Cincinnatus History

Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus (519-430 BC) was a Roman Patrician, Statesman and Military leader of the early Roman Republic.

Cincinnatus was legendary in Roman lore, twice receiving temporary dictatorial authority over Rome and immediately relinquishing his powers once his tasks had been completed.

Cincinnatus was given his first dictatorship after an attack on Tusculum from the Aequi. The initial Roman response ended in failure, fearing the loss of Tusculum the Senate authorized the nomination of a dictator to repel the invasion. Cincinnatus was nominated for a 6-month term.

In what became the scene for his most notable depiction, a group of Senators went to inform Cincinnatus of his appointment as dictator, and he was found at his plough on his farm. Cincinnatus dropped his plough, donned his senatorial toga and accepted his appointment. According to lore Cincinnatus defeated the Aequi, disbanded the army, and returned to his simple life as a farmer a mere 15 days after receiving his appointment as dictator.

Cincinnatus was called out of retirement a second time to prevent a feared coup by a wealthy plebeian Spurius Maelius, who had tried to buy the loyalty of the poor and establish himself as King of Rome. Once again Cincinnatus held full dictatorial powers over Rome, only to relinquish it 21 days later when the crisis was averted.

Cincinnatus is often associated with civic virtue, service to the greater good, humility and outstanding leadership due to his willingness to serve Rome and surrender ultimate authority after he was no longer needed. Due to these associated virtues, The Society of the Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH, Cincinnatus NY, and many Italian roads/plazas bear his namesake. It must be noted that Cincinnatus was a conservative opponent of the rights of the plebeian (the common citizen) and opposed a written code of equitably enforced laws that they desired. Cincinnatus himself is not a perfect hero by modern day standards, although the virtues he has come to represent are worth replicating.

Cincinnati's Name

How our faire town of Cincinnati received our name, who named it, and what was it called before embodies the story of the birth and rise of the United States of America.

The first name given to the area by the newcomers was ”Losantiville.” A word comprised of 4 different languages to mean “The City Opposite the Mouth of the River” referring to the Licking River. The Licking River flows North through Kentucky & into the Ohio River at Cincinnati.

On January 4, 1790, Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, possibly working with Isreal Ludlow changed the name of the Losantville settlement to "Cincinnati" in honor of the “Society of the Cincinnati.” A Masonic like organization formed after the American Revolution of which Arthur St. Clair and Ludlow were members.

Cincinnati is not named after Cincinnatus, The Society of the Cincinnati was named after Cincinnatus, Cincinnati was named after the order of the Society of the Cincinnati by Authur St. Clair

The Society of the Cincinnati was comprised of Revolutionary War soldiers at first, one of the Nation’s first hereditary organizations, they passed down the torch. The Society of the Cincinnati still operates today and still is today dedicated to “preserving the memory of the patriotic sacrifices that made American liberty a reality.“

Freestore Foodbank

The Freestore Foodbank was started in 1971 by Frank Gerson, a worker at Cincinnati’s Incinerator. Frank noticed perfectly good items being thrown away as trash, instead of tossing it with the rest of the city’s waste he distributed the items to disadvantaged residents. Frank called this practice “Free Store.”

Frank incorporated his “Free Store” as a public charity, quit his job and opened for business in his apartment. This simple concept grew to what the Freestore Foodbank has come to be known today by all Cincinnatians.

Now under the leadership of Kurt Reiber, the Freestore Foodbank is one of Ohio’s largest food banks, distributing 27 million meals annually through a network of 450 community partner agencies, serving 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. This includes food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, community centers, program sites, senior centers and daycare facilities.

The Freestore Foodbank responds to the issue of poverty and food insecurity in our community and provides an array of services (emergency clothing, housing services, SNAP assistance, Medicaid outreach and others) aimed at creating self-reliance.

Cincinnati Watch Company is proud to honor the Freestore Foodbank and its invaluable work to the citizens of Cincinnati with the Cincinnatus Field Watch. A portion of each sale will go directly to feeding people and helping them when they need it most. The Freestore Foodbank, and Frank Gerson embody the values of Civic Virtue and responsibility for the greater good that Cincinnatus represents.

Support FreeStore Foodbank

The 25 Annual Rubber Duck Regatta, the rubber duck race down the Ohio River takes place Sept 1 at 3PM; you have to have a duck in the race to win! Every duck you purchase can provide 15 meals for hungry boys & girls!!! Thats the POWER of the FREESTORE FOODBANK. Donate a Duck HERE.

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