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Mucius Scaevola

by Micha F. Lindemans
A legendary hero from Rome's earliest history. When Porsinna and his Etruscans besieged the city, Mucius entered the enemy camp and attempted to kill Porsinna. He was unsuccessful, however, and was arrested by the guards. When he was brought before Porsinna, Mucius showed no fear and spoke in such a manly way to his enemy that Porsinna was impressed. To show his contempt for pain and torture, Mucius voluntarily placed his right hand in a fire and let it burn without showing the slightest trace of weakness. Even more impressed with this feat, Porsinna released Mucius. From that moment on, Mucius was nicknamed Scaevola ('left hand').

Livy tells of the recognition of this Roman hero: "Cauis Muscius was rewarded by the Senate with a grant of land west of the river; it was known subsequently as the Muscian Meadows ( P.120 Livy, The Early History of Rome)."


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