Cato the Elder and Julius Caesar Essay

Cato the Elder and Julius Caesar Essay

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The Roman Republic's most memorable men are Cato the Elder and Julius Caesar. Each man gained unfathomable power over the greatest nation of the world for its time. Our world today continues to feel the affects of Caesar, who developed the modern day calendar system (Suet. Caesar, 40). Both men changed Rome and added to its rich and nobel history. Ancient biographers, Plutarch and Suetonius, give insightful glimpses into to the lives of Cato and Caesar, and what formed them into history makers. Through careful analysis of Cato and Caesar's biographies, it becomes apparent that they shared similar skills and values that vaulted them to the top of Roman society. However, they were strikingly different in how they used their skills and lived their lives. Although the lives of Cato and Caesar are similar in many respects, the biographies of Plutarch and Suetonius reveal that personality and family background are the main causes for their differences.

Commonalities between Cato and Caesar abound in Suetonius and Plutarch's biographies. The most apparent similarity is physical appearance and ability. Cato followed a sober mode of living and trained hard to attain “ a tough constitution and a body which was as strong as it was healthy” (P1). In battle Cato was a “formidable fighter, who stood his ground resolutely and and confronted his opponents with a ferocious expression “ (P1). Caesar was also strong in body and battle. He was “tall fair and well built,” and he was “a most skillful swordsman and horseman, and showed surprising powers of endurance” (s45,57). The enormous number of victories left by Caesar are testimony to his skill as general and fighter. Similarity in strength is only one part of dom...

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...ter, Julia, like a game piece and married her to pompey to form an alliance. Caesar's personality has clearly shown through in these examples of marriage and offspring. On the other hand, Cato views his offspring and marriage in a much different light.. Due to his sense of hard work and care for family, Cato believes strongly that if he puts effort into his son's education he will be rewarded with a son to be proud of. This turns out to be true because Cato receives a letter from his son's commander, in which his son is praised “in the highest terms for his gallantry”

(plu. 20). Also, Cato only had one wife at a time, and only remarried after his first wife died (plu. 24). Compared to Caesar, Cato's moral nature is clearly shining through. Personality and character traits clearly show the how difference arise within the context of marriage and offspring.

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