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"DELENDA EST CARTHAGO!"
 "Delenda est Carthago!"
A noble old Roman, eighty-four years of age, had just
finished a stirring speech in the Forum, or great
market place of Rome, and these were his closing words:
"Delenda est Carthago!" (Carthage must be destroyed!)
His words were repeated by his hearers; they were
carried into the street; they were discussed by excited
men in every part of the city.
"Who says that Carthage must be destroyed?" asked one
citizen of another.
"Cato the Censor says so," was the answer. "He says
that two such cities as Rome and Carthage cannot long
exist under the same sun. One must soon submit to the
other. If Rome does not destroy Carthage, then Carthage
will destroy Rome."
"Then every Roman must join with Cato and cry, 'Delenda
est Carthago!' "
Cato was dreadfully in earnest about the matter. Rome
had already had two long wars with the great city on
the other side of the Mediterranean. Cato, when a young
man of eighteen, had served as a
sol-  dier in one of these wars. In his old age, when the
cities were at peace, he had been sent as an
ambassador to Carthage. He was astonished at what he
saw there. He had supposed that Rome was the richest
and most powerful city in the world; but now he feared
that he was mistaken.
He saw the harbor of Carthage swarming with ships from
all parts of the world; the wharfs were piled with the
wealth of many countries; the shops were filled with
rich and rare merchandise; the market place was
thronged with buyers and sellers; the beauty of the
public buildings and the strength of the city walls
surpassed anything of which Rome could boast; the
wealth and power of Carthage were too great to be
And so when stern old Cato returned home he felt that
there was but one way to save Rome. He must arouse his
countrymen to a sense of their danger. Carthage must be
When he had finished his speech in the Forum, he
wrapped his toga about him and went down into the
street. Every one who saw him knew by the broad purple
border on his white homespun toga that he was one of
Rome's great men—that he had held some of the highest
offices in the gift of the city. A narrower border
denoted a citizen of less renown; no border at all
signified that its wearer
 had not yet been honored with an office. But in those
days to be a Roman even of the humblest rank was better
than to be a king.
In the street Cato met many of his friends; and no
matter on what subject they might talk, his last words
when parting with them were, "Delenda est Carthago!"
He had been a Roman censor, and for a time had been the
most powerful man in Rome. He had had the oversight of
the morals of the city, and had tried hard to preserve
the simple, sturdy habits of his forefathers. There was
nothing that he hated more than luxury and
self-indulgence; and now when he saw young men dressed
in fashionable style idling in the streets, his anger
was hot against? them. "Delenda est Carthago!" he
cried, while reproving them for their folly. And when
he saw officers of the state living in fine houses and
enjoying their wealth, he sneered at them in contempt
and cried out, "Delenda est Carthago!"
He did not stay long in the city, but hastened to
return to his farm on the Sabine, where he had lived
all his life except when in the service of Rome. And
his first greeting to his family was, "Delenda est
Had you seen him on his farm you would not have thought
of him as the greatest of Romans.
 Having laid aside his toga, he appeared dressed in the
rude fashion of a hard-working farmer. With a
broad-brimmed hat on his head and a sheepskin cloak
thrown over his shoulders, he walked out to see his
cattle and crops, to gather grapes in his vineyard, and
to pick olives from his olive trees. He met with his
country neighbors and talked about the prospects of the
wheat harvests and the best methods of making wine;
but he always closed his discourses by crying, "Delenda
His manner of life on the farm was very simple.
Everything was just as it had been in the days of his
father and of his grandfather. Cato was a hard worker
to the end of his life. He plowed his fields, he
sowed his grain, he helped the reapers, he gathered his
hay, he fed his flocks and herds. "To do these
necessary things," said he, "is to be a Roman of the
His wife and daughters were Romans of the old-fashioned
sort, too. They had the care of the home; they
ground the barley and made the bread for the household;
they attended to the milk and pressed the cheeses;
they bottled the wine from the home grapes; they spun
and wove the clothing for the family. Life on the
Sabine farm was a continuous round of hard work and
pleasant duties; and the coarse fare and simple diet
gave to all
 the household good health and long and happy lives.
The great Roman's last days would have been spent
peacefully enough if it had not been for the bitter
hatred which he bore toward Carthage. Whenever he went
down to Rome, it was to stir up among his
fellow-citizens the same feelings which he himself had.
Whenever he made a public address, whether it was upon
politics or religion or farming, he did not fail to add
a word about Carthage. And when, at length, worn out by
old age, he lay down for the last time upon his hard,
humble cot, his farewell message was, "Delenda est