Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

Furius Venator

Did Cato Destroy The Republic?

Recommended Posts

More generally, as a pleb from an Italian familiy (from the Sabine territory), Cato was not a natural ally of the Sullan ranks, who first paid attention to Cato for his energy in breaking up the cartel controlling the treasury, which earned him a kind of popularity that the old guard (like Catullus) could respect. When they asked him to run for tribune, however, Cato refused them, only deciding to run once he learned that a lackey of Pompey was to run for the office.

 

Catullus is a poet. ;) Mightn't you be referring to Catulus?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Catullus is a poet. Mightn't you be referring to Catulus?

 

Someone - give the girl a prize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It strikes me all the time when i research various aspects of history; there are so many amazing events that have occurred, or were sparked, by a person or people who thought they were acting for the greater good; for what they thought was right.

 

In my opinion, Cato didn't destroy the Republic. Yes, he may have gone to some interesting lengths throughout his remarkable life, and yes, he could be construed as the villain of the piece (especially to readers of Colleen McCullough's "Caesar" :P), but as has been said, he acted on principle; on what he believed was right.

 

I had a teacher who said that the highest level of thinking can be defined as standing by what one believes in, no matter what, if one thinks it is right. Who has the right to say that what one says is not necessarily right? Perspective is a very strong thing, and causes division when not realised.

 

Caesar acted for what he thought was right (although, as i'm sure M. Porcius Cato shall say, he also had other motivations), and Cato acted as he thought right. It can be said that both had their fair share in destroying the republic, but no one person (in my opinion) can be given the dubious honour of bringing down an entire system.

Edited by Tobias

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It can be said that both had their fair share in destroying the republic, but no one person (in my opinion) can be given the dubious honour of bringing down an entire system.

 

As I already explained in the other thread, first and foremost you have to blame the exclusionary system of the Republic, second the Patricians and powerful families who had the power and ample time to modify the system before things went out of control, and third ambitious commanders who took advantage of the weakenend system, In that order.

Edited by tflex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice post Tobias

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if Cato did not pose the immient threat of prosecution on trumped up charges then Caesar would nto haev marched on Rome, he would have come back, beocme consul for hte 2nd time and then who knows what, done cato's wife again?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tobias, I think I would tend to agree with what you've said and my view is similar, in that there were many forces that were responsible for the downfall of the Republic and it would be incorrect to lay the blame at the door of a single individual or even several, no matter how influential those persons were in contributing to its downfall.

 

First, the Republic itself, for many years, was in a state of decay and despite reform efforts by Sulla and later, by Caesar, to restore the Republic to its former glory, there were too many divisive forces within the senate and its leadership.

 

The first signs were evident during the time of the Gracchi brothers, when land reforms proved too unpopular with the senate, due to the re-distribution of wealth that was being proposed. Rome had expanded too fast and was bringing in a lot of wealth, too much in fact, for the fragile Republican structure that depended on the honesty of men and called for selflessness in the way business was conducted in the senate.

 

Second, the transfer of power from the senate to the generals who brought Rome her victories and her glory, caused a real rift in the structure, with factions forming to support this general or the other as everyone soon realized that the real power lay with those who commanded the legions.

 

In time, the senate became no longer a driving force but a battleground for these various factions with two or three individuals splitting the overall governance and this was the reason for the Republic's downfall. The writing was on the wall for many years and if not Caesar, it would have been Pompey or someone else who would want to have complete control over Rome. Civil war was inevitable in the circumstances that had been created and many in the senate looked for strong leadership to take control over various matters that were threatening Rome - from grain supplies, to pirates, to barbarian migrations that were always dangerous and very threatening to Rome. There was also widespread corruption and constant fighting between the various factions within the senate, with little or no unity driving any of the various legislative measures that were proposed, as someone would always bribe one of the tribunes to veto, more out of spite for the man proposing the legislation than the actual proposal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Skarr, that's pretty much how i feel, it's just difficult to put feelings down into words sometimes ;)

 

I believe it comes back to the ancient fact; No matter what sort of system there is in place, it will not work for someone, or someone will want to bring it down. The fact is that humankind is so diverse that a system cannot be customised to fit every single person. No-one is perfect, and not all are necessarily good at heart.

Edited by Tobias

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cato certainly holds a large share of the burden of responsibility, but it'd be an oversimplification to say that he destroyed the Republic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....Yes, he may have gone to some interesting lengths throughout his remarkable life,...but as has been said, he acted on principle; on what he believed was right.

IMO yes, he is responsible(among others). Is sticking to your guns, adopting a policy of no compromise despite Mos Maiorum indicating otherwise, and completely ignoring the social preassures that were forcing change commendable? I think not. Extremism should be recognized for what it is and not disguised with words like "Principle", "Incorruptable", "Moral" etc... Cato is the opitome oppression.

Edited by P.Clodius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...but as has been said, he acted on principle; on what he believed was right.

 

Cato also had a massive ego and was blindly jealous of Caesar. He prefered to kill himslef than live under Caesar, that has nothing to do with principle or morality, it has to do with Cato's air inflated ego. The guy didn't even know how to stab himself, he's not only immoral but a fool.

Edited by tflex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cato died long before the "fall of the Republic". How could he be responsible for it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cato died long before the "fall of the Republic". How could he be responsible for it?

Alrighty then! You're probably thinking of Cato the Elder. We're talking of Cato the Younger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cato died long before the "fall of the Republic". How could he be responsible for it?

 

 

He didn't die long before, just a little before. His stubborness had a huge impact on the fall of the Republic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×