chapter  2
RHETORIC AT ROME UNDER THE REPUBLIC
Pages 13

But the story was not quite as straightforward as Cicero suggests. The rhetoricians did not establish themselves at Rome without difficulty. In the year 161 B.C. the senate empowered the praetor Marcus Pomponius to expel both philosophers and rhetoricians.3 This decree is clear evidence of opposition if not to rhetoric, at least to the Greeks who taught it. It falls within the lifetime of that vigorous opponent of Greek influences, Cato the Censor, and it is possible that his influence may have been in some degree responsible for it. For though he was an able orator himself, he may well have viewed with suspicion the subtle professionalism of the Greek rhetorician. His two recorded remarks on oratory, the definition of the orator as vir bonus dicendi peritus and the precept rem tene, verba sequentur, reveal a sturdy simplicity and a probably conscious opposition to all that was involved in the Greek .4