Who Was Cincinnatus?

CincinnatusI talk a lot about The Society of the Cincinnati, and this guy named Cincinnatus.  So who was this guy?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pretty good links to find more information about him.  Find those here.

Those links can do a better job than I can, but here’s the short version:

Cincinnatus (full name of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus) was a Roman General in the 5th century B.C.

In his later years, Cincinnatus was living out his time as a farmer, minding his own business.  At the time, the Roman empire was expanding and the Roman armies were scattered to the wind.  So when the so-called barbarians invaded Rome by surprise, there was no one left to stop them.

The Roman Senate called upon Cincinnatus and gave him full dictatorial control to defeat the invaders.  Cincinnatus took control, rallied the army and defeated the invaders.  But that’s not the cool part.

After the invaders were defeated, instead of maintaining control as the dictator, Cincinnatus immediately gave the power back to the senate, and returned to his farm.

He did this again almost 20 years later, and, once again, gave the power back as soon as the conflict was resolved.

This became a model for our founding fathers.  Good leaders use power wisely, and then give it back to the people.  It’s in the nature of humans to hang onto power once they have it, but our founding fathers knew that Cincinnatus set a better model for the way that society and a good government should work.