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The name of a distinguished family of the Mucian gens.


Gaius Mucius Scaevŏla. When King Porsena was besieging Rome, G. Mucius went out of the city with the intention of killing him, but by mistake stabbed the king's secretary instead of Porsena himself. The king in his passion and alarm ordered him to be burned alive, upon which Mucius thrust his right hand into a fire which was already lighted for a sacrifice, and held it there without flinching. The king, amazed at his firmness, ordered him to be removed from the altar, and bade him go away free and uninjured. To make some return for his generous behaviour, Mucius told him that there were three hundred of the first youths of Rome who had agreed with one another to kill the king; that the lot fell on him to make the first attempt, and that the rest would do the same when their turn came. Porsena being alarmed for his life, which he could not secure against so many desperate men, made proposals of peace to the Romans, and evacuated the territory. Mucius received the name of Scaevola, or “left-handed,” from the loss of his right hand (Livy, ii. 12 and 13).


P. Mucius Scaevŏla, tribune of the plebs in B.C. 141, praetor in 136, and consul in 133, the year in which Tib. Gracchus lost his life. In 131 he succeeded his brother Mucianus as Pontifex Maximus. Scaevola was distinguished for his knowledge of the ius pontificium. His fame as a lawyer is recorded by Cicero in several passages.


Q. Mucius Scaevŏla, the augur, married the daughter of C. Laelius, the friend of Scipio Africanus the younger. He was tribune of the plebs in B.C. 128, plebeian aedile in 125, and as praetor was governor of the province of Asia in 121, the year in which C. Gracchus lost his life. He was prosecuted after his return from his province for the offence of repetundae, in 120, by T. Albucius, but was acquitted. He was consul in 117. He lived at least to the tribunate of P. Sulpicius Rufus, 88. Cicero, who was born in 106, informs us that after he had put on the toga virilis, his father took him to Scaevola, who was then an old man, and that he kept as close to him as he could, in order to profit by his remarks. After his death Cicero became a hearer of Q. Mucius Scaevola, the Pontifex. The augur was distinguished for his knowledge of the law; but none of his writings are recorded. He is one of the speakers in the treatise De Oratore, in the Laelius, and in the De Republica (i. 12).


Q. Mucius Scaevŏla, Pontifex Maximus, was tribune of the plebs in B.C. 106, curule aedile in 104, and consul in 95, with Licinius Crassus, the orator, as his colleague. After his consulship Scaevola was proconsul of Asia, in which capacity he gained the esteem of the people under his government. Subsequently he was made Pontifex Maximus. He lost his life in the consulship of C. Marius the younger and Cn. Papirius Carbo (B.C. 82), having been proscribed by the Marian party. The virtues of Scaevola are recorded by Cicero, who, after the death of the augur, became an attendant (auditor) of the Pontifex. The purity of his moral character, his exalted notions of equity and fair dealing, his abilities as an administrator, an orator, and a jurist, place him among the first of the illustrious men of all ages and countries. He is the first Roman to whom we can attribute a scientific and systematic handling of the ius civile, which he accomplished in a work in eighteen books. He also wrote a book on legal definitions, which is the oldest work quoted in the Digest.

Scalae. (Column of Trajan.)

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