Marcus Tullius Cicero: Cato maior de senectute [Cato the Elder on Old Age]

(2281 words)
  • François Prost (Université de Paris IV Sorbonne)

Date and circumstance

Most probably, the treatise was written in the early months of 44, that is to say after the annus horribilis of 45, and before the Ides of March 44 (see Powell 1988, 267-268): at that time Cicero, who had already divorced Terentia (in 47 or 46), needed consolation the most, both personal after the death of his beloved daughter Tullia (February 45), and on political ground after the previous year had confirmed his isolation from public life under Caesar’s dictatorship, a distressing situation to be relieved (temporarily) only by the assassination of the dictator (see Malaspina 2013). In such circumstances Cicero could not feel but lonely, helpless – and old, whereas all around the man in power …

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Prost, François. "Cato maior de senectute". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 November 2013
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]