In this paper I will analyze the ideological ramifications of the sympotic behavior of Cato
Censorious and Cato Minor as exhibited in their respective Lives. In particular their treatment
of slaves or other participants at the symposia will be discussed. I will demonstrate that Plutarch
is at pains to contrast their behavior negatively with that of Socrates who figures in all four Lives
of the two pairs as an extraneous foil. Ultimately I will examine the primary target of Plutarch’s
literary attack; Cicero’s highly idealized portraits of both of these Roman exemplars. I will
show that Plutarch is pursuing an ideological agenda that seeks to negatively evaluate two great
symbols of Roman virtue against the truly philosophical Socratic paradigm.