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The Legend of Cincinnatus Captain John A. Atilano II Harvard, JFK School of Govt. PAL-210 U.S. Congress 14 February 2005 Statue of Cincinnatus, Cincinnati, OH, 2004, by Rick Dikeman

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the legend of cincinnatus

The Legend of Cincinnatus

Captain John A. Atilano II

Harvard, JFK School of Govt.

PAL-210 U.S. Congress

14 February 2005


Statue of Cincinnatus, Cincinnati, OH, 2004, by Rick Dikeman

"With one hand he returns the fasces, symbol of power as appointed dictator of Rome. His other hand holds the plow, as he resumes the life of a citizen and farmer."

  • Rome, Italy. 458 B.C.
  • Rome attacked by Aequians
    • Attack reaches nearly to the walls of Rome
    • Crops destroyed; people are terrified
  • Minucius takes on the Aequians
    • Failure.
    • 5 horsemen dispatched to Rome to get help.
the legend day 1
The Legend(Day 1)
  • Horsemen reach Rome
  • Senate unanimously votes Cincannatus as Dictator
  • Envoys dispatched
  • Cincinnatus found plowing his 3-acre farm.
  • Roman Envoys plead with Cincinnatus
  • Cincinnatus puts on his toga and is immediately saluted by the envoys
the legend day 1 continued
The Legend(Day 1 – continued)
  • Cincinnatus arrives in Rome
    • Met by a huge entourage, including the Senate and his Lictors (bodyguards)
    • People of Rome fearful of his power and the manner he would use it.
  • That Night
    • Nothing done but guard the city
the legend day 2
The Legend(Day 2)
  • Forum. Dawn. His Instructions
    • Legal business suspended
    • All shops closed; no private business
    • All men of military age to report at sunset with all equipment and five days rations
    • All men over military age were to prepare food for the younger men
the legend day 2 continued
The Legend(Day 2 - Continued)
  • Sunset
    • All men in formation. Everyone prepared. No one is late.
    • Column moves out. Cincannutus leading the Infantry, Tarquitus leading the cavalry.
  • The battle lasted until dawn
    • Cincannatus deals a crushing blow to the Aequian Army
    • Aequian’s beg Cincannutus to allow them to surrender and leave with their lives
the legend day 3
The Legend(Day 3)
  • Cincannatus accepts Aequian surrender on humiliating terms
    • Aequian leaders to be brought before him in chains
    • All soldiers required to pass “under yoke”
  • Aequian Camp contained significant treasure
    • Cincannatus shares only with his soldiers; none to Minucius’ army
      • 'You shall have no share of the plunder taken from an enemy who nearly took you.'
      • 'Until, Lucius Minucius, you learn to behave like a consul and commander, you will act as my lieutenant and take your instructions from me.'
the legend day 4
The Legend(Day 4)
  • Cincannatus enters Rome in Victory
    • Military Standards (flags) in lead
    • Followed by Aequian leaders in chains
    • Cincannatus follows in a chariot
    • Soldiers follow Cincannatus
  • The streets are full, the crowd cheers the triumphant Army.
the legend day 16
The Legend(Day 16)
  • No one dared ask Cincannatus to resign.
  • Aequian leaders found guilty at trial. Exiled.
  • Cincinnatus resigns as dictator after 16 days
    • His original appointment was for 6 months
  • Returns to his farm where his plow and ox still remain just as he left them