the breads of his
" fellow-citizens." And to fuch as exprefled their furprize,
that fo many obfcure peribns mould have ftatues, and that
he ihould have none, he ufed to fay, " I had rather it mould
*' be afked, why no ftatue has been erected to Cato, than
" why there has ?" And he would by no means allow
that a good citizen mould admit of any commendations,

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