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Caesar and letter

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Cato the Younger
Cato the Younger

In 63 BCE a Senate meeting took place regarding the Catiline conspiracy. It was attended by all prominent politicians of Rome, including Julius Caesar and Marcus Portius Cato, called Cato the Younger.

At one point, Julius Caesar was brought a letter from outside. Many senators suspected an ambitious politician of participating in the conspiracy; Cato the Yougher decided to take advantage of the situation. He raised the raban claiming that Caesar had just received information from the enemies of the state. Caesar, to everyone’s surprise, gave Cato a letter with a smile on his face, asking him to read it aloud.

As it turned out, the letter’s sender was Servilia, Cato’s half-sister and Caesar’s long-time lover (some sources even say that her son, Brutus, was the son of Caesar), and the content had love sentences. Caesar knew that Cato would recognize his sister’s letter and would want to avoid a scandal. According to Plutarch, Cato’s reaction was firm:

[…] he threw it to Caesar, saying, “Take it, thou sot,” and then resumed his speech.

Plutarch, Cato, 24

  • Koper Sławomir, Miłość i polityka. Kobiety świata antycznego, Warszawa 1997
  • Plutarch, Cato, 24

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