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Trajan Decius

Emperor A.D 249 - 251

Decius was proclaimed Emperor by the legions in July, A. D. 249 after having put down a rebellion by legions under Marinus on the Danube. Decius was popular with the soldiers because of this victory and later defeated the current Roman emperor Philip and his son, Philip II in battle near Verona in Italy. Both Philip and his son were killed.

It was during the reign of Decius that the barbarian invasions began to dangerously threaten the empire. Decius was a very capable general and soundly defeated the Goths in battle. He had at first been surprised by the gothic king Cniva, who had attacked the Roman army' camp in A. D. 250. Decius and his army were later lured by the Goths into a battle on swampy ground and defeated. While the Roman soldiers with their heavy armor sunk into the mud the Goths, used to fighting on marshy ground, cut them to pieces. Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus were killed.

Decius was responsible for an intense persecution of the Christians during his reign. He believed that the decay of Roman society could be halted if he brought about a revival of the state religion and the worship of the old gods. It was during the persecution of Decius that Pope Fabian was martyred, along with Saint Cyprian in Africa and many others.


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