This mural just on the edge of downtown Cincinnati features a trompe l'Oeil effect to look like a Roman temple built into the side of an old building. The artist was Robert Haas, and I was lucky enough to be walking past it on a snowy night after dinner on Vine Street.

Cincinnatus was one of the most legendary politicians of the early Roman Republic. He is most famous for the way he took up the mantle of dictator to defeat the Aequi, supposedly recruited from behind the plow on his modest farm and then relinquishing the fasces and returning to his plow immediately after the defeat of the Aequi. This act was held by staunch Republicans in the later Republic as a model for responsible and modest leadership in an increasingly competitive society, and obviously in stark contrast to the ambitions of men like Julius Caesar. The spectre of Cincinnatus is what compelled later dictators like Sulla to voluntarily step down.

The city of Cincinnati was named after a society of that name which honored George Washington as a contemporary model of this virtue.

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