Year 439 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lanatus and Barbatus (or, less frequently, year 315 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 439 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Dominicalendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Spurius Maelius, a wealthy Roman plebeian, tries to buy popular support with the aim of making himself king. During the severe famine affecting Rome, he buys up a large store of grain and sells it at a low price to the people of Rome – the first time this had been done in Rome. This leads Lucius Minucius, the patricianpraefectus annonae ("president of the market"), to accuse Maelius of seeking to take over the government.
Maelius is summoned before Cincinnatus (who has again become dictator of the Roman Republic, to put down a revolt by the plebeians), but refuses to appear. Shortly thereafter, Maelius is killed by Gaius Servilius Ahala and his house is burnt to the ground.