Cato the Asshole

Plutarch, Cato (12.4)

Cato spent much of his time in Athens. It is said that a speech which he delivered to the people was preserved, in which he said that he was an enthusiast for the excellence of the ancient Athenians and had been pleased as a spectator of their city on account of its beauty and magnificence. This was not, however, the truth. Rather, he always mingled with the Athenians through the mediation of a translator, even though he himself was able to speak Greek. He stuck to the ways of his own country, and derided those who marveled at the achievements of the Greeks.

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πλεῖστον δὲ χρόνον ἐν Ἀθήναις διέτριψε. καὶ λέγεται μέν τις αὐτοῦ φέρεσθαι λόγος, ὃν Ἑλληνιστὶ πρὸς τὸν δῆμον εἶπεν, ὡς ζηλῶν τε τὴν ἀρετὴν τῶν παλαιῶν Ἀθηναίων τῆς τε πόλεως διὰ τὸ κάλλος καὶ τὸ μέγεθος ἡδέως γεγονὼς θεατής: τὸ δ᾽ οὐκ ἀληθές ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἑρμηνέως ἐνέτυχε τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις, δυνηθεὶς ἂν αὐτὸς εἰπεῖν, ἐμμένων δὲ τοῖς πατρίοις καὶ καταγελῶν τῶν τὰ Ἑλληνικὰ τεθαυμακότων.

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