Olga's Gallery

Peter Paul Rubens

Mucius Scaevola Before Porsenna.

1620. Oil on canvas. Szepmuveseti Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary. Read Note.

Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. Mucius  Scaevola Before Porsenna.

Mucius Scaevola Before Porsenna. The subject of the picture is taken from the early history of ancient Rome. In 509 BC the Etruscan King Porsenna besieged Rome, which had driven away their king Tarquinius and declared the Republic. Romans bravely defended their city, but the forces were not equal. Then a young Roman, Mucius Scaevola, decided to kill Porcenna. He entered the Etruscan camp and, having mistaken another man for Porcenna, killed him. He was immediately captured and put in front of Porcenna, who began to mock the young man. Then Scaevola stepped toward  a fire-camp and put his right hand into it. Despite pain, without changing the face, he said to Porcenna in calm voice that 300 young Romans had given the oath to kill the king; he, Scaevola was only the first, the others would be luckier. Porcenna was so much astonished with the young man that the next day offered Rome the peaceful agreement