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given by Drumann, Geschiclite Horns, vol. iv. p. 183, &c. [G.L.]
MURRHEDIUS, a rhetorician, frequently mentioned by the elder Seneca. (Suas. 2, Controv. 2, 4, 17; &c.)
MUS, the name of a family of the plebeian Decia gens, which was renowned in early Roman history for two of its members devoting themselves to death in order to gave the republic.
1. P. decius Mus, is first mentioned in b. c. 352, when he was appointed one of the quinqueviri mensarii for the purpose of liquidating in some measure the debts of the citizens. In b. c. 343 he served as tribune of the soldiers under M. Valerius Corvus Arvina, in the Samnite war, and by his heroism saved the Roman army from the most imminent danger. While marching through the mountain passes of Samnium, the consul had allowed his army to be surrounded in a valley by the enemy: destruction seemed inevitable; when Decius offered, with the hastati and principes of the legion, in all sixteen hundred men, to seize a height which commanded the way by which the Samnites were hastening down to attack the Roman army. Here he maintained himself, notwithstanding the efforts of the Samnites to dislodge him, while the Roman army gained the summit of the mountain. In the ensuing night he broke through the Samnites who were encamped around him and joined the Roman consul, whom he forthwith persuaded to make an immediate attack upon the enemy. The result was a brilliant victory and the capture of the enemy's camp. The consul rewarded Decius with a golden crown, a hundred oxen, and a magnificent white bull with gilt horns, the army with a crown of twisted grass, an honour bestowed upon the soldier who had delivered.an army from an enemy, and his comrades gave him a similar crown. (Liv. Tii. 21, 34—37 ; Frontin. Strafog. i. 5. § 14, iv. 5. § 9 ; Aurel. Vie. de Vir. 111.26 ; Appian, Samn. 1; Cic. de Div. i. 24 ; Plin. H. N. xv'i. 4. s. 5, xxii. 5.)
In B. c. 340 Decius was consul with T. Manlius Torquatus, and he and his colleague had the conduct of the great Latin war. The two consuls marched into the field, and when they were encamped opposite the enemy near Capua a vision in the night appeared to each consul, announcing that the general of one side and the army of the other were devoted to the gods of the dead and the mother earth. They thereupon agreed that the one whose wing first began to waver should devote himself and the army of the enemy to destruction. The decisive battle took place at the foot of Vesuvius ; and when the troops of Decius, who commanded the left wing, began to give way, he resolved to fulfil his vow. He called for the pontifex max-imus, M. Valerius, and repeated after him the form of words by which he devoted himself and the enemy to the gods of death, with his toga wrapt around his head and standing upon a weapon: he then jumped upon his horse, wearing the cinctus gabinus or sacrificial dress, rushed into the thickest of the enemy, and was slain, leaving the victory to the Romans. Such is the common story of his death; but other accounts relate it somewhat differently. Zonaras (vii. 26) says that he was killed as a devoted \ ^ctini by a Roman soldier. (Liv. viii. 3,
6, 9, 10 ; Vol. Max. i. 7. § 3, v. 6. § 5 ; Flor. i. 14 ; Frontin. Strateg. iv. 5. § 15 ; Oros. iii. 9 ; Aurel. Vict. 1. c.; Cic. in Orelli's Onorn. TulL p. 210 ; Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. iii., pp. 121, &c. 136,&c.)
2. P. decius Mus, the son of the preceding, was consul b. c. 312, with M. Valerius Maximus. Livy relates that Decius remained in Rome in consequence of illness, while his colleague prosecuted the war against the Samnites, and that he nominated a dictator at the wish of the senate, in consequence of the apprehension of a war with the Etruscans ; but Aurelius Victor, on the contrary, tells us that Decius gained a triumph over the Samnites in his first consulship, and dedicated to Ceres the booty he had obtained in the war. An inscription recording the victory of Decius in his first consulship, has been supposed by some to be genuine, but it is evidently a forgery concocted from the words of Aurelius Victor. (Liv. ix. 28, 29 ; Diod. xix. 105 ; Aurel. Vict, de Vir. III. 27 ; Orelli, Inscript. No. 546.)
In b. c. 309 Decius served as legate under the dictator L.. Papirius Cursor, in the war with the Samnites ; and in the following year, b. c. 308, he was consul a second time with Q. Fabius Maximus. While his colleague marched against the Samnites, Decius had the conduct of the war against the Etruscans, which he prosecuted with so much vigour that the Etruscans were contented to purchase a year's truce by paying and clothing the Roman army for that year. In b.c. 306 he was magister equitum to the dictator P. Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, and in b. c. 304 censor with Q. Fabius Maximus, his colleague in his second consulship, in conjunction with whom he effected the important reform in the constitution by which the libertini were confined to the four city tribes. In b. c. 300 Decius was the great advocate of the Ogulnian law for throwing open the pontificate and augurate to the plebeians, in opposition to the patrician App. Claudius Caecus ; and upon the enactment of the law in this year, he was one of the first plebeians elected into the college of pontiffs. .
In b. c. 297 Decius was elected consul a third time with his former colleague Q. Fabius Maximus, at the express wish of the latter. Both consuls marched into Samnium by different routes : Decius defeated the Apulians near Maleventum, and then traversed Samnium, and probably Apulia also, devastating the country in every direction. He continued in Samnium during the following year as proconsul, and took three Samnite towns ; but the capture of these towns is in other accounts attributed to Fabius or the new consuls.
In b. c. 295 Decius was elected consul a fourth time with his old colleague Fabius Maximus. The republic was menaced by a formidable coalition of Etruscans, Samnites, Umbrians, and Gauls; the aged Fabius was unanimously called to the consulship in order to meet the danger, but he would not accept the dignity without having his former colleague associated with him in the honour and the peril. Decius was first posted in Samnium, but subsequently hastened into Etruria to the assistance of his colleague, and commanded the left wing of the Roman army at the decisive battle of Sentinum* Here he was opposed to the Gauls, and when his troops began to give way under the terrible attacks of the latter, he resolved to imitate the example of his father, dedicated himself ,and the army of the
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