Author Topic: M. Porcius Cato Uticensis (Cato the Stoic), AR Quinarius, Utica, 47-46 BC  (Read 147 times)

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Offline Overlord

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M. Porcius Cato Uticensis (Cato the Stoic), AR Quinarius, Utica, 47-46 BC, Sear 1383, RRC 462/2, CRI 47,BMCRR Africa 19, RSC Porcia 11, ex Prof. Dr. Hildebrecht Hommel and Auction Dorotheum 308, 1969, lot 167 (1.58 g)

I grudge him his death, for he would not allow me to let him live.
(Julius Caesar, upon hearing the news of Cato's suicide)

The great-grandson of the celebrated Cato the Censor (234-149 BC), Cato Uticensis was born in 95 BC. He volunteered for the campaign against Spartacus in 72 BC and later refused an official commendation for his part in the campaign. After serving his military tribuneship in Macedonia, Cato returned to Rome and was elected Quaestor.

A bitter and lifelong enemy of Julius Caesar, whom he considered a threat to the Republic, Cato reluctantly joined the Pompeian camp when the civil war broke out in 49 BC. The respect he commanded among his contemporaries enabled him to arbitrate in the disputes that arose between the various Pompeian military leaders in North Africa in 47-46 BC. Unfortunately, he insisted on bestowing the overall command of the Pompeian forces to Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio, on the basis of his illustrious name rather than merit. Scipio's incompetence as a military commander cost the Pompeians dearly.

Following Caesar's victory at the battle of Pharsalus, Cato initially secured the defenses of Utica. However, when defeat became imminent, he followed his Stoic doctrine and opted for suicide, falling upon his sword in his private apartments. His companions tried to bandage his wounds, but he tore them open and died. Caesar was furious upon hearing the news, realizing that Cato was far more dangerous as a martyr than as a living opponent.

Cato chose to die with the Republic than to outlive it, and was still revered as one of the greatest Roman patriots of all time generations after its fall.

Obverse: M CATO PRO PR (AT in monogram). Head of young Bacchus or Liber right, wreathed with ivy
Reverse: VICTRI(X) (TR in monogram), Victory seated right, holding patera and palm

Offline THCoins

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Very interesting coin, thanks for showing !
First remarkeable thing is the low weight. Looking at the coin i would have guessed it to be much heavier. Appreciate you detailed historical background. Makes me wonder though, who minted this coin ? Was this minted under Cato's authority or as a commemorative ?

Offline Overlord

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This coin is belived to have been stuck in Utica in North Africa (where Cato committed suicide) by the authority of the senate in 47 or 46 BC. Cato strikes as Propraetor. The type is the same as the one stuck by an earlier Cato.