Day 539: Natty in Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio was named after Cincinnatus, an aristocratic farmer during the Roman Republic who was chosen to lead the army against the Aequi in the Battle of Mons Algidus in BC 458. After the Aequi were defeated, he resigned and returned to his farm. He served as dictator for only 16 days. He is depicted in a statue in Cincinnati holding in one hand a fascis, an ax bound in a cylinder of birch rods, and, in the other, a plow. The fascis was a symbol of Roman might and has been commonly used by later governments to identify with the power of the Roman Empire. In the twentieth century, Benito Mussolini adopted it as the symbol of his corporatist government that became known as Fascism.

Cincinnati is situated across from the mouth of an Ohio River tributary, the Licking River, presumably named for the presence of salt licks along its 300-mile course. When the city was founded in 1788, John Filson, the surveyor, named it “Losantiville,” combining English, Latin, Greek, and French words that to something that roughly translated means, “the city opposite the mouth of the Licking River.”

Laetitia and her group began the day at the statue of Cincinnatus and spent the rest of the day visiting the Taft Museum of Art, the Heritage Village Museum, the German Heritage Museum, and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

That evening before dinner Laetitia spent happy hour in a cocktail lounge a bit more elegant than she often encountered when she led tours. Her perch at the bar was within earshot of a table of ostentatiously dressed older women. One was complaining loudly about some of her envious friends. The conversation spawned the limerick of the day.

Said a lady who’s from Cincinnati
“I think my new coat is quite natty
And when my friends aver
That it isn’t real fur
I think they are just being catty.”