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Decius


1.

Publius Decius Mus, a celebrated Roman consul, who, after many glorious exploits, devoted himself to the Manes for the safety of his country in a battle against the Latins, B.C. 337. His son, Decius, imitated his example, and devoted himself in like manner in his fourth consulship, when fighting against the Gauls and the Samnites at Sentinum, B.C. 296. His grandson is said to have done the same in the war against Pyrrhus and the Tarentines, B.C. 280 (Liv.vii. 21 foll.; id. viii. 10; Val. Max. v. 6).


2.

Gaius Messius Quintus Traiānus. A native of Pannonia, sent by the emperor Philip to put down a sedition in Moesia. Instead of obeying his master's command, he assumed the imperial purple. His disaffected troops, it is said, forced him to this step. The emperor immediately marched against him, and a battle was fought near Verona, which terminated successfully for Decins, and Philip was either slain in the conflict or put to death after he fell into the conqueror's power. This took place A.D. 249, and from this period is dated the commencement of the reign of Decius. It was one of short duration, about two years. During this time, however, he proved a very cruel persecutor of the Christians. He greatly signalized himself against the Persians, but was slain in an action with the Goths, who had invaded his dominions. In advancing upon them he was, with the greater part of his troops, entangled in a morass, where, being surrounded by the enemy, he perished under a shower of darts, A.D. 251, aged fifty years. See Victor, De Caes. 29; Eutrop. ix. 4; Euseb. Hist. Eccles. vi. 39, etc.; Zonar. xii. 19, 20.

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