1. L. Quinctius
Cincinnatus, L. F. L. N., plays a conspicuous part in the civil and military transactions of the period in which he lived.
He particularly distinguished himself as a violent opponent of the claims of the plebeians.
He was born about B. C. 519. (Niebuhr, vol. ii. note 927.)
The story of his having been reduced to poverty by the merciless exaction of the bail forfeited by the flight of his son Caeso (Liv. 3.13
) has no foundation. (Niebuhr, ii. p. 289.) In B. C. 460 he was illegally appointed consul suffectus in the room of P. Valerius. (Liv. 3.19
; Niebuhr, ii. p. 295.) Irritated by the death of his son Caeso, he proposed a most arbitrary attempt to oppose the enactment of the Terentilian law, but the design was abandoned. (Liv. 3.20
Two years afterwards (B. C. 458), according to the common story, Cincinnatus was appointed dictator, in order to deliver the Roman consul and army from the perilous position in which they had been placed by the Aequians. (Plin. Nat. 18.4
; Cic. de Senect.
16, who however refers the story to his second dictatorship.)
The story of the manner in which he effected this is given by Livy (3.26
The inconsistencies and impossibilities in the legend have been pointed out by Niebuhr (ii. pp. 266-269), who is inclined to regard it as altogether fabulous. During his dictatorship, in defiance of the tribunes, he held the comitia for the trial of Volscius, through whose evidence his son Caeso had been condemned, and who was charged with false witness.
The accused went into voluntary exile. (Dion. Exc. de Sent.
22, p. 151, ed. R.; Zonar. 7.15
.) In B. C. 450 Cincinnatus was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of decemvir. (Liv. 3.35
In the disputes about the law for opening the consulship to the plebeians, we find him the advocate of milder measures. (Liv. 4.6
.) In B. C. 439, at the age of eighty, he was a second time appointed dictator to oppose the alleged machinations of Spurius Maelius. (Liv. 4.13
This is the last event recorded of him.