Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

The city of Cincinnati Ohio is named after the Society of Cincinnati, an organization founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the officers of the Revolutionary War. George Washington served as the first president of the society, which is still in existence today.

The society was named after the Roman hero Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus who abandoned his plow in 458 B.C. to save the Roman Army. Lucius, a Roman politician and leader, served as Consul in 460 B.C. When it became time for his re-election, Lucius refused to be nominated because he believed a temporary dictatorship was needed to protect Rome from its enemies. He also felt the consular position was not powerful enough to withstand the new found power of the Tribunes.

Lucius retired from politics and returned to a small farm he owned on the west side of the Tiber, but soon the Roman army got into trouble. Attacks came from the Aequians and the Sabines, who wanted to flex their muscles against the growing influence of the Romans. The Consuls Minucius and Natius were dispatched with armies but Minucius found his troops surrounded by the Aequian leader Gracchus and came under siege.

A mission from the city was sent to find Lucius and when they arrived they found him plowing his fields. They begged him to put on his Toga, take the title of dictator, and lead an army to save Minucius and his men. Lucius agreed to serve and was given an army by the Senate.

Lucius reconnoitered the enemy position after dark and deployed his men so they would encircle the Aequians. As a arranged signal, a war cry was let out to frighten the Aequians and signal the Army of Minucius. Then the army of Lucius began to dig trenches and place palisades in the ground to make sure the enemy could not escape. Meanwhile, the surrounded army took hope from the shouts of their countrymen and began an attack of their own. Pinched from the front and behind, the Aequians were forced to surrender.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was granted a triumph and marched through the city on a chariot. He resigned as dictator fifteen days after being asked to serve his country.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

read Cincinnatus by Rusty MCClure and DAvid Stern