4. P. Decius
, according to Cicero (de Orat.
2.31) and Aurelius Victor (de Vir. Ill.
72), whereas Livy (Liv. Epit. 61
) calls him Q. Decius, was tribune of the people in B. C. 120. L. Opimius, who had been consul the year before, was brought to trial by the tribune Decius for having caused the murder of C. Gracchus, and for having thrown citizens into prison without a judicial verdict.
The enemies of Decius asserted that he had been induced by bribes to bring forward this accusation. Four years later, B. C. 115, Decius was praetor urbanus, and in that year he gave great offence to M. Aemilius Scaurus, who was then consul, by keeping his seat when the consul passed by him.
The haughty Scaurus turned round and ordered him to rise, but when Decius refused, Scaurus tore his gown and broke the chair of Decius to pieces; at the same time he commanded that no one should justice at the hands of the refractory praetor.
It is not improbable that the hostile feeling between the two men may have arisen from the fact that Scaurus had induced Opimius to take up arms against C. Gracchus, to whose party Decius evidently belonged. Cicero speaks of Decius as an orator who emulated M. Fulvius Flaccus, the friend of C. Gracchus, and remarks that he was as turbulent in his speeches as he was in life.
It is probably this Decius who is alluded to in a fragment of the poet Lucilius, which is preserved by Cicero. (De Orat.
2.62, comp. 2.30, 31, Brut.
28, Part. orat.