or CATO, VE'TTIUS, one of the Italian generals in the Marsic war, B. C. 90.
He defeated the consul L. Julius Caesar, and then advanced against Aesernia, which was obliged to surrender through failure of provisions.
He also defeated the other consul, P. Rutilius Lupus, who fell in the battle (Appian, App. BC 1.40
). Cicero speaks of an interview at which he was present, between Vettius and Cn. Pompey (Phil.
12.11); and it is therefore not improbable that the P. Ventidius, who is said by Appian to have been one of the Italian generals that defeated the army of Cn. Pompey, is the same person as the subject of this article. (Appian, App. BC 1.47
, with the note of Schweigh.) We learn from Seneca (de Benef.
3.23), that Vettius was taken prisoner, and was stabbed to death by his own slave as he was being dragged before the Roman general, and that he was thus delivered from the ignominy and punishment that awaited him.
There is some difficulty respecting the orthography of the cognomen of Vettius. Appian calls him Cato,
and the Insteius Cato, mentioned by Velleius Paterculus (2.16) as one of the Italian generals in this war, is probably the same as this Vettius.
In the best MSS. of Cicero (l.c.
), however, we find Scato,
which is probably the correct form, since Scato
occurs as a Marsic cognomen in the oration " Pro Domo" (100.44), and it was natural enough that the obscure name of Scato should be changed into the celebrated one of Cato.
The praenomen of Vettius is also given differently. In Cicero (l.c.
) it is Publius ;
in Eutropius (5.3
), Titus ;
in Seneca (l.c.
), Caius :
the first of these is probably the most correct.