Cato, Marcus Porcius (234-149 B.C.), called the Censor and the Elder, a Roman statesman. His father was a plebeian farmer, and all his life Cato had an interest in agriculture. He believed strongly in a simple way of life, and opposed the growing influence of Greek culture on the Romans.

Cato began his political career in 204 B.C., becoming consul, or chief magistrate, in 195. He held the post of censor (overseer of public morals) in 184 B.C. and the zeal with which he carried out his duties won him the nickname the Censor.

In 157 B.C., after the Second Punic War, Cato went to Africa to settle a difference between Carthage and the Numidians. He was astonished at the rapid recovery and wealth of Carthage, seeing in it a threat to Rome. From then on he ended every speech in the Senate by saying "Carthage must be destroyed." In this way he hastened the Third Punic War.

Cato was the first important Latin writer. The only complete work of his that has survived is De Agricultura (On Farming), a source of information about Roman customs.