Cincinnatus

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Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a hero of the Roman Republic to whom George Washington is often compared. The city of Cincinnati is named after him.

In 458 BC, the Aequians, a mountainous people east of Rome, began raiding Roman farms. The senate declared war on them, and sent out the consul Minucius against them. The Romans were winning the first battle, and just when they thought they were about to win, the Aequians trapped the Roman army in a narrow valley with no escape. Fortunately for Minucius and the Romans, a few horsemen escaped to carry the news to Rome. The senate appointed a man named Lucius Quinctius dictator. Quinctius, who was known as Cincinnatus, left his farm and hastened to Rome where he quickly raised another army to aid the trapped Romans. When Cincinnatus reached the valley, he quickly overpowered the Aequians, who were now trapped between two Roman armies. Following this victory, the people wanted to make him king; the office of dictator only lasted six months in the Roman Republic. Cincinnatus refused and returned to his farm. It is for this reason that George Washington is compared to him.

In 439 B.C. Cincinnatus was called up again during another time of trouble. This time he defeated the Volsci, and then once again went back to his farm.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1979

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