5. L. Minucius
Augurinus, was appointed praefect of the corn-market (praefectus annonae
) in B. C. 439, in order to regulate the price of corn and obtain a supply from abroad, as the people were suffering from grievous famine. Sp. Maelius, who distinguished himself by his liberal supplies of corn to the people, was accused by the patricians of aiming at the sovereignty; and Augurinus is said to have disclosed his treasonable designs to the senate.
The ferment occasioned by the assassination of Maelius was appeased by Augurinus, who is said to have gone over to the plebs from the patricians, and to have been chosen by the tribunes one of their body.
It is stated, indeed, that he was elected an eleventh tribune, as the number of their body was full; but this seems incredible.
That he passed over to the plebs, however, is confirmed by the fact, that we find subsequently members of his family tribunes of the plebs. Augurinus also lowered the price of corn in three market days, fixing as the maximum an as
for a modius.
The people, in their gratitude, presented him with an ox having its horns gilt, and erected a statue to his honour outside the Porta Trigemina, for which every body subscribed an ounce of brass. (Liv. 4.12
-16 Plin. Nat. 18.4
; Niebuhr, Rom. Hist.
ii. p. 423, &c.)
This circumstance is commemorated in the preceding coin of the Minucia gens.
The obverse represents the head of Pallas winged: the reverse a column surmounted by a statue, which is not clearly delineated in the annexed cut, with ears of corn springing up from its base.
The inscription is C. MINVCI. C. F. AVGVRINI., with ROMA at the top. (Eckhel, v. p. 254.)