chapter  IX
ROMANA VIRTUS
Pages 20

SoSAIDENNIUSinwordswhichbitdeepintotheimagina-tionofRome,thoughwhether'moribus'meantcustoms orcharacter,orwhetherindeedlanguagehadlearnedthe

sophisticationwhichdistinguisheswhatamandoesfromwhathe is,remainsnotwhollyclear.Whatisclearisthattheclassical Romans,lookingbackontheirhistory,sawinthetraditional qualitiesoftheirmenfolktheelementwhichhadmadeRome great.HencetheyexaltedthememoryofaBrutusoraCincinnatus.ThefamiliarmoremaiorumappearsasearlyasPlautus.1By thetimeofCiceroithasbecomeacommonplace.2ThistraditionalismrunsdeepinthebedoftheRomanstory,deeperperhapsthanthemostall-embracingphilosophy,aswecanseeifwe lookattheupsurgeofStoicisminthefirstcenturyA.D.Thisis theperiodoftheso-called'philosophicoppositiontotheprincipate',theperiodofThraseaPaetusandHelvidiusPriscus.But howfartheyweremotivatedbytraditionalrepublicanism,the exaltationofthepast,andthesensethatparticularemperors lackedtheancientRomanvirtues,andhowfarbyStoicpolitical doctrine,isamatterofacademicdispute.Itgivesafalseestimate toemphasizeonetotheexclusionoftheother.Thisistheage whenCatoappearsasthecharacteristicStoicsaint,Catowho combinedtheprofessionsofStoicismwiththesturdyrepublicanismandpugnaciousobstinacyoftheancientRomans.