Aeneadae sive Decius
This play dealt with the self-sacrifice of Decius Mus, after the example of his father, at the Battle of Sentinum against the Samnites and the Gauls in 295 b.c. (Livy, X, 27 ff.; Polyb., II, 19). R., 594 ff.
The third Samnite War, which broke out in 298, reached a crisis in 296 when the Samnite general Gellius Egnatius planned a triple assault of Samnites, Etruscans, and Gauls on Rome. No decisive struggle was fought in this year, but the Romans appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus and Publius Decius Mus to be consuls. The Etruscans failed to support Gellius, and the Samnites and Gauls retreated over1
Nonius, 483, 40: ‘Tumulti’ pro tumultus . . . Accius Aeneadis sive Decio—
Nihil neque pericli neque tumulti est, quod sciam.
Nonius, 22, 10: ‘Gliscit’ est congelascit et colligitur vel crescit vel ignescit . . . —
FabiusDice, summa ubi perduellum est? Quorsum aut quibus a partibus gliscunt?
Historical Plays in Roman Dress
Sons of Aeneas or Decius
the Apennines, pursued by the Roman consuls. The two armies met near Sentinum in 295; Fabius on the right wing steadily drove back the Samnites, but on the left the warchariots of the Gauls scattered the Roman cavalry. Decius Mus, mindful of his father’s sacrifice, devoted himself and the hosts of the enemy to the powers below and was himself killed by the Gauls. But his soldiers recovered themselves, and, with the aid of reserves sent up by Fabius, the battle was saved. The Samnites and the Gauls were now routed by Rome’s Campanian cavalry, Gellius was slain, and victory remained with the Romans.1
Shortly before daybreak a scout reports that all is still:
Nonius: ‘Tumulti’ for ‘tumultus’. . Accius in Sons of Aeneas, or Decius—
There’s no danger, nor no tumult that I know of.
Fabius questions a deserter of Clusium:a
Nonius: ‘Gliscit’ (swells up, masses) means congeals and is massed together; or grows; or takes fire . . .—
FabiusWhere’s the main body of the foe? Inform me. To what point and from what parts mass their numbers?