"Mucius mistook the secretary for Porsena and rushed forward and stabbed him to death. Instantly the daring Roman was seized by the guards. . . Porsena jumped from his seat in a great fury and threatened to burn Mucius to death if he did not at once tell all about the others who were coming to kill him. But Mucius was not frightened, and to show how little he cared about the king's threat he thrust his right hand into the flame of a fire which had been lighted close by and held it there without flinching. At the same time he cried out to the king:

'Behold how little we Romans care for pain when it is to defend our country.'

Porsena was astonished at this sight, and he so much admired the courage and patriotism of the Roman that he ordered the guards to set him free. . .

The Senate rewarded Mucius by giving him a tract of land on the banks of the Tiber. This land was afterwards called the Mucian Meadows. Mucius himself got the name of Sçævola, a word which means left-handed. He had lost the use of his right hand by burning it in the fire." - Famous Men of Rome, John H. Haaren & A. B. Poland

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©2006 Hannibal Taubes