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Scipio Africanus

also known asCivilization:Roman: Rome

Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

Era: Punic Wars
234–149 BCField of Renown:military: Consul
 Scipio yields the Spanish princess to her lover.

Scipio Africanus was the greatest Roman general of the Punic Wars, and the only Roman consul who was able to decisively defeat Hannibal. He fought under his uncle and father during the early years of the Second Punic War, and was present at the battles of Ticinus, Trebia, and Cannae. He then followed his father to Spain, and there distinguished himself as both a general, and as a capable leader. He was elected proconsul of Spain in 211 B.C., and by 209 B.C. had conquered New Carthage. There is a famous story told of a beautiful maiden who was brought to him after a great battle. Instead of taking her for himself he returned her to her family and fiancÚ, thereby winning himself a reputation for justice and mercy among the Spanish population. He subdued all of Carthage's Spanish empire, and then returned to Rome, to help drive Hannibal out of Italy. He was elected Consul in 205 B.C., intending to take the war to Africa, in order to force Hannibal out of his mountain stronghold in southern Italy, but he encountered great resistance from his enemies in the Senate. He finally prevailed in his plans, and the Roman victory at the battle of Zama finally brought the Second Punic War to a close.

The Scipios were a controversial family, and had many powerful enemies, including Cato the Censor. Scipio Africanus was a man of culture, who could speak and write Greek fluently, and was an excellent orator. His political enemies despised his luxurious habits, and accused him of bribery and other misdeeds during the wars in the East against Antiochus III. He eventually retired to the country, nearly ruined by his enemies. His daughter was Cornelia, mother of the famous Gracchi.

Key events during the life of Scipio Africanus

Year Event
218 BC Fought under his father at Ticinus.
216 BC Survived the battle of Cannae.
211 BC Elected to proconsulship in Spain, upon the death of his father and uncle.
209 BC Conquered New Carthage—established reputation as a great general.
205 BC Elected consul. Tried to go to Africa, but prevented by enemies in Rome.
204 BC Went to Africa, and allied with Numidians against Carthage.
202 BC Hannibal returned to Africa to fight Scipio at the battle of Zama.
183 BC Retired to the country outside Rome.


Story LinksBook Links
Scipio  in  Hannibal  by  Abbott
Early History of Spain  in  Romance of Spanish History  by  Abbott
Hannibal's Last Battle  in  Helmet and Spear  by  Church
Of Scipio Aemilianus Africanus in  Stories from Roman History  by  Dalkeith
Scipio Africanus  in  Famous Men of Rome  by  Haaren
Scipio  in  Soldiers and Sailors  by  Horne
Capture of New Carthage  in  Story of Rome  by  Macgregor
End of Carthage  in  On the Shores of the Great Sea  by  Synge
How Hannibal Fought and Died  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Morris
From the Beginning  in  Child's History of Spain  by  Bonner
Inventor Archimedes  in  Story of the Romans  by  Guerber

Image Links
Bust of Scipio  in Stories from Ancient Rome Scipio Yields the Spanish Princess to her Lover  in Greatest Nations: Rome Scipio Africanus in Soldiers and Sailors
Generosity of Scipio  in Soldiers and Sailors His progress was as that of a king.  in Story of Rome

Contemporary Short Biography
Cato (the censor) Roman censor, urged destruction of Carthage before third Punic War.
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Marcellus Besieged Syracuse during the second Punic War, but the ingenious war weapons of Archimedes frustrated the Romans.
Hasdrubal Barca Fought against Scipios in Spain; killed after he crossed the Alps to aid Hannibal.