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When Cato had resumed his seat, all the senators of consular dignity, and a great part of the rest,1 applauded his opinion, and extolled his firmness of mind to the skies. With mutual reproaches, they accused one another of timidity, while Cato was regarded as the greatest and noblest of men; and a decree of the senate was made as he had advised.

After reading and hearing of the many glorious achievements which the Roman people had performed at home and in the field, by sea as well as by land, I happened to be led to consider what had been the great foundation of such illustrious deeds. I knew that the Romans had frequently, with small bodies of men, encountered vast armies of the enemy; I was aware that they had carried on wars2 with limited forces against powerful sovereigns; that they had often sustained, too, the violence of adverse fortune; yet that, while the Greeks excelled them in eloquence, the Gauls surpassed them in military glory. After much reflection, I felt convinced that the eminent virtue of a few citizens had been the cause of all these successes; and hence it had happened that poverty had triumphed over riches, and a few over a multitude. And even in later times, when the state had become corrupted by luxury and indolence, the republic still supported itself, by its own strength, under the misconduct of its generals and magistrates; when, as if the parent stock were exhausted,3 there was certainly not produced at Rome, for many years, a single citizen of eminent ability. Within my recollection, however, there arose two men of remarkable powers, though of very different character, Marcus Cato and Caius Cæsar, whom, since the subject has brought them before me, it is not my intention to pass in silence, but to describe, to the best of my ability, the disposition and manners of each.

1 LIII. All the senators of consular dignity, and a great part of the rest] “Consulares omnes, itemque senatús magna pars.” “"As the consulars were senators, the reader would perhaps expect Sallust to have said reliqui senatûs, but itemque is equivalent to et præter eos."” Dietsch.

2 That they had carried on wars] “Bella gesta.” That wars had been carried on by them.

3 As if the parent stock were exhausted] “Sicuti effæta parentum.” This is the reading of Cortius, which he endeavors to explain thus: "Ac sicuti effæta parens, inter parentes, sese habere solet, ut nullos amplius liberas proferat, sic Roma sese habuit, ubi multis tempestatibus nemo virtute magnus fuit." "Est," he adds, "or solet esse, or sese habere solet, may very well be understood from the fuit which follows." But all this only serves to show what a critic may find to say in defense of a reading to which he is determined to adhere. All the MSS., indeed, have parentum, except one, which has parente. Dietsch thinks that some word has been lost between effæta and parentum, and proposes to read sicuti effæta ætate parentum, with the sense, as if the age of the parents were too much exhausted to produce strong children. Kritzius, from a suggestion of Cortius (or rather of his predecessor, Rupertus), reads effætæ parentum (the effætæ agreeing with Romæ which follows), considering the sense to be the same as effætæ parentis--as divina dearum for divina dea, etc. Gerlach retains the reading of Cortius, and adopts his explanation (4to. ed., 1827), but says that the explicatio may seem durior, and that it is doubtful whether we ought not to have recourse to the effæta parente of the old critics. Assuredly if we retain parentum, effætæ is the only reading that we can well put with it. We may compare with it loca nuda gignentium, (Jug. c. 79), i.e. "places bare of objects producing anything." Gronovius knew not what to do with the passage, called it locus intellectus nemini, and at last decided on understanding virtute with effætæ parentum, which, pace tanti viri, and although Allen has followed him, is little better than folly. The concurrence of the majority of manuscripts in giving parentum makes the scholar unwilling to set it aside. However, as no one has explained it satisfactorily even to himself, I have thought it better, with Dietsch, to regard it a scriptura non ferenda, and to acquiesce, with Glareanus, Rivius, Burnouf, and the Bipont edition, in the reading effætâ parente.

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