Alimentus, L. Ci'ncius
a celebrated Roman annalist, antiquary, and jurist, who was praetor in Sicily, B. C. 209, with the command of two legions.
He wrote an account of his imprisonment in the second Punic war, and a history of Gorgias Leontinus; but these works probably formed part of his Annales.
He is frequently cited by Festus, and the fragments which have been thus preserved were collected by Wasse, and may be found appended to Corte's Sallust.
Niebuhr (i. p. 272) praises Alimentus as a really critical investigator of antiquity, who threw light on the history of his country by researches among its ancient monuments.
That he possessed eminent personal qualities, such as strike a great man, is clear, inasmuch as Hannibal, who used to treat his Roman prisoners very roughly, made a distinction in his behalf, and gave him an account of his passage through Gaul and over the Alps, which Alimentus afterwards incorporated in his history.
It is only in his fragments that we find a distinct statement of the earlier relation between Rome and Latium, which in all the annals has been misrepresented by national pride.
The point, however, upon which Niebuhr lays most stress, is the remarkable difference between Alimentus and all other chronologers in dating the building of the city about the fourth year of the 12th Olympiad. This difference is the more important in an historical view, from Alimentus having written on the old Roman calendar and having carefully examined the most ancient Etruscan and Roman chronology.
It is ingeniously accounted for by Niebuhr, by supposing our author to have reduced the ancient cyclical years, consisting of ten months, to an equivalent number of common years of twelve months. Now, the pontiff reckoned 132 cyclical years before the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, from which time, according to Julius Gracchanus, the use of the old calendar was discontinued.
The reduction makes a difference of 22 years, for , and 22 years, added to the era of Polybius and Nepos, viz. Ol. 7. 2, bring us to the very date of Alimentus, Ol. 12. 4.
Alimentus composed a treatise De Officio Jurisconsulti,
containing at least two books; one book De Verbis priscis,
one De Consulum Potestate,
one De Comitiis,
one De Fastis,
two, at least, Mystagogicon,
and several De Re Militari.
In the latter work he handles the subjects of military levies, of the ceremonies of declaring war, and generally of the Jus Fetiale. (Gel. 16.4
; Voss. Hist. Gr.
4.13, fin., Hist. Lat.
1.4; F. Lachmann, de Fontib. Histor. Tit. Livii Com.
1.17, 4to. 1822; Zimmern, Röm. Rechts-gesch.