Cato (the censor)

(Marcus Priscus Cato)

234–149 BC

siege of carthage
Marcus Priscus, surnamed Cato, was an upright and eminent Roman statesman who was most influential between the second and third Punic Wars. He fought in the Second Punic War, and held various offices including the consulship before being elected censor in 184 B.C.. He was a great champion of the old Roman virtues of simplicity, honesty, courage, and patriotism and he opposed the increasing sophistication and decadence that had crept into Roman society, mostly due to Greek influence. He worked hard to rebuild Rome after the ravages of the Punic War, undertaking many building projects, and improving sewer systems and aqueducts. He lived very frugally and was highly industrious. He wrote many influential books, (some of which are now lost), including a history of Rome, a treatise on agriculture, and many essays on various topics.

Cato is also renowned for his utter hatred of Carthage. For many years, he ended every public speech with the phrase "delenda carthago est", meaning "Carthage must be destroyed."

Key events during the life of Cato the Elder:

212 BC
Fought in Second Punic War against Carthage.
195 BC
Elected consul.
184 BC
Elected censor. Sought to restrict the seats in the Senate to honorable and worthy men.
149 BC

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Delenda est Carthago  in  Thirty More Famous Stories Retold  by  James Baldwin
Cato the Stern  in  Tales of the Romans: The Children's Plutarch  by  F. J. Gould
Cato the Censor  in  Famous Men of Rome  by  John H. Haaren & A. B. Poland
Marcus Cato  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman
Hatred of Cato for Carthage  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Fate of Carthage  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris
Spain a Roman Province  in  Spain: A History for Young Readers  by  Frederick A. Ober

Short Biography
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