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On this page: Pescennius – Pescennius Festus – Pescennius Niger – Pessinuntia – Peteos – Peticus – Petillia



up a host of enemies by openly announcing his designs before his power was firmly consolidated, thus exciting the bitter hatred of the retainers of the court and of the praetorians. So early as the 5th of January, the troops looking \>ack with regret on the ease and licence they had enjoyed under Commodus, and looking forward with disgust and apprehension to the threatened rigour of their new ruler, endeavoured, with the connivance, says Dion (Ixxiii. 8), of Laetus to force the supreme power upon a senator of high birth, Triarius Maternus Lascivius by name. Escaping with difficulty from their hands, he hastened to apprise Pertinax of his danger, who, influenced by fear, promised to con­firm all the promises made to the army by his predecessor, and thus for a time appeased their wrath. Soon after, during his temporary absence from Rome, another conspiracy was organised in favour of Falco [FALCO], perhaps without the consent of the latter, but this also was suppressed, and many soldiers were put to death upon the testimony of a slave. At length Laetus, by whose instrumentality Pertinax had been chosen emperor, resenting some rebuke, openly joined the ranks of the disaffected. By his contrivance two hundred of the praetorians marched in a body to the palace and forced their way into the interior. Pertinax, instead of endeavouring to resist or to escape, which would have been easy, thought to overawe the rebels by appearing in person, and imagined that he could persuade them by argument to forego their purpose. He therefore came forth and com­menced a solemn address in justification of his policy. At first the men shrunk back with shame, cast down their eyes and sheathed their swords, but one ferocious barbarian, a Tungrian, rushing forwards transfixed the royal orator with his weapon, upon which the rest, animated with like fury, despatched him with many wounds, and cutting off his head stuck it in triumph upon a spear. Eclectus the chamberlain alone stood man­fully by his master to the last, wounded many of the assailants, and was himself murdered upon the spot. The rest of the attendants took to flight at the beginning of the affray and escaped in all directions.


Such was the end of Pertinax on the 28th of March, A. d. 193, in the 67th year of his age, after a reign of two months and twenty-seven days. He was a man of venerable aspect, with long beard and curling locks, of commanding figure, although somewhat corpulent and troubled with lameness. He expressed himself without difficulty, and was mild and winning in his address, but was believed to be deficient in sincerity and genuine warmth of heart. (Dion Cass. Ixxi. 3—19, Ixxii. 4—9,'Ixxiii. 1_10 ; Herodian. ii. 1. § 6—]2, ii. 2. § 17, 9. § 12 ; Aur. Vict. EpiL xviii. Dion Cassius says nothing of the attempt to place Maternus upon the throne. He speaks of the conspiracy of Falco as the first ; states that upon this occasion


Pertinax made his apologetic harangue, that Laetus took advantage of this commotion to put to death a great multitude of the soldiers as if by the orders of Pertinax ; that this circumstance filled the praetorians with rage and terror, and led to the catastrophe.) [W. R.]

PESCENNIUS, a friend of Cicero's in his exile. (Cic. ad Fam. xiv. 4.)



PESSINUNTIA (Uevffivovviia or Ileom. vovvris}, a surname of Cybele, which she derived from the town of Pessinus, in Galatia. (Cic. De Harusp. Resp. 13 ; Liv. xxix. 10 ; Strab. xii. p. 567 ; Herodian, i. 11.) [L. S.]

PETEOS (nereis), a son of Orneus, and father of Menestheus, was expelled from Athens by Aegeus, and is said to have gone to Phocis, where he founded the town of Stiris. (Horn. //. ii. 552, iv. 338 ; Apollod. iii. 10. § 8 ; Paus. ii. 25. § 5, x. 35. § 5 ; Plut. Thes. 32.) [L. S.]

PETICUS, C. SULPI'CIUS, a distinguished patrician in the times immediately following the enactment of the Licinian laws. He was censor b. c. 366, the year in which a plebeian consul was first elected ; and two years afterwards, b. c. 364, he was consul with C. Licinius Calvus Stolo, the proposer of the celebrated Licinian laws. In this year a fearful pestilence visited the city, which occasioned the establishment of ludi scenici for the first time. In b. c. 362 he served as legate in the army of the plebeian consul, L. Genucius, and after the fall of the latter in battle, he repulsed the Hernici in an attack which they made upon the Roman camp. In the following year, b.c. 361, Peticus was consul a second time with his former colleague Licinius: both consuls marched against the Hernici and took the city of Ferentinum, and Peticus obtained the honour of a triumph on his return to Rome. In b. c. 358, Peticus was ap­pointed dictator in consequence of the Gauls having penetrated through the Praenestine territory as far as Pedum. The dictator established himself in a fortified camp, but in consequence of the murmurs of the soldiers, who were impatient at this inac­tivity, he at length led them to battle against the Gauls, whom he eventually conquered, but not without difficulty. He obtained a triumph in consequence of this victory, and dedicated in the Capitol a considerable quantity of gold, which was part of the spoils. In b. c. 355 he was one of the interreges for holding the elections, and in the same year was elected consul a third time with a patrician colleague, M. Valerius Poplicola, in vio­lation of the Licinian law. In b. c. 353 he was consul a fourth time with the same colleague as in his last consulship. In b. c. 351 he was interrex, and in the same year obtained the consulship for the fifth time with T. Quinctius Pennus Capito-linus. (Liv. vii. 2, 7, 9, 12—15, 17—19, 22.)

PETILLIA or PETI'LIA GENS, plebeian.. This name is frequently confounded with that of Poetelius, as for instance by Glandorp in his Ono-masticon. The Petiliii are first mentioned at the beginning of the second century b. c., and the first member of the gens, who obtained the consulship, was Q. Petillius Spurinus, b. c. 176. Under the republic the only cognomens of the Petiliii are those of capitolinus and spurinus : a few persons, who are mentioned without a surname, are given below. On coins Capitolinus is the only

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