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Maelius, Spurius

The richest of the plebeian knights, who employed his fortune in buying up corn in Etruria in the great famine at Rome in B.C. 439. This corn he sold to the poor at a small price, or distributed it gratuitously. The patricians accused him of aiming at the kingly power, and appointed L. Quinctius Cincinnatus, then eighty years of age, as dictator. C. Servilius Ahala, the master of the horse, summoned Maelius to appear before the tribunal of the dictator; but as he refused to go, Ahala rushed into the crowd and slew him. His property was confiscated and his house pulled down; its vacant site, which was called the Aequimaelium, continued to subsequent ages a memorial of his fate. See Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, i. p. 378.

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