F Heritage History | Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
Front Matter The Lady Roma The She-Wolf The Twin Boys Numitor's Grandson The Sacred Birds The Founding of Rome The Sabine Maidens The Tarpeian Rock The Mysterious Gate The King Disappears The Peace-Loving King Horatius Slays His Sister Pride of Tullus Hostilius King Who Fought and Prayed The Faithless Friend A Slave Becomes a King Cruel Deed of Tullia Fate of the Town of Gabii Books of the Sibyl Industry of Lucretia Death of Lucretia Sons of Brutus Horatius Cocles Mucius Burns Right Hand The Divine Twins The Tribunes Coriolanus and His Mother The Roman Army in a Trap The Hated Decemvirs The Death of Verginia The Friend of the People Camillus Captures Veii The Statue of the Goddess Schoolmaster Traitor Battle of Allia The Sacred Geese The City Is Rebuilt Volscians on Fire Battle on the Anio The Curtian Lake Dream of the Two Consuls The Caudine Forks Caudine Forks Avenged Fabius among the Hills Battle of Sentinum Son of Fabius Loses Battle Pyrrhus King of the Epirots Elephants at Heraclea Pyrrthus and Fabricius Pyrrhus is Defeated Romans Build a Fleet Battle of Ecnomus Roman Legions in Africa Regulus Taken Prisoner Romans Conquer the Gauls The Boy Hannibal Hannibal Invades Italy Hannibal Crosses the Alps Battle of Trebia Battle of Lake Trasimenus Hannibal Outwits Fabius Fabius Wins Two Victories Battle of Cannae Despair of Rome Defeat of Hasdrubal Claudius Enjoy a Triumph Capture of New Carthage Scipio Sails to Africa Romans Set Fire to Camp Hannibal Leaves Italy The Battle of Zama Scipio Receives a Triumph Flamininus in Garlands Death of Hannibal Hatred of Cato for Carthage The Stern Decree Carthaginians Defend City Destruction of Carthage Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi Tiberius and Octavius Death of Tiberius Gracchus Death of Gaius Gracchus The Gold of Jugurtha Marius Wins Notice of Scipio Marius Becomes Commander Capture of Treasure Towns Capture of Jugurtha Jugurtha Brought to Rome Marius Conquers Teutones Marius Mocks the Ambassadors Metellus Driven from Rome Sulla Enters Rome The Flight of Marius Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius Marius Returns to Rome The Orator Aristion Sulla Besieges Athens Sulla Fights the Samnites The Proscriptions of Sulla The Gladiators' Revolt The Pirates Pompey Defeats Mithridates Cicero Discovers Conspiracy Death of the Conspirators Caesar Captured by Pirates Caesar Gives up Triumph Caesar Praises Tenth Legion Caesar Wins a Great Victory Caesar Invades Britain Caesar Crosses Rubicon Caesar and the Pilot The Flight of Pompey Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr Caesar is Loaded with Honours Nobles Plot against Caesar The Assassination of Caesar Brutus Speaks to Citizens Antony Speaks to Citizens The Second Triumvirate Battle of Philippi Death of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra Battle of Actium Antony and Cleopatra Die Emperor Augustus

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




Scipio Sails to Africa

It was not usual to award a triumph to a Roman citizen who had been neither a prætor nor a Consul.

Yet it may be that when Scipio returned to Italy in 206 B.C. he hoped to receive this honour, for he had served the State loyally and successfully.

The people clamoured for the honour to be given to their favourite. So the Senate assembled in the temple of Bellona, which stood outside the walls of the city, to meet Scipio, and hear what he had accomplished in Spain.

If a triumph was to be awarded to him, he must, as was the custom, stay without the city gates until he entered it to celebrate the great occasion.

It was a noble record to which the Senate listened. Scipio had fought with four generals and four armies, and had been victor in every battle and over each general. Nor was a single Carthaginian soldier left in Spain.

In spite of the splendour of his achievements a triumph was not decreed to the young soldier. Partly, perhaps, because among the senators were some who did not care to forsake old customs, while others did not wish to encourage so ambitious a youth as Scipio. They did not know to what his ambitions might lead, and they were afraid.

But although Scipio entered Rome as a private citizen, he did so with all the pomp and splendour that he could muster. And the people flocked around him, and cheered him, it may be, the more lustily that he had been denied the triumph which would have been his had he held the rank of Consul.

Soon after this the election of Consuls for the year 205 B.C. took place.

From far and near the people flocked to Rome, not only to vote, but to see the man who had driven the Carthaginians from Spain.

In spite of the opposition of the Senate, Scipio was one of the Consuls chosen. The Senate feared that he would now persist in his wish to carry on the Carthaginian war in Africa. They had already done their utmost to discourage this, his great ambition.

Still, as the colleague of Scipio had duties which would keep him in Rome, it was plain that if one Consul was sent to a foreign province that one must be Scipio.

Some of the senators hesitated to let the province be Africa. It seemed to them too great a risk to send an army to Africa while Hannibal was still in Italy. At the head of those opposed to Scipio was Fabius the Delayer, who was as cautious as of old.

To those who feared Hannibal's presence in Italy, Scipio explained, that to carry the war to Africa would be the quickest and surest way to get rid of the great general. For he would certainly be recalled to help in the defence of his own country. And in this, as you will hear, Scipio proved correct.

So determined was the new Consul to go to Africa that at length he declared that if the Senate refused to send him, he would appeal to the people in a popular Assembly.

With this threat, for such it really was, the Senate was indignant. It knew too well what the result of an appeal to the people would be.

After violent debates between Scipio's friends and those who were opposed to him, the Senate reluctantly gave the province of Sicily to the young Consul. And with Sicily he was given permission to cross into Africa, should he think 'the best interests of the State demanded it.'

The permission was shorn of all graciousness, for the Senate refused to allow Scipio to levy troops. Only the soldiers already serving in Sicily were put under his command.

But Scipio was not easily thwarted by difficulties. The Senate could not refuse to let him enrol volunteers. And no sooner was it known that the Consul wished for soldiers, than many flocked to his standard. For to fight under so brave and gallant a captain as Scipio was an adventure all good soldiers welcomed.

A year was spent in Sicily, where Scipio trained his volunteers. In the spring of 204 B.C. his ambition was fulfilled, for he set sail for Africa.

In his fleet the Consul had four hundred transports and forty warships, while his army was said by some to consist of twelve thousand five hundred men, by others, to reach any number within thirty-five thousand.

The fleet had assembled at the seaport town of Lilybæum, and the citizens were full of interest and excitement at the novel sight.

A great crowd gathered in the harbour in the early morning of the day fixed for the departure of the fleet. Then as a herald commanded silence, a sudden hush fell upon the people while the Consul offered a solemn prayer to all the gods and goddesses of Rome, beseeching them to grant him 'protection, victory, spoils, and a happy . . . return, after inflicting on the Carthaginian people all those evils with which they had threatened the Commonwealth of Rome.'

When the prayer ended, trumpets sounded, and the fleet sailed away amid the cheers of the onlookers.

The Carthaginians knew that Scipio was sailing to their country with an army, yet they sent no fleet to stay his course. Unhindered by the enemy, undelayed by any storm, Scipio landed on the coast of Africa at the Fair Promontory, close to the port of Utica.