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Cato the Elder, Livy, and Xenophon’s Anabasis

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image of Mnemosyne

This article argues firstly that Cato the Elder’s account of a daring plan involving the tribune Caedicius in the First Punic War is modelled on a scene in Xenophon’s Anabasis. It then argues that Livy’s account of a heroic escape in the First Samnite War orchestrated by P. Decius Mus is modelled not just on the First Punic War episode described by Cato, as scholars have suggested, but on the same passage of Xenophon; it also proposes that Livy’s use of Xenophon may be mediated through Cato. The article then sets out other evidence for the use of Xenophon in Roman historiography and explores the implications of the proposed intertextuality for Roman self-positioning and for ideas of leadership and military hierarchy. The article as a whole suggests that the influence of Xenophon on Latin historiography is greater than has often been conceived.

Affiliations: 1: St Hugh’s College Oxford


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