Cato: Patriot or Tyrant

Marcius Portius Cato, commonly referred to as Cato the Elder or Cato the Sensor was definitely a significant figure in Roman History during the 2nd and 1stCenturies B.C.However, his role remains ambiguous; was he a man of the people, a power hungry tyrant or just a stubborn politician who liked to antagonize people more powerful than he was.He is usually remembered for being very forward, pushy and blunt in his political dealings.History judges him by his unforgiving policy he pushed through the Senate regarding Carthage and it's people, which ultimately led to the brutal third Punic War.However his is actions throughout his political career do more to support a man who was greatly concerned for the overall well-being of Ancient Rome.
Marcus Portius Cato was born a Roman Citizen in 234 B.C. to a moderately wealthy family.He did not descend from the Aristocracy, and therefore he was considered a "novus homo" or a new man.At age seventeen he enlisted in the Roman Army to help fight in the 2nd of the Punic Wars with Carthage and it's genius General, Hannibal who was laying waste to the Armies of the Roman Republic.While he served in the Army he moved up in the ranks quite quickly. In 214 B.C. he was promoted to military tribune under the command of such leaders as Fabius Maximus and Marcellus.He continued to serve under Claudius Nero thereafter.He was not a genius characterized by Hannibal but he was an effective military leader.This gave him a basis to work from in his aspirations for political power.
204 B.C. marked the beginning of his political career when he became a Quaestor.Following this office he was sent to Sardinia to administer this province as governor.199 B.C. he was elected a Plebian Aidele; this led to his consulship in 195 B.C., and thus his membership in the Roman Senate.


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