Decius

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Gaius Messius Quintus Decius (ca. 201 – June 251) was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until both of them were killed in the Battle of Abrittus.

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Early life and rise to power

Decius, who was born at Budalia, now Martinci, Serbia near Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica), in Lower Pannonia was one of the first among a long succession of future Roman Emperors to originate from the province of Illyricum in the Danube.[1] Unlike some of his immediate imperial predecessors such as Philip the Arab or Maximinus, Decius was a distinguished senator who had served as consul in 232, had been governor of Moesia and Germania Inferior soon afterwards, served as governor of Hispania Tarraconensis between 235–238, and was urban prefect of Rome during the early reign of Emperor Philip the Arab (Marcus Iulius Phillipus).[2]

Around 245, Emperor Philip entrusted Decius with an important command on the Danube. By the end of 248 or 249, Decius was sent to quell the revolt of Pacatianus and to rid the region of the Goths, Germans and Dacian Carpi who had flooded in during the crisis [3] and his troops in Moesia and Pannonia;[4] the soldiers were enraged because of the peace treaty signed between Philip and the Sassanids. Once arrived, the troops forced Decius to assume the imperial dignity himself instead. Decius still protested his loyalty to Philip, but the latter advanced against him and was killed near Verona, Italy. The Senate then recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus as a reference to the good emperor Trajan. As the Byzantine historian Zosimus later noted:

Decius was therefore clothed in purple and forced to undertake the [burdens of] government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness.[5]

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