Cincinnatus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Cincinnātus, L. Quinctius - A Roman patrician, whose name belongs to the earlier history of the Republic, and has a well- known and spiritstirring legend connected with it. His son, Caeso Quinctius, had been banished on account of his violent language towards the tribunes, and the father had retired to his own patrimony, aloof from popular tumults. The successes of the Aequi and Volsci in B.C. 458 rendered the appointment of a dictator necessary, and Cincinnatus was chosen to that high office. The delegates who were sent to announce this to him found the Roman noble ploughing his own fields, and from the plough he was transferred to the highest magistracy of his native State. The dictator laid aside his rural habiliments, assumed the ensigns of absolute power, levied a new army, marched all night to bring the necessary succour to the consul Minucius, who was surrounded by the enemy and blockaded in his camp, and before morning surrounded the enemy's army, and reduced it to a condition exactly similar to that in which the Romans had been placed. The baffled Aequi were glad to submit to the victor's terms; and Cincinnatus, thereupon returning in triumph to Rome, laid down his dictatorial power, after having held it only fourteen days, and returned to his farm. At an advanced age he was again appointed dictator, to restrain the power of Spurius Maelius (q.v.), and again proved himself the deliverer of his country (Val. Max. iv. 4, 7; Liv.iii. 26).

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