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Pompey, Cato, and the Governance of the Roman Empire$
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Kit Morrell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755142.001.0001

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Cato, Stoicism, and the provinces

Cato, Stoicism, and the provinces

(p.98) 3 Cato, Stoicism, and the provinces
Pompey, Cato, and the Governance of the Roman Empire

Kit Morrell

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for a direct connection between Marcus Cato’s Stoic philosophy and his political thinking. In particular, Cato’s Stoic concept of the equality of human beings imposed standards of conduct towards enemies and allies that sometimes went beyond Roman mores, reflected in his restrictive attitude to triumphs and his proposal that Julius Caesar should be handed over to the German tribes. At the centre of the chapter is an analysis of Cato’s letter to Cicero as a Stoic document which highlights the inseparability of provinces and res publica in Cato’s thought. Cato’s Cyprus mission in 58–56 affords a case study of how he applied his ethical principles in practice, which Cato himself actively promoted as an example for others. A discussion of the ‘Egyptian question’ in the 50s demonstrates the interest of Cato and his friends in major foreign policy questions.

Keywords:   Marcus Porcius Cato ‘Uticensis’, Stoicism, Philosophy, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cyprus, Egypt, Exempla

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