Cato the elder Younger

Why is Cato the younger always portrayed in popular culture as a really old man he was younger than Caesar and much younger than Cicero and Pompey yet is frequently portrayed as older than all the above yet he may not have reached 50. In the HBO series Rome the actor playing him is clearly much older than either Pompey, Caesar or Cicero or indeed any other important Roman political figure shown. In the Conn Igguldon young adult novels following Caesar and Brutus he’s one of Sulla’s senior supporters and again older than Pompey much less Caesar (mind as previusly mentioned in these books that play particularly…..loose…with the facts he is also a machiavellian hedonist killed by Pompey in revenge for the murder of his daughter before Caesar’s praetorship……I still don’t know where to start with all that) and in a tv miniseries about Caesar that came out in the very early 2000’s he is a senatorial leader played by Christopher Walken at the time of Sulla’s march on Rome. In reality at this time Cato was STILL A CHILD not a man in his 40’s/50’s! Cato the younger indeed……

Cato the Younger elder

I think in part it’s because we associate Cato with oligarchy, austerity, stubborness and conservatisim, he is the cantakerous stubborn old man bordering on senility who just can’t stomach no more change god’s dang it! These young fashionable playboys like Catilina and Caesar (both of whom were older than Cato, especially Catilina) are scandalous, well in my day etc. And of course when we think of arch conservative’s especially oligarchs we think of old established politicians. But Cato wasn’t an old rich Republican senior statesman, no Romney or Bush but a tea-party demagogue his stubboreness and uncompromising conservativisim driven by youthful fanaticisim rather than senility or simply the hardening that often comes with age. Of course this is reading into things but considering how destructive an influence Cato turned out to be perhaps a reminder of the dangers of youthful fanaticisim wouldn’t be out of place here. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to write letters to the editor about the moral decline of our time. Now in my day!……….

Cato the Younger Younger

2 thoughts on “Cato the elder Younger”

  1. I’m not sure, it would obviusly have to be someone younger than those who typicaly play him and capable of seemingly very intense, rigid and hectoring. A loud voice, a sense of energy, anger and fanaticism but simultaneously rigidity would be very important.

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