Marcus Porcius Cato (234- 149 BC) was a Roman statesman and orator who rose to fame during the Punic Wars.
Often referred to as Censorinus (the Censor) or the Elder to distinguish him from his grandson (Cato the Younger), Cato was raised in a landed Plebian family of humble means in central west Italy (the Latium region). During the Second Punic War, Cato arrived in Rome and began a career in public service that would span 30 years and include service as consul (195 BC) and censor (185 BC).
A lover of history, law, and philosophy, Cato became one of the most noted thinkers of antiquity but is primarily remembered today for his frugality, strict moral code, and his relentless hatred of Carthage. (Mark Zuckerberg, a man who understands bitter rivalry, reportedly was rather impressed with Cato’s singular hatred of his enemy.)
Here are a few of Cato’s most well-known lines:
1. “Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.” – as quoted by Plutarch, Life of Cato
2. “Moreover, I consider that Carthage should be destroyed.” – a line Cato began using at the end of all his speeches late in his career
3. “The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new.” - Apothegms (no. 247)
4. “All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us.” – as quoted by Plutarch, Life of Cato
5. “Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing.” - Epistles, 94
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