The Ancient Library

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On this page: Decrianus – Decula – Deianeira – Deicoon



Ibaitle near Abricium late in the year a.d. 251. After a deadly struggle, their desperate valour, aided by the incautious confidence of the Romans, prevailed. The son of the emperor was slain by an arrow, while Decius himself, with his best troops, became entangled in a marsh, and; were cut to pieces or engulfed.

Some proceedings in the civil administration of this epoch, which at first sight would be con­sidered as wholly without connexion with each other, but which were in reality intended to promote the accomplishment of the same object, deserve special attention. The increasing weak­ness of the state was every day becoming more painfully apparent, and the universal corruption of public morality was justly regarded as a deep-seated canker which must be eradicated, before any powerful effort could be made for restoring health­ful vigour to the body politic. Two remedies sug­gested themselves, and were immediately called into action. It was determined to revive the censorship and to persecute the Christians. It was hoped that, by the first, order and decency might be revived in the habits of social life; it was imagined that, by the second, the national re­ligion might be restored to its ancient purity, and that Rome might regain the favour of her gods. The death of Decius prevented the new censor, Valerian, the same who afterwards became em­peror, from exerting an authority which could scarcely have produced any beneficial change ; but the eager hate of Pagan zealots was more prompt in taking advantage of the imperial edict, and made much havoc in the church; Rome, Antioch, and Jerusalem, lamented the martyrdom of their bishops Fabianus, Babylas, and Alexander ;. Origen was subjected to cruel tortures, while Alexandria was the scene of a bloody massacre. In Africa, vast numbers, falling away from the truth, dis­owned their belief, and after the danger was past, the readmission of these renegades, comprehended under the general appellation of Lapsi, gave rise to various bitter controversies, which distracted for a long period the ecclesiastical councils of the west. [CypRiANUs.]

Of the general character of Decius it is im­possible to speak with certainty, for our authori­ties are scanty, and the shortness of his public career afforded little opportunity for its develop­ment. Victor pronounces a warm panegyric, de­claring that his disposition was most amiable, that he was highly accomplished, mild and affable in his civil relations, and a gallant warrior in the field. Zosimus and the Christian historians, writ­ing under the influence of strong feeling, have severally represented him as a model of justice, valour, liberality, and all kingly virtues, or as a monster of iniquity and savage cruelty, while even, in modern times, the tone adopted by Tillemont on the one hand, and by Gibbon on the other, can


scarcely be pronounced fair or dispassionate, the language of the latter especially being such as to mislead the unlearned reader both as to the nature and extent of our information, and to induce him to conclude that we posses materials for pronouncing a judgment which do not in reality exist,

(Victor, de Caes. 29 ; Epit. 29 ; Eutrop. ix. 4 ; Trebell. Pollio Valerian, c. 1 ; Euseb. Hist, Eccles. vi. 39, &c; Zosim. i. 21—23; Zonar. xii. 19, 20; Jornandes, IL G. c. 16, &c. For the family of Decius, see herennia etruscilla, herennius etruscus, hostilianus.) [W. R.j DE'CIUS, a Roman statuary, by whom there was an admired colossal head in the Capitol. He perhaps lived in the first century b. c., but his date is very doubtful. [chares.] [P. S.]

DECRIANUS, a sophist of Patrae, who is mentioned with great praise by Lucian. (Asin. 2.) Nothing more is known of him. [P. S.]

DECRIANUS, an architect and mechanician in the time of Hadrian, who employed him to move the colossus of Nero, which stood in front of the golden house. The work was effected by the aid of twenty-four elephants. (Spartian, Had. 19, where different critics read Decrianus, Detrianus, Dentrianus, Dextriamis, and Demetrianus.) [P. S.] DE'CRIUS, commanded a stronghold in Africa during the insurrection of Tacfarinas in A. d. 20. He was a brave and skilful soldier, and led his men out to an open battle, as he did not like the inactivity of a besieged. II e had only a few soldiers, and they were not of the best kind; but although he was seriously wounded, he continued to fight like a lion, until he fell. (Tac. Ann. iii. 20.) [L. S.] DE'CTADES(Ae/rra57)s), is mentioned by Par- thenius (Erot. 13) as an author from whom he relates the story about Harpalyce. We may thus infer that he wrote on mythical subjects. [L. S.] DE'CTION (Ae/cTiW), a Greek grammarian, who wrote a commentary on Lycophron's Cassan­ dra, which is referred to in the Etymologicum Magnum (s. v. tjttlos ; comp. Valckenaer, Eurip. Hippdyt. p. 291.) [L. S.]

DECULA, M. TU'LLIUS, was consul in b. c. 81, with Cornelius Dolabella, during the dictator­ ship of Sulla; but the consuls of that year were only nominal, as Sulla had all the power in his hands. (Cic. de Leg. Ayr. ii. 14 ; Gellius, xv. 28 ; Appian, B. C. i. 100.) [L. S.]

DEIANEIRA (Arji'dveipa). 1. A daughter of Althaea by Oeneus, Dionysus, or Dexamenus (Apollod. i, 8. § 1 ; Hygin. Fab. 31, 33), and a sister of Meleager, When Meleager died, his sisters lamented his death at his grave; Artemis in her anger touched them with her staff, and changed them into birds, with the exception of Deianeira and Gorge, who were allowed, by the solicitation of Dionysus, to retain their human forms. (Antonin. Lib. 2.) Subsequently Achelous and Heracles, who both loved Deianeira, fought for the possession of her. She became the wife of Hera­cles, and afterwards unwittingly caused his death, whereupon she hung herself. (Apollod. ii. 7. § 5, 6. •§ 7 ; Diod. iv. 34, -&c.; comp. achelous ; heracles ; dexamenus.)

2. One of the daughters of Nereus and Doris* (Apollod. i. 2. § 7.) [L. S.]

DEICOON (A7?i/«W). 1. A son of Heracles by Megara, was killed by his own father during his ravings. (Apollod. ii. 7. § 8 ; Schol. ad Horn. Od. ix. 268.)

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