1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mus

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MUS, the name of a Roman family of the plebeian Decian gens. (1) Publius Decius Mus won his first laurels in the Samnite War, when in 343 B.C., while serving as tribune of the soldiers, he rescued the Roman main army from an apparently hopeless position (Livy vii. 34). In 340, as consul with T. Manlius Torquatus as colleague, he commanded in the Latin War. The decisive battle was fought near Mt Vesuvius. The consuls, in consequence of a dream, had agreed that the general whose troops first gave way should devote himself to destruction, and so ensure victory. The left wing under Decius became disordered, whereupon, repeating after the chief pontiff the solemn formula of self-devotion he dashed into the ranks of the Latins, and met his death (Livy viii. 9). (2) His son, also called Publius, consul for the fourth time in 295, followed the example of his father at the battle of Sentinum, when the left wing which he commanded was shaken by the Gauls (Livy x. 28). The story of the elder Decius is regarded by Mommsen as an unhistorical “doublette” of what is related on better authority of the son.