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On this page: Curtius Atticus – Curtius Lupus – Curtius Montanus – Curtius Rufus



of an estate at Fundi, which had belonged to C. Sextilius Rufus. (Cic. ad Ait. xiv. 6, 10.) [L. S.] CURTI'LIUS MA'NCIA. [mancia.] CU'RTIUS. 1. mettus or metius curtius, a Sabine of the time of Romulus. During the war between the Romans and Sabines, which arose from the rape of the Sabine women, the Sabines had gained possession of the Roman arx. When the Roman army was drawn up between the Pala­tine and Capitoline hills, two chiefs of the armies, Mettus Curtius on the part of the Sabines, and Hostus Hostilius on that of the Romans, opened the contest, in which the latter was slain. While Curtius was glorying in his victory, Romulus and a band of Romans made an attack upon him. Curtius, who fought on horseback, could not main­tain his ground; he was chased by the Romans, and in despair he leaped with his horse into a swamp, which then covered the valley afterwards occupied by the forum. However, he got out of it with difficulty at the bidding of his Sabines. Peace was soon after concluded between the Ro­mans and their neighbours, and the swamp was henceforth called lacus Curtius^ to commemorate the event. (Liv. i. 12, &c.; Dionys. ii. 42; Varr. L. L. v. 148 ; Plut. Romul. 13.) This is the common story about the name of the lacus Curtius; but there are two other traditions, which though they likewise trace it to a person of the name of Curtius, yet refer us to a much later time. Ac­cording to the first of these, it happened one day that the earth in the forum gave way, sank, and formed a great chasm. All attempts to fill it up were useless, and when at length the aruspices were consulted about it, they declared, that the chasm could not be filled except by throwing into it that on which Rome's greatness was to be based, and that then the state should prosper. When all were hesitating and doubting as to what was meant, a noble youth of the name of M. Curtius came forward, and declaring that Rome possessed no greater treasure than a brave and gallant citizen in arms, he offered himself as the victim demanded, and having mounted his steed in full armour, he leaped into the abyss, and the earth soon closed over him. This event is assigned to the year b. c. 362. (Liv. vii. 6 ; Varro, I c.; Val. Max. v. 6. § 2; Plin. H. N. xv. 18; Festus, s. v. Curtilacum; Pint. Parallel. Min. 5 ; Stat. Silv. i. 1, 65, &c.; Augustin, de Civ. Dei, v. 18.) According to the second tradition, the place called lacus Curtius had been struck by lightning, and, at the command of the senate, it was enclosed in the usual manner by the consul C. Curtius Philo, b. c. 445. (Varr. L.L. v. 150.) But that this place was not regarded as a bidental) that is, a sacred spot struck by light­ning, seems to be clear from what Pliny (H. N. xv. 18) relates of it. All that we can infer with safety from the ancient traditions respecting the lacus Curtius, is, that a part of the district which subsequently formed the Roman forum, was ori­ginally covered by a swamp or a lake, which may have obtained the name of Curtius from some such occurrence as tradition has handed down. This lake was afterwards drained and filled up, but on one occasion after this the ground seems to have sunk, a circumstance which was regarded as an ostentum f'atale. In order to avert any evil, and at the same time symbolically to secure the duration of the republic, an altar was erected on the spot, and a regular sacrifice was offered there, which may


have given rise to the story about the self-sacrifice of Curtius. (Suet. Aug. 57; Stat. Silv. i. .1.)

2. curtius, an accuser, was killed in the time of the proscription of Sulla, or perhaps even before, by C. Marius, near the lake Servilius. (Cic. pro Seoct. Rose. 32 ; Senec. de Provid. 3.)

3. C. curtius, probably a son of the preceding, lost his property during the proscription of Sulla, and went into exile. Subsequently, however, he was allowed to return through the mediation of Cicero, with whom he had been acquainted from early youth. In b. c. 45 Caesar made him a mem­ber of the senate. In the same year, Caesar dis­tributed Vnds among his veterans in Italy; and Curtms, who had spent the little property he had saved in purchasing an estate near Volaterrae, and was now in danger of losing it again, applied to Cicero to interfere on his behalf. Cicero accord­ingly wrote a letter to Q. Valerius Orca, the legate of Caesar, who superintended the distribution of land among the veterans, and requested him to spare the property of Curtius, since the loss of it would render it impossible for him to maintain the dignity of a senator. (Cic. ad Fam. xiii. 5.)

4. P. curtius, a brother of Q. Salassus, was be­headed in Spain by the command of Cn. Pompeius (the son of the Great), in the presence of the whole army, b. c. 45, for he had formed a secret understanding with some Spaniards that Cn. Pom­peius, if he should come to a certain town for the sake of getting provisions, should be apprehended and delivered up into the hands of Caesar. (Cic. ad Fain. vi. 18.)

5. Q. curtius, a friend of Verres, is called judex quaestioniS) concerning which nothing further is known. (Cic. in Verr. i. 61.)

6. Q. curtius, a good and well-educated young man, brought in B. c. 54 the charge of ambitus against C. Memmius, who was then a candidate for the consulship. (Cic. ad Qu. Fr. iii. 2.) We possess several coins on which the name of Q. Curtius ap­pears, together with that of M. Silanus and Cn. Domitius. The types of these coins differ from those which we usually meet with on Roman coins; and Eckhel (Doctr. Num. v. p. 200) con­jectures, that those three men were perhaps trium­virs for the establishment of some colony, and that

4, t

their coins were struck at a distance from Rome.

7. curtius, a Roman eques, who once, while dining with Augustus, availed himself of a joke and threw a fish, which was standing on the table, out of the window. (Macrob. Sat. ii. 4.) Some writers suppose, though without any apparent reason, that he is the same as the Curtms Atticus who lived in the reign of Tiberius. [atticus, curtius.] [L. S.]

CURTIUS ATTICUS. [atticus, p. 413,a.]




Q. CU'RTIUS RUFUS, the Roman historian of Alexander the Great. Respecting his life and the time at which he lived, nothing is known with any certainty, and there is not a single passage in any ancient writer that can be positively said to refer to Q. Curtius, the historian. One Curtius Rufus is mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. xi. 21) and Pliny (Ep. vii. 27), and a Q. Curtius Rufus occurs in the list of the rhetoricians of whom Suetonius treated in his work " De Claris Rhetoribus." But, there is nothing to shew that any of them is the

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