Fabius Maximus

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Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator (ca. 280 BC–203 BC), was a Roman politician and general, born in Rome around 280 BC and died in Rome in 203 BC. He was Roman Consul five times (233 BC, 228 BC, 215 BC, 214 BC and 209 BC) and was twice Dictator in 221 and again in 217 BC. He reached the office of Roman Censor in 230 BC. His agnomen Cunctator (akin to the English noun cunctation) means "delayer" in Latin, and refers to his tactics in deploying the troops during the Second Punic War. His cognomen Verrucosus means "warty", a reference to a wart above his upper lip.



Descended from an ancient patrician gens Fabii, he was the son of Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges, a grandson of another Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges and a great-grandson of Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus, all famous Consuls. According to Fabius' biographer Plutarch, Fabius possessed a mild temper and slowness in speaking. As a child, he had difficulties in learning, which was perceived by other children to be a sign of inferiority. However, according to Plutarch, these traits proceeded from stability, greatness of mind, and lionlikeness of temper. According to accounts, by the time he reached adulthood, his virtues exerted themselves, and his slowness was revealed to be a symptom of his energy, passion, prudence, and firmness. During his first Consulship, he was awarded a triumph for his victory over the Ligurians, a tribe of Gauls, whom he had defeated and then driven into the Alps. He probably participated in the First Punic War, although no details of his role are known. After the end of the war he rapidly advanced his political career. He served twice as Roman Consul and Roman Censor, and in 218 BC he took part in the embassy to Carthage. It was Fabius Buteo, his kinsman who formally declared war in the Carthaginian senate after the capture of Saguntum by Hannibal (Liv. Ab Urbe Cond. xxi. xviii).

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