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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Ultimate Romana Mors


The suicide of M. Porcius Cato at the end of the Roman Republic shifted the Roman attitude towards self-killing. Suicides before Cato were intended to avoid imminent shame or defeat; however, after the example of Cato, suicide became an act to be imitated: it was a means of achieving glory. This paper treats the evolution of suicide, before and after Cato, and the impact of his suicide.

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