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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIII - Faith and Manners


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 24

Austerity of Manners - Catos's Family Life

The picture, which has been handed down to us of the life of Cato the Elder, enables us in substance to perceive how, according to the ideas of the respectable burgesses of that period, the private life of the Roman should be spent. Active as Cato was as a statesman, pleader, author, and mercantile speculator, family life always formed with him the central object of existence; it was better, he thought, to be a good husband than a great senator. His domestic discipline was strict.

The servants were not allowed to leave the house without orders, nor to talk of what occurred to the household to strangers. The more severe punishments were not inflicted capriciously, but sentence was pronounced and executed according to a quasi-judicial procedure: the strictness with which offences were punished may be inferred from the fact, that one of his slaves who had concluded a purchase without orders from his master hanged himself on the matter coming to Cato's ears.

For slight offences, such as mistakes committed in waiting at table, the consular was wont after dinner to administer to the culprit the proper number of lashes with a thong wielded by his own hand. He kept his wife and children in order no less strictly, but by other means; for he declared it sinful to lay hands on a wife or grown-up children in the same way as on slaves.

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