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Furius Venator

Did Cato Destroy The Republic?

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Cato comited suicide on 13 april 46 BC. Cleopatra suicided at 9 august 30 BC.

So, Cato died 16 years before the establishment of the empire. He was important for one of the civil wars, not for a crisis that started with Marius and ended with the nephew of his nephew, Octavian.

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So, Cato died 16 years before the establishment of the empire. He was important for one of the civil wars, not for a crisis that started with Marius and ended with the nephew of his nephew, Octavian.

 

So you believe the Republic exsisted up to Octavians victory at Actium ?

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I don't believe in clear cut periodizations, but I think, what it's usually accepted, that the period of the civil wars belongs to the Republic period.

So, yes Actium it's the begining of the principate.

Logic it will be to consider Philippi as the end of the Republic, the moment when the last republicans died or maybe the first triumvirate, when a small oligarhy ruled, but if we consider that the principate it's a monarchy then it must be a sole ruler who transmits his power herditary. And this happened only after the death of Marcus Antonius.

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Agreed. It was only after Augustus became uncontested that it truly became the Principate. Before then, it was still the Republic.

 

It was a Dictatorship before a principate - and I no one thinks the assasins "restored the republic".

 

The premise of the thread is that when Caesar became dictator for life, the republic was shattered, and it asks - was it Catos stubborn refusal to compromise that let things get to that point.

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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.

 

Speaking of Cato the elder, he was a very strict, conservative man who saw the declining morals that were prevalent in Rome, in 161 BC itself during the consulship of Marcus Valerius Messalla.

 

In one important speech in the senate, he crticized the lax morals of the Roman elite, who were bidding up prices on everything, from young boys who were auctioned off for exorbitant sums of money to jars of caviar, which were sold for as much as three hundred drachmas. There was a lot of feasting and banqueting in Rome, as it had become quite rich, with the conquest of Greece and parts of Macedonia after the defeat of Perseus in the Third Macedonian War. There were a number of rapacious nobles in Rome, as the worst was to come later, when the city of Corinth was sacked and looted by Mummius, purely to further the business interests of the Roman knights, who had become another powerful force in Rome, apart from its generals, who were later to decide the fate of the Republic.

 

Cato blamed Greece to a large part for the decline in morals, believing that their laxity, particularly in sexual matters, from hetaerae or learned courtesans to boys who were sold in Rome, contributed to the prevalent culture at the time. First, it was the Etruscans who were blamed for leading Romans down a ruinous moral path, then the Greeks. I personally think that this smacks of total hypocrisy as ultimately, they were all grown men and were probably looking for scapegoats to blame, to account for their own moral lapses. Interestingly, in that year, a lex Fannia was passed in the senate, curbing private expenditure and sponsored by Cato the elder.

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It was a Dictatorship before a principate - and I no one thinks the assasins "restored the republic".

 

The premise of the thread is that when Caesar became dictator for life, the republic was shattered, and it asks - was it Catos stubborn refusal to compromise that let things get to that point.

The dictatorship was still part of the Republic, though. Sulla was dictator, still a republic, even Cincinnatus was dictator, but still it was a republic. The Republic had provisions for dictatorship. What was so remarkable about Augustus was that though he held only legal titles, he held nearly all of them at once - unprecedented.

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Was there a precedent for being appointed dictator for life?

 

No, it was unprecedented.

 

Call me crazy O Valerius - but when a guy becomes Dictator for life - I'd call the state a Dictatorship. It doesn't really matter if the Dictator still calls it a Republic.

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Ofcourse, it was a dictatorship much before the official start of the Principate. As Germanicus already mentioned, you can't have a Republic with a Dictator for life running it. By that time Caesar was the man, he did as he pleased, and most of the traditions and laws of the Republic went out of the window.

Edited by tflex

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I'm probably being goaded, but: This whole thread is simply absurd. The sole accusation against Cato is that he threatened to bring a legal case against Caesar. So what? Lots of people were hauled into court to justify their actions. Caesar should have shown up and defended himself instead of hiding behind his legions like a coward.

 

Was there a precedent for being appointed dictator for life?

 

NO. In fact, as Cicero complained, Caesar's cronies padded the consular list with 'dictators' in order to make Caesar's power-grab appear less rotten than it really was. It still stunk--until the liberators did the right thing.

 

[i personally think that this [the elder Cato's criticism of Greek culture] smacks of total hypocrisy as ultimately, they were all grown men and were probably looking for scapegoats to blame, to account for their own moral lapses. Interestingly, in that year, a lex Fannia was passed in the senate, curbing private expenditure and sponsored by Cato the elder.

 

I agree.

 

The premise of the thread is that when Caesar became dictator for life, the republic was shattered, and it asks - was it Catos stubborn refusal to compromise that let things get to that point.

 

No, it wasn't. Cato was just one vote in the senate, and the vast majority of senators voted for compromise. Cato had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that that compromise never came to fruition.

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I'm probably being goaded, but: This whole thread is simply absurd. The sole accusation against Cato is that he threatened to bring a legal case against Caesar. So what? Lots of people were hauled into court to justify their actions. Caesar should have shown up and defended himself instead of hiding behind his legions like a coward.

 

I disagree, many of Cato's actions were personal and damaged any chance of comprimise being made to save the Republic. Cato's refusal to approve Caesar's agrarian laws, showed that he let his personal hatred for Caesar affect his judgement as a politician. I guess he never recovered from Caesar taking it to his sister. I thought Cato subscribed to a Stoic philosiphy; on the contrary I think many of his actions in the last 20 years of his life were based on raw emotions, which ultimately ruined any chance of finding a midpoint with Caesar.

Edited by tflex

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Was there a precedent for being appointed dictator for life?

 

No, it was unprecedented.

 

Call me crazy O Valerius - but when a guy becomes Dictator for life - I'd call the state a Dictatorship. It doesn't really matter if the Dictator still calls it a Republic.

What do you think Sulla had? Because he gave it up a couple years before he died doesn't mean that he didn't have the power to be dictator until he died. If that's the case, then the "Republic" fell decades before Caesar, however absurd that might be.

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Was there a precedent for being appointed dictator for life?

 

No, it was unprecedented.

 

Call me crazy O Valerius - but when a guy becomes Dictator for life - I'd call the state a Dictatorship. It doesn't really matter if the Dictator still calls it a Republic.

What do you think Sulla had? Because he gave it up a couple years before he died doesn't mean that he didn't have the power to be dictator until he died. If that's the case, then the "Republic" fell decades before Caesar, however absurd that might be.

 

 

Here's what wiki says about it:

 

"The precise date in which the Roman Republic changed into the Roman Empire is a matter of interpretation, with the dates of Julius Caesar's appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the Battle of Actium (September 2, 31 BC), and the date which the Roman Senate granted Octavian the title "Augustus" (January 16, 27 BC), being some of the common choices." wikipedia

Edited by tflex

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