1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cincinnatus, Lucius Quinctius
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Cincinnatus, Lucius Quinctius
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CINCINNATUS, LUCIUS QUINCTIUS (b. c. 519 B.C.), one of the heroes of early Rome, a model of old Roman virtue and simplicity. A persistent opponent of the plebeians, he resisted the proposal of Terentilius Arsa (or Harsa) to draw up a code of written laws applicable equally to patricians and plebeians. He was in humble circumstances, and lived and worked on his own small farm. The story that he became impoverished by paying a fine incurred by his son Caeso is an attempt to explain the needy position of so distinguished a man. Twice he was called from the plough to the dictatorship of Rome in 458 and 439. In 458 he defeated the Aequians in a single day, and after entering Rome in triumph with large spoils returned to his farm. The story of his success, related five times under five different years, possibly rests on an historical basis, but the account given in Livy of the achievements of the Roman army is obviously incredible.
See Livy iii. 26-29; Dion. Halic. x. 23-25; Floras i. 11. For a critical examination of the story see Schwegler, Römische Geschichte, bk. xxviii. 12; Sir G. Cornewall Lewis, Credibility of early Roman History, ch. xii. 40; W. Ihne, History of Rome, i.; E. Pais, Storia di Roma, i. ch. 4 (1898).
- I.e. the “curly-haired.”