Mucia (gens)

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Gaius Mucius Scaevola in the Presence of Lars Porsena (early 1640s), oil painting by Matthias Stom (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

The gens Mucia was an ancient and noble patrician house at Rome. The gens is first mentioned at the earliest period of the Republic, but in later times the family was known primarily by its plebeian branches.[1]

Origin[edit]

The first of the Mucii to appear in history is Gaius Mucius Scaevola, a young man at the inception of the Roman Republic. According to legend, he volunteered to infiltrate the camp of Lars Porsena, the king of Clusium, who besieged Rome c. 508 BC, and who may in fact have captured and held the city for some time. Mucius, armed with a dagger, attempted to assassinate Porsena, but unfamiliar with Etruscan dress, he mistook the king's secretary for the king, and was captured.

Brought before the king, Mucius declared that he was but one of three hundred Roman men who had sworn to carry out this mission, or die in the attempt. As a show of bravery, it was said that he thrust his right hand into a brazier, and stood silently as it burned. Porsena was so impressed by his courage and endurance that Mucius was freed, and some traditions held that Porsena withdrew his army in fear of the threat of assassination invented by the young Roman.[2]

Praenomina[edit]

The chief praenomina used by the Mucii were Publius, Quintus, and Gaius, all of which were very common throughout Roman history.

Branches and cognomina[edit]

The only major family of the Mucii bore the cognomen Scaevola. This surname is said to have been acquired by Gaius Mucius, who lost the use of his right hand following his attempt on the life of Lars Porsena, and was subsequently called Scaevola because only his left hand remained. The similar cognomen, Scaeva, which occurs in other gentes, including among the Junii, is generally assumed to mean "left handed",[i] and Scaevola could be a diminutive form; but in ordinary usage, scaevola referred to an amulet.[3]

The only other important cognomen of the Mucii was Cordus, borne by some of the Scaevolae. According to some traditions, Gaius Mucius was originally surnamed Cordus, and assumed the surname Scaevola on account of his deed before Porsena. However, it may be that the tradition concerning his right hand was a later addition to the story, intended to explain the descent of the Mucii Scaevolae from one of the heroes of the Republic. Although Gaius Mucius was a patrician, the later Mucii Scaevolae were plebeians.[4][5]

Members[edit]

This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Scaeva could also refer to a favourable omen.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. II, p. 1117 ("Mucia Gens").
  2. ^ Livy, ii. 12, 13.
  3. ^ The New College Latin & English Dictionary, s. v. scaeva, scaevola.
  4. ^ Livy, ii. 13.
  5. ^ Varro, De Lingua Latina, vi. 5.
  6. ^ Livy, ii. 13.
  7. ^ Niebuhr, History of Rome, vol. i, "The War with Porsenna".
  8. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 235.
  9. ^ Livy, xxiii. 24, 30, 34, 40, xxiv. 9, 44, xxv. 3, xxvii. 8.
  10. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 235, 236 (note 1), 255.
  11. ^ Livy, xl. 44, xli. 19.
  12. ^ Fasti Triumphales.
  13. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 401, 403 (note 1).
  14. ^ Livy, xl. 44, xlii. 49, 67.
  15. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 403.
  16. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Tiberius Gracchus", c. 9.
  17. ^ Cicero, Pro Plancio, c. 36, De Domo Sua, c. 34, De Oratore, i. 50, Brutus, c. 28.
  18. ^ Digesta, 1. tit. 2. s. 2. § 9; 24. tit. 3. s. 66; 50. tit. 7. s. 17; 49. tit. 15. s. 4.
  19. ^ Valerius Maximus, viii. 8, 2.
  20. ^ Quintilian, xi. 2.
  21. ^ Zimmern, Geschichte des Römischen Privatrechts, vol. i, p. 277.
  22. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 492.
  23. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Tiberius Gracchus", 9, 21.
  24. ^ Cicero, "De Oratore", i. 37, 56, Brutus, 26, 33.
  25. ^ Livy, Epitome, 59.
  26. ^ Gellius, i. 13.
  27. ^ Valerius Maximus, viii. 7. § 6.
  28. ^ Digesta, 1. tit. 2. s. 2. § 40, ff.
  29. ^ Drumann, Geschichte Roms, "Licinii Crassi", No. 21.
  30. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 499, 500.
  31. ^ Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia, 8, c. 1, Brutus, c. 26, 35, De Finibus, i. 3, De Oratore, i. 17, ii. 70, Philippicae, viii. 10, Pro Balbo, c. 20.
  32. ^ Valerius Maximus, iii. 8, iv. 1. § 11, iv. 5. § 4, viii. 12. § 1.
  33. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 523, 524, 529, 530 (note 1).
  34. ^ Cicero, Brutus, 58. § 211, De Oratore, iii. 12.
  35. ^ Valerius Maximus, viii. 8. § 1.
  36. ^ Quintilian, i. 1. § 6.
  37. ^ Asconius Pedianus, In Ciceronis Pro Scauro, p. 19 (ed. Orelli).
  38. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, v. 2, Epistulae ad Atticum, i. 12.
  39. ^ Cassius Dio, xxxvii. 49, xlviii. 16, li. 2, lvi. 38.
  40. ^ Appian, Bellum Civile, v. 69, 72.
  41. ^ Suetonius, "The Life of Caesar", 50.
  42. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Pompeius", 42.
  43. ^ Zonaras, x. 5.
  44. ^ St. Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum, i. 48.
  45. ^ Cicero, De Officiis, i. 32, iii. 11, 15, De Oratore, i. 39, iii. 3, Pro Roscio Amerino, 12, Brutus, 39, 52, 89, De Legibus, ii. 20.
  46. ^ Velleius Paterculus, ii. 26.
  47. ^ Florus, iii. 21.
  48. ^ Lucan, ii. 126.
  49. ^ Appian, Bellum Civile, i. 88.
  50. ^ Valerius Maximus, ix. 11.
  51. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Sulla", c. 25.
  52. ^ Digesta, 41. tit. 1. s. 64; 43 tit. 20. s. 8; 50 tit. 16. s. 241; tit. 17. s. 73; 35. tit. 1. s. 7, 77, 79, ff.
  53. ^ Broughton, vol. II, pp. 11, 37.
  54. ^ PIR, vol. I, p. 387.
  55. ^ Tacitus, Historiae, i. 10, 76, ii. 4, 5, 76–84, iii. 8, 46, 53, 78, iv. 4, 11, 39, 80, 85.
  56. ^ Suetonius, "The Life of Vespasian", 6, 13.
  57. ^ Cassius Dio, lxv. 8, 9, 22, lxvi. 2, 9, 13.
  58. ^ Josephus, Bellum Judaïcum, iv. 10, 11.
  59. ^ Pliny the Elder, xii. 1. s. 5, xxviii. 2. § 5, xxxiv. 7. s. 17 ff.
  60. ^ Vossius, De Historicis Latinis, i. 27, p. 140.
  61. ^ Westermann, Geschichte der Beredtsamkeit, § 82, n. 19.

Bibliography[edit]