Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Roman General: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

Born Publius Cornelius Scipio, about 234 B.C., better known as Scipio Africanus the Elder

After being present at the Roman defeats of the Ticinus (218), the Trebia (218), and Cannae (216), Scipio was given the proconsular command in Spain in 210 B.C.

He captured New Carthage (now Cartagena) the next year and completed his conquest of Spain by 206 B.C. His success countered Carthaginian victories in Italy under Hannibal and won Scipio a consulship in 205 B.C. He then attacked Carthage itself and forced Hannibal's recall from Italy.

In 207 he continued the war in Africa, and, for his defeat of the Carthaginian and Numidian armies in 203 and for his victory over Hannibal at Zama (202), he received the title Africanus.

At the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C. he routed Hannibal's army, ending the war and securing Roman supremacy in the western Mediterranean. For this victory he was honored with the new name "Africanus."

In 190 he defeated Antiochus III of Syria at Magnesia, but he became the object of an attack in the Senate, which his popularity with the people helped him to defeat. His daughter, Cornelia, became the mother of the Gracchi. Scipio was the greatest general of his time, a brilliant orator, and a noted Greek scholar.

He died in about 183 B.C.

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