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Plutarch, in his Life of Pyrrhus, relates that

“Pyrrhus in the air of his face had something more of the terrors than of the augustness of kingly power; he had not a regular set of upper teeth, but in the place of them one continued bone, with small lines marked on it, resembling the divisions of a row of teeth. It was a general belief he could cure the spleen by sacrificing a white cock and gently pressing with his right foot on the spleen of the persons as they lay down on their backs, nor was any one so poor or inconsiderable as not to be welcome, if he desired it, to the benefit of his touch. He accepted the cock for the sacrifice as a reward, and was always much pleased with the present. The large toe of that foot was said to have a divine virtue; for after his death, the rest of the body being consumed, this was found unhurt, and untouched by the fire.”

In his Life of Cato, he tells of Manius Curius.

“The little country house of Manius Curius, who had been thrice carried in triumph, happened to be near his farm; so that often going thither, and contemplating the small compass of the place, and plainness of the dwelling, he formed an idea of the mind of the person, who, being one of the greatest of the Romans, and having subdued the most warlike nations, nay, had driven Pyrrhus out of Italy, now, after three triumphs, was contented to dig in so small a piece of ground, and live in such a cottage. Here it was that the ambassadors of the Samnites, finding him boiling turnips in the chimney corner, offered him a present of gold; but he sent them away with this saying; that he, who was content with such a supper, had no need of gold; and that he thought it more honorable to conquer those who possessed the gold, than to possess the gold itself.”

His cognomen was Dentatus and, although the Oxford Latin Dictionary defines the word as "having prominent or clearly displayed teeth," the surname was given to him, relates Pliny (VII.16), because Manius actually was born with teeth.

And so Manius Curius Dentatus, born with teeth, defeated Pyrrhus, who had only a bony ridge in his mouth.

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