Trajan Decius

Trajan Decius

September 249 – June 251
PredecessorPhilip I “the Arab”
SuccessorTrebonianus Gallus and Hostilian
Bornc. 201, Budalia, Illyricum
Died251 (aged 49–50), Abrittus, Moesia Inferior
SpouseHerenia Etruscilla
ChildrenHerennius Etruscus

His Story

Decius was a leading commander in the employ of the emperor Philip I.

When several revolts broke out in different quarters of the empire Decius was selected to push back the Goths. Dutifully, he went on his way and did so effective a job of handling the invaders that the soldiers hailed him as their emperor on the spot.

Philip was none too amused at this and gathered his army to meet the new usurper. A major battle was fought at their meeting point in Verona ending with Philip’s defeat.

On arrival to Rome he was well received by the people and the Senate. However, he hardly earned any brownie points when he became a rather energetic persecutor of Christians.

Before long he was engaged in another bout of incursions from the Goths. This time luck was not on his side and a tactical error on his part led to the early death of his son and co-Augustus Herennius Etruscus.

Trying to marshall the spirits of his men he is recorded as brushing off the loss with “The death of one soldier but hardly bothers me”.

Despite this bit of battlefield hubris his own death was to come moments later. Speculation of contemporary biographers look suspiciously on Trebonianus Gallus, who became emperor immediately afterwards.

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