Born in Basel (CH), Martin Dinter studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge, where he worked with John Henderson on Lucan (MPhil 2002, PhD 2006). Thereafter he was lecturer at Exeter University (2005-2007) before joining King's College London in 2007 as lecturer and later senior lecturer. He was a FAPESP funded research fellow (2012-15) at the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). He has co-organised a series of conferences on Roman Declamation and is currently co-organising a further series of events on Roman Cultural Memory (London 2016, Paris 2017, Sao Paulo 2018). He has published on Latin Literature, particular Neronian Rome, Latin Epic, Drama, Rhetoric and Epigram.
Images of Cato the Elder
The historical figure of Cato the Elder has been examined in detail; what has not received sufficient attention, however, is the literary image of Cato, the portrait he paints of himself in his writings as well as that his many biographers – Cicero, Nepos, and Plutarch - are painting of him. I shall thus study Cato’s self-portrait in his biographical writings, his speeches and the authorial voice he projects in his de agricultura hat lead him to become the single most frequently employed moral exemplum in Latin literature. Cato’s stern views and character are excerpted, coloured and adapted in Antiquity and even transferred onto his descendants to serve many a writer and biographer both Greek and Roman. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance thus associate Cato with a highly influential moralizing collection of sayings, the Disticha Catonis. What is more, they also marvel that he is sexually active well into his eighties, and - with Petrarca as most prominent example - enshrine Cato as the main exemplum for Roman mores.