Q:

What happened to Cinna the poet?

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Quick Answer

One hypothesis about the death of the Roman poet Gaius Helvius Cinna is that he was killed in 44 B.C. after being mistaken for Cornelius Cinna, a conspirator in the assassination of Caesar. However, Virgil's ninth eclogue, written around 40 B.C., mentions Cinna the poet was alive at the time.

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Full Answer

Neither account is backed by hard evidence. Early second- and third-century historians Suetonius, Valerius Maximus, Appian, Plutarch and Dio Cassius all disclose a story about Cinna's death at the hands of the mob incited after Caesar's funeral. They mention that Cinna was a tribune. Plutarch is the only one who mentions that Cinna was a poet. The interpretation of Virgil's lines mentioning Cinna is not definitively agreed upon.

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