The Moral Sentence

W. Martin Bloomer

in The School of Rome

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520255760
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948402 | DOI:
The Moral Sentence

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This chapter explores a popular and long-lived school book of sententiae, the Distichs of Cato, and seeks to understand the microcosm of commands and obedience, faithful copying and study, of which the schools' use of this proverbial literature consists. It begins by considering the educational imperative in this set of verses: the overt directions and the implicit habits that arise from practice with this text and encourage a way of reading and of life. After a review of the place of the maxim in Hellenistic and Roman education, the figure of Cato the educator, and the relations of his sententious writings and persona to the surviving Distichs, demand attention. The chapter then turns to a close analysis of the Distichs to reveal the system of agents, problems, and processes that they imagine. Thereby it gets at the heart of the imaginary of the text, the way it communicated the educated life and process.

Keywords: sententiae; Distichs of Cato; Hellenistic education; Roman education

Chapter.  15473 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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