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Coriolanus(Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus) (kôr'ēəlā`nəs), Roman patrician. He is said to have derived his name from the capture of the Volscian city Corioli. According to legend he was expelled from Rome because he demanded the abolition of the people's tribunate in return for distributing state grain to the starving plebeians. He joined the Volscians and led (491? B.C.) them in an attack on Rome. Only the tears of his wife and his mother caused him to spare the city. The angry and frustrated Volscians put him to death. Plutarch tells the story, and Shakespeare's Coriolanus is based on Plutarch.
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class-conscious and contemptuous leader. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus]
stiff-necked Roman aristocrat; contemptuous of the common people. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Gaius Marcius . 5th century bc, a legendary Roman general, who allegedly led an army against Rome but was dissuaded from conquering it by his mother and wife
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005