The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Decia Gens – Magn



the troops he could collect to Illyria, and, reject­ing the pacific though insulting overtures of De­cebalus, committed the chief command to Cor­nelius Fuscus at that time praefect of the praeto-rium, an officer whose knowledge of war was de­rived from studies prosecuted within the halls of a marble palace amid the luxuries of a licentious court. The imperial general having passed the frontier on a bridge of boats at the head of a numerous army, perished after a most disastrous campaign, and the legions were compelled to-re­treat with the loss of many prisoners, an eagle, and the whole of their baggage and artillery. This failure again called forth Domitian from the city, but although he repaired to Moesia for the ostensible purpose of assuming the direction of affairs, he carefully abstained from exposing his person to the dangers of a military life, and moving from town to town, abandoned himself to his foul appetites, while his officers sustained fresh dis­honour and defeat. Occasional glimpses of success, however, appear from time to time to have checked the victorious career of the barbarians, and espe­cial mention is made of the exploits of a certain Julianus, who, in an engagement near Tapae, de­stroyed great numbers of the foe, and threatened even the royal residence, while Vezinas, who held the second place in the Dacian kingdom, escaped with difficulty by casting himself among the slain, and feigning death until the danger was past. At length Domitian, harassed by an unprofitable and protracted struggle, and alarmed by the losses sus­tained in his contest with the Quadi and Mar-comanni, was constrained to solicit a peace which he had more than once refused to grant. Dece-balus despatched his brother, Diegis or Degis by name, to conclude a treaty, by whom some pri­soners and captured arms were restored, and a regal diadem received in return. But the most important and disgraceful portion of the compact was for a time carefully concealed. Notwith­standing his pompous pretensions to victory and the mockery of a triumph, the emperor had been compelled to purchase the forbearance of his antagonist by a heavy ransom, had engaged to furnish him with a large body of artificers skilled in fabricating all instruments for the arts of peace or war, and, worst of all, had submitted to an unheard of degradation by consenting to pay an annual tribute. These occurrences are believed to have happened between the years a.d. 86—90, but both the order and the details of the different events are presented in a most confused and per­plexing form by ancient authorities.

Trajan soon after his accession determined to wipe out the stain contracted by his predecessor, and at once refused to fulfil the conditions of the league. Quitting the city in his fourth consulship (a.d. 101), he led an army in person against the Dacians, whom he defeated near Tapae, the scene of their former misfortune, after an obstinate struggle, in which both parties suffered severely. Pressing onwards, a second victory was gained by Lusius Quietus, commander of the Moorish cavalry, many strongholds were stormed, the spoils and trophies taken from Fuscus were recovered, and the capital, Sannazegetusa (Zepfjufreyedofaa), was invested. Decebalus having in vain attempted to temporize, was at length compelled to repair to the presence of the prince, and to submit to the terms imposed by the conqueror, who demanded not only


the restitution of all plunder, but the cession of a large extent of territory. Trajan then returned to Rome, celebrated a triumph, and assumed the title of Dacicus. The war having been, however, soon renewed (a. d. 104), he resolved upon the permanent occupation of the regions beyond the Danube, threw a bridge of stone across the river about six miles below the rapid, now known as the Iron Gates, and being thus enabled to maintain his communications with ease and certainty, suc­ceeded, after encountering a desperate resistance, in subjugating the whole district, and reducing it to the form of a province. (a.d. 105.) Decebalus, having seen his palace captured and his country enslaved, perished by his own hands, that he might not fall alive into those of the inva­ders. His head was sent to Rome, and his trea­sures, which had been ingeniously concealed beneath the bed of the river Sargetia, (now the Istrig, a tributary of the Marosch,) which flowed beneath the walls of his mansion, were discovered and added to the spoil.

(Dion Cass. Ixvii. 6, and note of Reimarus, 7, 10, Ixviii. 6—15; Tacit. Agric. 41; Juven. iv. and Schol.; Martial, v. 3, vi. 76; Plin. Epist. viii. 4, 9, x. 16 ; Sueton. Domit. 6 ; Eutrop. vii. 15 ; Euseb. Chron. ; Zonar. xi. 21 ; Oros. vii. 10 ; Jornand. R. G. 13, Petr. Patric. Eoccerp, leg. p. 23, ed. 1648 ; Engel, Comment, de Trajan, exped, ad Danub. Vindobon. 1794, p. 136; Mannert, Res. Traj. Imp. ad Danub. gest.y 1793 ; Franke, Gescliichte Trojans, 1837. [W. R.]

MAGN. DECE'NTIUS, the brother or cousin of Magnentius, by whom, after the death of Con-stans, he was created Caesar, A. d. 351, and raised to the consulship the following year. During the war in Gaul against the Alemanni, Decentius was defeated by Chnodomarius, the leader of the bar­barians, and upon this, or some previous occasion, the Treviri, rising in rebellion, closed their gates and refused to admit him into their city. Upon receiving intelligence of the death of Magnentius, to whose aid he was hastening, and finding that foes surrounded him on every side so as to leave no hope of escape, he strangled himself at Sens on the 18th of August, A. d. 353. The medals which assign to this prince the title of Augustus are deemed spurious by the best authorities. His name appears upon genuine coins under the form mag. or magn. decentius, leaving it doubtful whether we ought to interpret the contraction by Magnus or Magnentius.

DECIA GENS, plebeian, but of high anti­quity, became illustrious in Roman history by two members of it sacrificing themselves for the pre­servation of their country. The only cognomens

Decentius is called the brother of Magnentius by Victor, de Caes. 42, by Eutropius, x. 7, and by Zonaras, xiii. 8, 9 ; the kinsman (consanguineum,— 76J/ei ffvvcLTrTOjjizvov} by Victor, Epit. 42, and by Zosimus, ii. 45, 54. See also Amm. Marc. xv. 6. § 4, xvi. 12. § 5; Fast. Idat. [W. R.]

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of