Cincinnatus (Lucius or Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus) sĭnsĭnāˈtəs, –nătˈəs [key], fl. 5th cent. b.c., Roman patriot. He was consul in 460 b.c. and dictator twice (458 and 439). According to tradition, in his first dictatorship he came from his farm to defeat the Aequi and Volscians, who were threatening the city from the east and southeast. He returned from battle, resigned his dictatorship, and went home to his farm. In 439 he came out of retirement to put down the plebeians. The separation of legend from history in Cincinnatus' story is impossible.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Rome: Biographies