Decius was a leading commander in the employ of the emperor Philip I.
When several revolts broke out in different quarters of the empire Decius was
selected to push back the Goths. Dutifully, he went on his way and did so
effective a job of handling the invaders that the soldiers hailed him as their
emperor on the spot. Philip was none too amused at this and gathered his army to
meet the new usurper. A major battle was fought at their meeting point in Verona
ending with Philip's defeat.
On arrival to Rome he was well received by the people and the Senate.
However, he hardly earned any brownie points when he became a rather energetic
persecutor of Christians. Before long he was engaged in another bout of
incursions from the Goths. This time luck was not on his side and a tactical
error on his part led to the early death of his son and co-Augustus Herennius
Etruscus. Trying to marshal the spirits of his men he is recorded as brushing
off the loss with the nonchalant comment "The death of one soldier but hardly
bothers me". All for naught since his death was to follow soon after.
Speculation of contemporary biographers look suspiciously on Trebonianus Gallus,
who became emperor immediately afterwards.
AE 27 249--251 A.D.
Moesia Superior, Viminacium
Obv. IMP TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG: Laureate head right
Rev. PMS COL VIM: Moesia front, facing left with lion (Legion IV) and bull (Legion VII); ANXI in exergue, ca. 249--250 A.D.