A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

16. C.PorciusCato, of uncertain pedigree, perhaps descended from No. 5. He appears in the early part of his life as an opponent of Pompey. In B. C. 59, he wanted to accuse A. Gabinius of ambitus, but the praetors gave him no opportunity of preferring the accusation against Pompey's favourite. This so vexed him, that he called Pompey prixatum dictatorem, and his boldness nearly cost him his life. (Cic. ad Qu. Fr. 1.2.9.) In B. C. 56, he was tribune of the plebs, and prevented the Romans from assisting Ptolemy Auletes with troops, by getting certain priests to read to the people some Sibylline verses which threatened Rome with danger if such aid were given to a king of Egypt. (D. C. 39.15.) He took the side of Clodius, and Milo in revenge raised a laugh against him in the following manner :--Cato used to go about attended by a gang of gladiators, whom he was too poor to support. Milo, learning this, employed a stranger to buy them of him, and then got Racilius the tribune to make a public announcement, " se familiam Catonianam venditurum." (Cic. ad Qu. Fr. 2.6.) Afterwards he made himself useful to the triumviri by delaying the comitia in order to promote the election of Pompey and Crassus, when they were candidates for the consulship in B. C. 55. In his manoelig;uvre on this occasion he was assisted by Nonius Sufenas, one of his colleagues in the tribunate. (D. C. 37.27, 28.) In the following year he and Sufenas were accused of violating the Lex Junia et Licinia and the Lex Fufia, by proposing laws without due notice and on improper days. (Ascon. in Cic. pro Scauro.) Cato was defended by C. Licinius Calvus and M. Scaurus, and obtained an acquittal, which, however, was chiefly owing to the interest of Pompey. (Cic. Att. 4.5, 6.) [J.T.G]

On the coins of the Porcia gens, we find only the names of C. Cato and M. Cato. Who the former was, is quite uncertain; the latter is M. Cato of Utica. In the two coins annexed the obverse of the former represents the head of Pallas, the reverse Victory in a biga; the obverse of the latter a female head, the reverse Victory sitting.