Today’s installment concludes Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage,
our selection from History of Rome, Book XII by Livy published in between 27 BC and 9 BC. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed a selection from the great works of seven thousand words. Congratulations!
Previously in Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage.
Time: 202 BC
Place: Zama, Tunisia
The heralds being ordered to go into Africa to strike the league, at their own desire the senate passed a decree that they should take with them flint stones of their own and vervain of their own; that the Roman praetor should command them to strike the league, and that they should demand of him herbs. The description of herb usually given to the heralds is taken from the Capitol. Thus the Carthaginians being allowed to depart from Rome, when they had gone into Africa to Scipio concluded the peace on the terms before mentioned. They delivered up their men-of-war, their elephants, deserters, fugitives, and four thousand prisoners, among whom was Quintus Terentius Culleo, a senator. The ships he ordered to be taken out into the main and burned. Some say there were five hundred of every description of those which are worked with oars, and that the sudden sight of these when burning occasioned as deep a sensation of grief to the Carthaginians as if Carthage had been in flames. The measures adopted respecting the deserters were more severe than those respecting the fugitives. Those who were of the Latin confederacy were decapitated; the Romans were crucified.
The last peace with the Carthaginians was made forty years before this in the consulate of Quintus Lutatius and Aulus Manlius. The war commenced twenty-three years afterward in the consulate of Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius. It was concluded in the seventeenth year, in the consulate of Cneius Cornelius and Publius Aelius Paetus. It is related that Scipio frequently said afterward, that first the ambition of Tiberius Claudius, and afterward of Cneius Cornelius, were the causes which prevented his terminating the war by the destruction of Carthage.
The Carthaginians finding difficulty in raising the first sum of money to be paid, as their finances were exhausted by a protracted war, and in consequence great lamentation and grief arising in the senate house, it is said that Hannibal was observed laughing, and when Hasdrubal Haedus rebuked him for laughing amid the public grief, when he himself was the occasion of the tears which were shed, he said: “If, as the expression of the countenance is discerned by the sight, so the inward feelings of the mind could be distinguished, it would clearly appear to you that that laughter which you censure came from a heart not elated with joy, but frantic with misfortunes. And yet it is not so ill-timed as those absurd and inconsistent tears of yours. Then you ought to have wept when our arms were taken from us, our ships burned, and we were forbidden to engage in foreign wars, for that was the wound by which we fell. Nor is it just that you should suppose that the measures which the Romans have adopted toward you have been dictated by animosity. No great state can remain at rest long together. If it has no enemy abroad it finds one at home in the same manner as over-robust bodies seem secure from external causes, but are encumbered with their own strength. So far, forsooth, we are affected with the public calamities as they reach our private affairs; nor is there any circumstance attending them which is felt more acutely than the loss of money. Accordingly, when the spoils were torn down from vanquished Carthage, when you beheld her left unarmed and defenseless amid so many armed nations of Africa, none heaved a sigh. Now, because a tribute is to be levied from private property you lament with one accord, as though at the funeral of the State. How much do I dread lest you should soon be made sensible that you have shed tears this day for the lightest of your misfortunes!”
Such were the sentiments which Hannibal delivered to the Carthaginians. Scipio, having summoned an assembly, presented Masinissa, in addition to his paternal dominions, with the town of Cirta, and the other cities and territories which had passed from the kingdom of Syphax into the possession of the Romans. He ordered Cneius Octavius to conduct the fleet to Sicily and deliver it to Cneius Cornelius the consul, and directed the Carthaginian ambassadors to go to Rome, that the arrangements he had made with the advice of the ten deputies might be ratified by the sanction of the fathers and the order of the people.
Peace having been established by sea and land, he embarked his troops and crossed over to Lilybæum in Sicily, whence, having sent a great part of his soldiers by ships, he himself proceeded through Italy, which was rejoicing not less on account of the peace than the victory; while not only the inhabitants of the cities poured out to show him honor, but crowds of rustics thronged the roads. He arrived at Rome and entered the city in a triumph of unparalleled splendor. He brought into the treasury one hundred and twenty-three thousand pounds of silver. He distributed to each of his soldiers four hundred asses out of the spoils. By the death of Syphax, which took place but a short time before at Tibur, whither he had been removed from Alba, a diminution was occasioned in the interest of the pageant rather than in the glory of him who triumphed. His death, however, was attended with circumstances which produced a strong sensation, for he was buried at the public expense. Polybius, an author by no means to be despised, asserts that this King was led in the triumph. Quintus Terentius Culleo followed Scipio in his triumph with a cap of liberty on his head, and during the remainder of his life treated him with the respect due to him as the author of his freedom. I have not been able to ascertain whether the partiality of the soldiers or the favor of the people fixed upon him the surname of Africanus, or whether in the same manner as Felix was applied to Sulla, and Magnus to Pompey, in the memory of our fathers, it originated in the flattery of his friends. He was doubtless the first general who was distinguished by a name derived from the nation which he had conquered. Afterward, in imitation of his example, some, by no means his equals in his victories, affixed splendid inscriptions on their statues and gave honorable surnames to their families.
This ends our series of passages on Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal At Zama And Subjugates Carthage by Livy from his book History of Rome, Book XII published in between 27 BC and 9 BC. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.
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