Cincinnatus was a hero of the Roman Republic because he willingly chose to give up his powers as dictator when he completed the tasks assigned to him. Instead of becoming a tyrant, he went back to his simple farm to provide for his family. For these actions, the Roman Republic hailed him as the embodiment of the virtues of simplicity and altruistic love for the republic.
Though he came from the wealthy and powerful patrician class, Cincinnatus was forced to pay a huge fine when his son skipped his bail. This left Cincinnatus with nothing but a small cottage and farm with which he provided for his family. On a number of occasions, however, he served in powerful positions. For example, he was consul in 460 B.C., and though he did an effective job, he refused to serve another term since doing so would violate the law.
Two years later, in 458 B.C., the Romans appointed him dictator, asking him to save a Roman army that was trapped by the Aequi, a neighboring tribe. His army overcame the Aequi in short order, and 16 days after his appointment as dictator, he went back to his farm to continue working instead of consolidating power and ruling over Rome. Cincinnatus willing abdication of great power was important for the Romans, who prided themselves on the fact that they had gotten rid of a monarchy to set up a more equitable system of government.