Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus is a figure from the Early Republican period of Rome’s history. Cincinnatus (a nickname given to him due to his curly hair) was an aristocrat who belonged to the patrician class. His primary job was that of a farmer, though he also served, with great efficiency, as consul and, later on, as dictator (on two separate occasions, to be precise).
In this latter office, Cincinnatus was given near-absolute authority. Nevertheless, due to his conduct while occupying this post, especially his immediate resignation once the crises that elevated him to such a position of power had passed, Cincinnatus is remembered as a model of civic virtue. While he was granted great power and accepted it, he only kept it as long as necessary to serve his country.
Cincinnatus’ Early Days and Troubles with His Son
It is unclear when Cincinnatus was born, though we may assume that he lived during the 5th century BC, as we know that he was appointed as a consul of the Roman Republic in 460 BC. In Livy’s History of Rome, Cincinnatus is first introduced in relation to his son, Caeso Quinctius. Livy describes Caeso as such: