One of the most fascinating tales in the Babylonian Talmud is the story of Solomon and the demon-king Ashmedai (bGittin 68b–69a). The story involves a magic ring, a shape-shifting demon, and the shamir, a magical worm or herb that splits rocks.
Secundus the Silent was a first-century Greek philosopher who in order to prove his assertion that women were incapable of chastity, undertook successfully to seduce his own mother. Though he revealed his identity to her while the two were in bed together—before consummating the affair—her willingness, and resultant shame, led her to hang herself. Though Secundus’s point was carried, his growing sense of the dishonor of his action and its fallout led him to take a vow of silence about the event; thus his epithet.