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Curius Dentātus, Manius

A Roman, celebrated for his warlike achievements, and also for the primitive simplicity of his manners. In his first consulship (B.C. 290) he triumphed twice, once over the Samnites and then over the Sabines, and in this same year also he obtained an ovation for his successes against the Lucanians. He afterwards (B.C. 275), in his third consulship, triumphed over Pyrrhus and the Samnites. It was on this occasion that the Roman people first saw elephants led along in triumph (Flor. i. 18; Plin. H. N. viii. 6; Eutrop. ii. 14), and it was this victory that drove Pyrrhus from Italy. The simple manners of this distinguished man are often referred to by the Roman writers. When the ambassadors of the Samnites visited his cottage, they found him, according to one account, sitting on a bench by the fireside, and eating out of a wooden bowl (Val. Max. iv. 3, 5), and, according to Plutarch, boiling turnips. On their attempting to bribe him with a large sum of gold, he at once rejected their offer, exclaiming that a man who could be content to live as they saw him living had no need whatever of gold, and that he thought it more glorious to conquer the possessors of it than to possess it himself. His scanty farm and humble cottage, moreover, were in full accordance with the idea which Curius had formed of private wealth; for, after so many achievements and honours, he declared that citizen a pernicious one who did not find seven acres (iugera) sufficient for his subsistence (Plin. xviii. 3). According to Pliny , Dentatus was so named because born with teeth (cum dentibus) (H. N. vii. 15).

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