That's Soooo Cincinnati

Soooo Cincinnatus

Nov 3, 2004 at 2:06 pm

He stands watch over the riverfront, protecting rollerbladers and Frisbee throwers making the cross between the Serpentine Wall and the Bicentennial Commons park area, also known as Sawyer Point. His 12-foot statue was one of the centerpieces of the bicentennial party for the city in 1988.

He's the namesake for this fair town. But just who was Cincinnatus?

Fittingly, in Roman times, he was just your average blue-collar worker, tending his fields and trying to make a nice but unexciting life for himself and his family. But when called upon to serve, he stepped up and saved Rome. It was 458 BC, and the Aequi and the Volscians were menacing Rome. The Roman Senate immediately called on Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus to serve as dictator and quash the threat. According to lore, he did so unceremoniously and then, just as quickly, surrendered his power and went back to farming.

The history books say the immediate resignation of his absolute authority serves as an example of good leadership, service to the public good and the virtue of modesty. Seems some local politicos would do well to visit that statue periodically to remind them what it means to be a public servant.

Such a stand-up guy is bound to have a few places named after him, and Cincinnatus is no exception. In addition to this area, there's a Cincinnati, Iowa, and a town called Cincinnato in Italy. The American Society of the Cincinnati, formed after the Revolutionary War, also was named in his honor.

In fact, it's from that society that this area became known. When Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, visited Fort Washington in 1790, he asked what the surrounding town was called. Dissatisfied with its Losantiville name, he ordered the name changed to Cincinnati in honor of the society to which he belonged.

And the rest is history. Cincinnatus is, after all, soooo Cincinnati.

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