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Cato the Younger

(95 - 46 BCE)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Marcus Porcius Cato

Marcus Porcius Cato was born as Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis in November 95 BCE in Rome. He was called the Cato Minor (“the Younger”) or Cato Uticensis, to distinguish him from the Cato the Elder, who was his great grandfather. He was the son of Marcus Porcius Cato. His mother was Livia Drusa. Cato was a Roman politician and philosopher. He imitated the way he was Cato the Elder, which he was ideal for. He belonged to the Stoics, living in harmony with integrity and integrity.

Cato’s parents died when he was young. His uncle Marcus Livius Drusus took care of him. Persistence and a desire to pursue a goal were manifested in Cato at an early age. Sarpedon, his guardian, pointed out that Cato was an extremely obedient child who was hard to convince. But then it was equally difficult to change his view.

The Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla liked to talk to the young Cato and his brother Caepio. Often, Sulla demanded the young man’s presence, even if he openly and often critically assessed his policy.

In 72 BCE Cato volunteered to fight the Spartacus insurgents. He probably did so to support his brother Caepio, who served as a military tribune in the consular army. In 67 BCE he assumed the post of military tribune in Macedonia and at the age of 28, he headed the legion. He was strict and demanded discipline from his soldiers; at the same time, however, he was adored by his pupils. At the end of his service in Macedonia, Cato went on a private journey through the Roman provinces in the Middle East.

In 65 BCE Cato took the office of quaestor, which prompted him to study tax law. As a senator, he was determined and meticulous. He never left the board meeting and publicly criticized anyone who had done so once. From the beginning of his senate career, he was associated with the Optimates party, a conservative faction of the Senate. Cato the Younger was one of the leaders of the Senate party and an uncompromising supporter of the republic and ancient Roman customs. He tried, regardless of the course of history, to restore ancient Roman virtues and customs. In his senate speeches, he often used the method of parliamentary obstruction, not wanting to allow political opponents to speak.

In 54 BCE Cato took the office of praetor. In 51 BCE he applied for the office of consul, but unsuccessfully. As a tribune, his voice determined the death of members of the Catilinarian conspiracy in 63 BCE.

When in 54 BCE broke up the triumvirate of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey, Cato took the side of Pompey in the fight against Caesar, as a representative of the former republic. After Pompey’s defeat, at Farsalos (48 BCE) found himself in North Africa, taking command to defend the city of Utyki. He took part in the defeat at Thapsus in 46 BCE, where he co-commanded Senate forces.

Cato’s suicide. The picture is the work of an unknown author. In the picture, we see the Roman Senator Cato the Younger who, after Caesar’s siege of Carthage, committed suicide by sticking the dagger in the chest and tearing the wound with his hands. Apparently, Cato did not want to witness the fall of the republic.

He committed suicide in Utica in 46 BCE, not wanting to witness the fall of the republic. Before the suicide, he was to say, “Now, I am my own master”.
The figure of Cato in the following years was idealized by the pro-republican stoics of the early empire.

Marriages and offspring

  • unknown yearAemilia Lepida, engaged, then the engagement was cancelled;
  • around 73 BCEAtilia (divorce),
    daughter of Atilius Serranus;

    • Porcia, she married Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus; then married Marcus Junius Brutus;
    • Marcus Porcius Cato, later killed at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE.
  • 63 BCEMarcia.
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Kronika starożytnego Rzymu, Warszawa 1994
  • Piegdoń Maciej, Krassus. Polityk niespełnionych ambicji, Kraków 2011

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