previous next

[99] When he had read the book through and when he thought that those who were stationed at the doors were asleep, he stabbed himself under the breast. His intestines protruded and the attendants heard a groan and rushed in. Physicians replaced his bowels, which were still uninjured, in his body, and after sewing up the wound put a bandage around it. When Cato came to himself he dissembled again. Although he blamed himself for the insufficiency of the wound, he expressed thanks to those who had saved him and said that he only needed sleep. The attendants then retired, taking the sword with them, and closed the door, thinking that he had become quiet. When Cato thought that they were asleep, he tore off the bandage with his hands without making any noise, opened the suture of the wound, enlarged it with his nails like a wild beast, plunged his fingers into his stomach, and tore out his entrails until he died, being then about fifty years of age. He was considered the most steadfast of all men in upholding any opinion that he had once espoused and in adhering to justice, rectitude, and morality, not as a matter of custom merely, but rather from high-souled considerations. He had married Marcia, the daughter of Philippus, when she was a virgin. He was extremely fond of her and had had children by her. Nevertheless, he gave her to Hortensius, one of his friends, -- who desired to have children but was married to a barren wife, -- until she bore a child to him also, when Cato took her back to his own house as though he had merely loaned her.1 Such a man was Cato. The Uticans gave him a magnificent funeral. Cæsar said
B.C. 47
that Cato had envied him the opportunity for a deed of honor,2 but when Cicero pronounced an encomium on him which he styled the Cato, Cæsar wrote an answer to it which he called the Anti-Cato.

1 Plutarch gives a longer account of this affair, showing that it was attended by formalities in accord with Roman law. Marcia's father was consulted, but her own consent seems not to have been needed. The criticism made upon it by Cæsar in his Anti-Cato was not based upon moral considerations. He pointed to the fact that Hortensius, who was very wealthy, left his estate to Marcia in his will, and that Cato took her back as a rich widow, implying that it was a money--making transaction on his part.

2 That is, an opportunity to pardon him. According to Plutarch Cæsar said: " O Cato, I envy thee thy death because thou did'st envy me my safety."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
47 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: