Cato’s Opposition to Greek

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship Vol. 1:

“Greek influence was stoutly resisted by the elder Cato (234-149), and it was probably at his instance that the Greek philosophers and rhetoricians were expelled from Rome in 161. The philosophers returned in 155 in the persons of the Academic Carneades, the Peripatetic Critolaus, and the Stoic Diogenes, who aroused the interest of the young Romans, and the indignation of the aged Cato, by the sophistry of the arguments with which they defended the seizure of Oropus by Athens (Plut. Cato, i 22). In his old age Cato warned his son against Greek physicians and also against Greek literature, adding that the latter was worthy of inspection but not of study (Plin. X. H. xxix 14). He is said to have learnt Greek late in life (Cic. De Sen. 26), and to have derived some advantage, as an orator, from the reading of Thucydides and still more from that of Demosthenes; but Plutarch, in recording this tradition, is careful to add that, even as a writer, Cato showed the influence of Greek literature, and that many of his apophthegms were translated from Greek (Cato i 2). Toward the end of his days, as he looked forward to the conquest of Carthage by the younger Scipio, he expressed his sense of the contrast between that leader and the rest of the Roman generals by quoting a line from Homer : οἶος πέπνυται, τοὶ δὲ σκιαὶ ἀίσσουσι (ib. 27).”

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