The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

992

DENTATUS.

Vict. de Vir. Illmt. 33.) The year of his'tribune-ship is uncertain. According to an inscription (Orelli, Inscript. Lat. No. 539) Appius the Blind was appointed interrex three times, and from Livy (x. 11) we know, that one of his inter-reigns belongs to b. c. 299, but in that year Appius did not hold the elections, so that this cannot be the year of the tribuneship of Dentatus. In b. c. 290 he was consul with P. Cornelius Rufinus, and both fought against the Samnites and gained such decisive victories over them, that the war which had lasted for 49 years, was brought to a close, and the Samnites sued for peace which was granted to them. The consuls then triumphed over the Samnites. After the end of this campaign Curius Dentatus marched against the Sabines, who had revolted from Rome and had probably supported the Samnites. In this undertaking he was again so successful, that in one campaign the whole country of the Sabines was reduced, and he ce­lebrated his second triumph in his first consulship. The Sabines then received the Roman civitas without the suffrage. (Veil. Pat. i. 14), but a por­tion of their territory was distributed among the plebeians. (Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, iii. p. 420.)

In b. c. 283, Dentatus was appointed prae­tor in the place of L. Caecilius, who was slain in an engagement against the Senones, and he forthwith sent ambassadors to the enemy to nego­tiate the ransom of the Roman prisoners; but his ambassadors were murdered by the Senones. Au-relius Victor mentions an ovatio of Curius over the Lucanians, which according to Niebuhr (iii. p. 437) belonged either to b. c. 285 or the year pre­vious. In b. c. 275 Curius Dentatus was consul a second time. Pyrrhus was then returning from Sicily, and in the levy which Dentatus made to com­plete the army, he set an example of the strictest severity, for the property of the first person that refused to serve was confiscated and sold, and when the man remonstrated he himself too is said to have been sold. When the army was ready, Dentatus marched into Samnium and defeated Pyrrhus near Beneventum and in the Arusinian plain so com­pletely, that the king was obliged to quit Italy. The triumph which Dentatus celebrated in that year over the Samnites and Pyrrhus was one of the most magnificent that had ever been witnessed : it was adorned by four elephants, the first that were ever seen at Rome. His disinterestedness and frugality on that occasion were truly worthy of a great Roman. All the booty that had been taken in the campaign against Pyrrhus was.given up to the republic, but when he was nevertheless charged with having appropriated to himself a por­tion of it, he asserted on his oath that he had taken nothing except a wooden vessel which he used in sacrificing to the gods. In the year fol­lowing, b. c. 274, he was elected consul a third time, and carried on the war against the Lucanians, Samnites, and Bruttians, who still continued in arms after the defeat of Pyrrhus. When this war was brought to a close Curius Dentatus retired to his farm in the country of the Sabines, where he spent the remainder of his life and devoted him­self to agricultural pursuits, though still ready to serve his country when needed, for in b. c. 272 he was invested with the censorship. Once the Samnites sent an embassy to him with costly pre­sents. The ambassadors found him on his farm,

I *

sitting at the hearth and roasting turnips. He re-

DENTATUS.

jected their presents with the words, that he pre* ferred ruling over those who possessed gold, to possessing it himself. He was celebrated down to the latest times as one of the noblest specimens of ancient Roman simplicity and frugality. When after the conquest of the Sabines lands were dis­tributed among the people, he refused to take more than any other soldier, and it was probably on that occasion that the republic rewarded him with a house and 500 jugers of land. He is said never to have been accompanied by more than two grooms, when he went out as the commander of Roman armies, and to have died so poor, that the republic found it necessary to provide a dowry for his daughter. But such reports, especially the latter, are exaggerations or misrepresentations, for the property which enabled a man to live com­fortably in the time of Curius, appeared to the Romans of a later age hardly sufficient to live at all; and if the state gave a dowry to his daughter, it does not follow that he was too poor to provide her with it, for the republic may have given it to her as an acknowledgment of her fa­ther's merits. Dentatus lived in intimate friend­ship with the greatest men of his time, and he has acquired no less fame from the useful works he constructed than from his victories over Pyrrhus and the Samnites, and from his habits of the good old times of Rome. In b. c. 272, during his cen­sorship, he built an aquaeduct (Aniensis Vetus), which carried the water from the river Anio into the city. The expenses were covered by the booty which he had made in the war with Pyrrhus. Two years later he \vas appointed duumvir to su­perintend the building of the aquaeduct, but five days after the appointment he died, and was thus prevented from completing his work. (Frontin. de Aquaeduct. i. 6 ; Aur. Vict. de Vir. III. 33.) Pie was further the benefactor of the town of Rcate in the country of the Sabines, for he dug a canal (or canals) from lake Velinus through the rocks, and thus carried its water to a spot where it falls from a height of 140 feet into the river Nar (Nera). This fall is the still celebrated fall of Terni, or the cascade delle Marmore. The Rea-tians by that means gained a considerable district of excellent arable land, which was called Rosea. (Cic. ad Ait. iv. 15, pro Scaur. 2; Serv. ad Aen. vii. 712.) A controversy has recently been raised by Zumpt (Abhandl. der Berlin. Akademie for 1336, p. 155, &c.) respecting the M\ Curius, who led the water of lake Velinus into the Nar. In the time of Cicero we find the town of Reate en­gaged in a law-suit with Interamna, whose terri­tory was suffering on account of that canal, while the territory of Reate was benefited by it. Zumpt naturally asks "how did it happen that Interamna did not bring forward its complaints till two cen­turies and a half after the construction of the canal?" and from the apparent impossibilty of finding a proper answer, he ventures upon the suppo­sition, that the canal from lake Velinus was a pri­vate undertaking of the age of Cicero, and that M\ Curius who was quaestor in b. c. 60, was the author of the undertaking. But our ignorance of any quarrels between Interamna and Reate before the time of Cicero, does not prove that there were no such quarrels previously, though a long period might elapse before, perhaps owing to some unfavourable season, the grievance was felt by In­teramna. Thus we find that throughout the mid*

Pages
About | First

991

992

993
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.