Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 650 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUCIUS PAPIRIUS CURSOR, Roman general, five times consul and twice dictator. In 325 he was appointed dictator to carry on the second Samnite War. His quarrel with Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus, his magister equitum, is well known. The latter had engaged the enemy against the orders of Cursor, by whom he was condemned to death, and only the intercession of his father, the senate and the people, saved his life. Cursor treated his soldiers with such harshness that they allowed themselves to be defeated; but after he had regained their good-will by more lenient treatment and lavish promises of booty, they fought with enthusiasm and gained a complete victory. After the disaster of the Caudine Forks, Cursor to some extent wiped out the disgrace by compelling Luceria (which had revolted) to surrender. He delivered the Roman hostages who were held in captivity in the town, recovered the standards lost at Caudium, and made 7000 of the enemy pass under the yoke. In 309, when the Samnites again rose, Cursor was appointed dictator for the second time, and gained a decisive victory at Longula, in honour of which he celebrated a magnificent triumph. Cursor's strictness was proverbial; he was a man of immense bodily strength, while his bravery was beyond dispute. He was surnamed Cursor from his swiftness of foot. Livy viii., ix.; Aurelius Victor, De viris illustribus, 31; Eutropius ii. 8. 9. His son of the same name, also a distinguished general, completed the subjection of Samnium (272). He set up a sun-dial, the first of its kind in Rome, in the temple of Quirinus. Livy X. 39-47 ; Pliny, Nat. Hist., vii. 6o.

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