Cato, Marcus Porcius 234-149 B.C.

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Cato, who was also called "The Censor," wrote De Re Rustica while the Roman army was waging the Punic wars. Columella stated that it was Cato who taught "agriculture to speak Latin."

Cato began life as a farmer but shortly became an outstanding leader of the metropolitan bar in Rome. He also became a distinguished military leader in Spain and Greece. He held many state offices and ended his life in the Roman Senate denouncing Carthage and the "degenerate" state of the times.

In his book he listed 120 plants including many cultivars but this list lacked organization. Our chief interest in his work consists in the picture it conveys of the manners and customs of the period.

Roman Farm Management. The Treatises of Cato and Varro by a Virginia Farmer, Macmillan Co., 1918.
Cato, Marcus Porcius, On Agriculture (De Re Rustica), Harvard Univ. Press, 1934

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