, (d. 439 BC), a wealthy Roman plebeian
, who during a severe famine bought up a large amount of wheat
and sold it at a low price to the people. Lucius (or Gaius) Minucius
, the patrician praefectus annonae
(president of the market), thereupon accused him of courting popularity with a view to making himself king. The cry was taken up. Maelius, summoned before the aged Cincinnatus
(specially appointed dictator
), refused to appear, and was slain by Gaius Servilius Ahala
; his house was razed to the ground, his wheat distributed amongst the people, and his property confiscated. The open space called Aequimaelium, on which his house had stood, preserved the memory of his death. Cicero
calls Ahala's deed a glorious one, but, whether Maelius entertained any ambitious projects or not, his summary execution was an act of murder
, since by the Valerio-Horatian laws
the dictator was bound to allow the right of appeal.
Ancient sources: Livy, iv.13; Cicero, De senectute 16, De amicitia 8, De republica, ii.27; Florus, i.26; Dionysius Halicarnassensis xii.I.