But when Ariminum was occupied1
and Caesar was reported to be marching against the city with an army, then all eyes were turned upon Cato, both those of the common people and those of Pompey as well; they realised that he alone had from the outset foreseen, and first openly foretold, the designs of Caesar.
Cato therefore said:
‘Nay, men, if any of you had heeded what I was ever foretelling and advising, ye would now neither be fearing a single man nor putting your hopes in a single man.’ Pompey acknowledged that Cato had spoken more like a prophet, while he himself had acted too much like a friend. Cato then advised the senate to put affairs into the hands of Pompey alone; for the same men who caused great evils, he said, should put a stop to them.
Pompey, however, who had no forces in readiness, and saw that those which he was then enrolling were without zeal, forsook Rome; and Cato, who had determined to follow him and share his exile, sent his younger son to Munatius in Bruttium for safe keeping, but kept his elder son with himself. And since his household and his daughters needed someone to look after them, he took to wife again Marcia, now a widow with great wealth; for Hortensius, on his death,2
had left her his heir.
It was with reference to this that Caesar heaped most abuse upon Cato,3
charging him with avarice and with trafficking in marriage.
‘For why,’ said Caesar,
‘should Cato give up his wife if he wanted her, or why, if he did not want her, should he take her back again? Unless it was true that the woman was at the first set as a bait for Hortensius, and lent by Cato when she was young that he might take her back when she was rich.’ To these charges, however, the well-known verses of Euripides4
apply very well:—
First, then, the things not to be named; for in that class
I reckon, Heracles, all cowardice in thee;
for to charge Cato with a sordid love of gain is like reproaching Heracles with cowardice. But whether on other grounds, perhaps, the marriage was improper, were matter for investigation. For no sooner had Cato espoused Marcia than he committed to her care his household and his daughters, and set out himself in pursuit of Pompey.