Scaevola in Roman Biography

Scaevola, seVo-la, [Fr. Scevole, si'vol',] (C. Mu- Cius,) a Roman, who, according to the ancient legends, went to the camp of Porsena, then besieging Rome, and attempted to kill him with a dagger. He was seized by the guards of the king, who ordered him to be put to death. Scasvola, it is said, held his right hand in a fire, which was at hand, until it was consumed, so that Porsena, struck with admiration at his extraordinary fortitude, spared his life. From this circumstance he is said to have received the surname of Scaevola, or " lefthanded."

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Scaevola in Wikipedia

Gaius Mucius Scaevola was a noble and probably mythical Roman youth, famous for his bravery. When the Etruscan king Lars Porsenna held Rome under siege, Gaius Mucius famously sneaked into the Etruscan camp and attempted to murder Porsenna. His plot failed because he misindentified Porsenna and killed the wrong man. Mucius was captured. He famously declared to Porsenna: "I am Gaius Mucius, a citizen of Rome. I came here as an enemy to kill my enemy, and I am as ready to die as I am to kill. We Romans act bravely and, when adversity strikes, we suffer bravely." He also declared that he was one of three hundred other Romans willing to give their own life to kill Porsenna.(Ab Urbe Condita, II.12) Porsenna, fearful and angry, ordered Mucius to be cast into the flames. Mucius stoically accepted this punishment, preempting Porsenna by thrusting his hand into that same fire and giving no sign of pain. Impressed by the youth's courage, Porsenna freed Mucius. Because of his maimed right hand, Mucius was forever after known as Scaevola ("lefty" or "left-handed"). (Ab Urbe Condita, II.13) See Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (II.12-13) for the full story of Scaevola.

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Scaevŏla in Harpers Dictionary

Gaius Mucius Scaevŏla. When King Porsena was besieging Rome, G. Mucius went out of the city with the intention of killing him, but by mistake stabbed the king's secretary instead of Porsena himself. The king in his passion and alarm ordered him to be burned alive, upon which Mucius thrust his right hand into a fire which was already lighted for a sacrifice, and held it there without flinching. The king, amazed at his firmness, ordered him to be removed from the altar, and bade him go away free and uninjured. To make some return for his generous behaviour, Mucius told him that there were three hundred of the first youths of Rome who had agreed with one another to kill the king; that the lot fell on him to make the first attempt, and that the rest would do the same when their turn came. Porsena being alarmed for his life, which he could not secure against so many desperate men, made proposals of peace to the Romans, and evacuated the territory. Mucius received the name of Scaevola, or "left-handed," from the loss of his right hand (Livy, ii. 12 and 13).

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