The present contribution reviews some ethical and emotional criteria that underlie the Life
of Cato the Elder in order to determine the real meaning of the Plutarchan paideia. In that
sense, Plutarch shows that friendship, philanthropy and eros constitute (in praesentia aut in
absentia) a proper manner to describe Cato’s personality and education, which must improve as
he becomes increasingly familiar with the above-mentioned Greek concepts. Finally, Plutarch
seems to maintain that the right use of these concepts has an effect on both the moral and the
political education of the statesman.