The Ancient Library

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On this page: Catalepton – Catapulta – Cathedra – Cato – Catreus



which was also 60 feet wide, led only from the prcetorium and the forum in front of it to the porta prastoria, as at this time the qucestorium was situated between theporta decumana and the prcetorium. The general superintendence of the arrangements was, during the imperial period, in the hands of the proefectus castrOrum. (See pr^efectds.)

Cataleptdn [not Catalecta, but = Gr. Kata-lepton = "on a small scale "]. The title of a collection of short poems attributed in anti­quity to Vergil. (See vergil.)

Catapnlta. See artillery.

Cathedra (Gr. Kathedra). See chairs.

Cato (Marcus Porcius). The earliest im­portant representative of Latin prose, and an ardent champion of Roman national feel­ing in life as in literature. He was born 234 b.c., at Tusculum, and passed his youth in a laborious life in the country. At the age of seventeen he entered the army, and fought with distinction in the Hannibalic war in Italy, Sicily and Africa. He was elected qusegtor in 204, sedile in 199, and prsetor in 198 b.c., when he administered the province of Sardinia. He attained the consulship in b.c. 195. As proconsul he was so successful in the measures he adopted for the subjugation of the province of Spain, that he was honoured with a triumph on his return. Four years later, in the capa­city of llg&tus, he dealt the decisive stroke which gave the Romans the victory over the troops of king AntI8chus at Ther-mSpylse. In 184 he was elected censor, and administered his office with such strict­ness that he received the cognomen of Censorius. He was the enemy of all inno­vations, especially of the Greek influence which was making itself felt at Rome. Everything which he thought endangered the ancient Roman discipline, he met with unwearied opposition, regardless of any un­popularity he might incur. He is said to have been prosecuted forty-four times, and to have been always acquitted. The occa­sions on which he himself appeared as prosecutor were even more numerous.

Even in extreme old age he retained the vigour of his intellect, and was as active as before in politics and literature. He is said to have been an old man when he made his first acquaintance with Greek literature. He died 149 B.C., in his eighty-sixth year. [See Livy xxxix 40.]

Cato was the first writer who composed a history of Rome in Latin, and who pub­lished any considerable number of his own speeches. His chief work was the Orlghies,

or seven books of Italian and Roman history. The title Origines, or "Early History," applied properly only to the first three books, which contained the story of the kings, and traced the rise of the various cities of Italy. But it was afterwards ex­tended to the whole work, which included the history of Rome down to B.C. 151. In the narrative of his own achievements he inserted his own speeches. From early manhood he displayed great energy as an orator. More than 150 of his speeches were known to Cicero, who speaks with respect of his oratorical performances. The titles, and some fragments of eighty of his orations have survived.

In the form of maxims addressed to his son (Prcecepta ad Fllium} he drew a com­prehensive sketch of everything which, in his opinion, was useful for a young man to know if he was to be a vir bonus. He also put together in verse some rules for every-day conduct (Carmen De MOrtbus). The only work of Cato which has come down to us in anything like completeness is his treatise on agriculture (De Re Rustica), though even this we do not possess in its original shape. This was intended as a manual for the private use of one Manlius, and had reference to a particular estate belonging to him. One part is written sys-matically, the other is a miscellaneous col­lection of various rules. There is also a collection of 146 proverbs, each in a couple of hexameters, which bears the name of Cato. But this belongs to the later Empire, though it is probably not later than the end of the 4th century A.D. This little book was a well known manual all through the Middle Ages, and was widely circulated in translations.

Catrens (Gr. Katreus). In Greek mytho­logy a king of Crete, the son of Minos and of Paslphae. An oracle had prophesied that he would fall by the hand of one of his own chil­dren. He accordingly put his daughters, Aerope and ClymSne, into the hands of Nau-plius, who was to sell them into a foreign country; his sonAlthaemSnes,meanwhile,mi­grated to Rhodes with his sister ApemSsyne. His sister, who had been led astray by Hermes, he killed with a blow of his foot, and slew his aged father, who had come to put into his hands the government of Crete, mis­taking him for a pirate. Clymene became the wife of Nauplius, and the mother of Palamedes and (Eax. Aerope married Atreus, and bore him two sons, Agamem­non and Menelaiis; but was finally thrown

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.