“Patriarchal upbringing, humility, respect and loyalty are qualities distinguish the whole race of Scipio. And one of the most prominent figures of this kind was a military leader, statesman and proconsul of Spain – Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanu (235-183 BC)”
Apollonius of Tyana
Dynasty Scipio refers to Cornelia patrician family, from which in the III and II centuries BC left outstanding generals and statesmen, whose names are included in the story. All of them contributed to the strengthening of the power of Rome in the Mediterranean. About their life wrote Livy, Appian and Polybius.
This period is remembered in history as a period of Punic wars. During the 1st Punic War with the Carthaginians fought two brothers – Luscious and Gnaws. They were consuls.
Becoming a leader
In the period between the wars representatives of Scipio fought with the Gals, ancestral enemies of Rome. In battles with the Gals excelled Gnaws, and in 218 BC 2nd Punic War began in the consulship of his brother – Cornelius Scipio.
Shortly before the outbreak of war, Scipio was assigned to Iberia for the forthcoming operations against the army of Hannibal. Scipio Army consisted of two legions, which were up to 23,800 soldiers. Publius was future hero marched in this campaign together with his father.
The main enemy of Rome – Hannibal caused a lot of crushing defeats Publius, but it did not break the spirit of the commander.
Scipio marched, not knowing that Hannibal had already crossed the Pyrenees. Finally received the news of this, the consul barred the way to Hannibal on the Rhone river. In the first clashes Scipio managed to defeat the enemy units. Consul decided that Hannibal did not dare to cross the rapid river.
However, the army commander managed to smuggle in the upper reaches of the Rhone and the move to the Alps. Again Scipio received information with a significant delay. Then he sent some of the forces under the command of his brother Gnaws in Spain, and the rest, lower part of his army went to Pisa. Here he learned that Hannibal went to Northern Italy, where there were almost no Roman legions.
Scipio stood before the daunting task – to keep an army of Hannibal and suppress speech Celts, who became allies of the enemy. Cross the river Po, Scipio led his army to meet Hannibal.
Both commander accidentally met each other in November, 218 BC the river Ticinus. In this battle, Scipio was severely wounded and was saved thanks to his son. But in the following battles luck turned to Rome. Fleeting victory alternated with devastating defeats. In the end, Scipio was wounded and died.
The defeat of the Roman armies led Rome to think about the new team. On the appointed day, the citizens of Rome gathered on the Champ de Mars to decide on a new commander. Rome feared Hannibal and not one of Rome’s military did not dare to speak out against such a powerful enemy. Then put forward its candidacy son of a fallen warrior – Publius Scipio. Future great general always distinguished for his bravery and devotion to Rome.
He was 24 old. His statement Romans met by cheers and wished him “a happy and safe service.”
Senate appointed a new consul and commander – Publius. Everyone hoped that his coming will be able to win the long war.
Military defeat and a huge success Publius
Adopting the Roman troops after the death of his father, Scipio and took the supreme power, which was given to him a special resolution of the national assembly – he got right proconsul. The first steps of the consul were sent to restore discipline in the army.
During the five years of war Roman troops under his command won a series of brilliant victories. In 209 BC they were taken with an impregnable fortress sushi New Carthage. For its capture Publius showed brilliant skills visionary strategist and diplomat. He used the tide broke into the fortress on the side facing the sea. Scipio let captured enemies and returned to the family of noble hostages.
Through his actions, Rome was able to enlist the support of many people. In 206 BC won by his victory at the Battle of Iliac put the last point in the dispute Rome and Carthage in Spain. In this battle, the 70000th army of enemies was completely destroyed, and the Roman troops pursued the enemy to Gibraltar. Then Scipio said the words, which meant that in the 2nd Punic War there was a decisive turning point:
“Until now, the Carthaginians fought against the Romans, now allows the fate of the Romans go to war with Carthage.”
Back in Rome, Scipio gave the Senate a report on the conquest of Spain. It brought fame to Publius, as one of the best generals in the history of Rome.
The following year, Scipio was elected consul and he was transferred to the management of Sicily. She became the springboard for the invasion of the Romans in Africa, which took place in the early summer of 204 BC a fleet of 40 warships and 400 transport ships sailed from the island of Sicily to the shores of Africa.
Capture Spain put an end to defeat Rome. It was the beginning of the great victories.
Two days later the Roman troops entered the land of Libya and besieged largest Carthaginian fortress Utica. During the siege, Scipio went to stratagem. He knew that the enemy is smart, but because signed a temporary truce. Publius sent to negotiate the military. They were able to gather detailed information about the enemy. After the break the truce, thanks to this information, Scipio succeeded in one night to destroy immediately the two armies. Next the Romans marched on Carthage.
To protect the city of Carthage was urgently called Hannibal, who fought for sixteen years in Italy against the Roman troops. Under his command the troops approached the city, near Carthage. Here, the spring 202 BC and there was a battle that ended the 2nd Punic War. As the number of both armies were about equal. But the intelligence brought their favor, and Publius Scipio was confident of victory.
The whole plan of battle Hannibal was destroyed by his war elephants, which he decided to use in battle. Animals probably frightened sounds of pipes and loud screams military. They began to rush, swept away on the flanks of the Carthaginian cavalry. The Romans also sent a major blow against this part of the Carthaginian forces, which retreated under their onslaught, overturned the ranks behind them their own soldiers.
The defeat of Hannibal’s army completed cavalry allies, released it to the rear. After the Battle of Zama, losing troops, Carthage was forced to agree to peace terms offered by Scipio. So, perfect strategy devised by Publius, Rome helped win the war.
Success always breeds envy
Rome met Scipio popular jubilation. He had arranged a grand triumph, after which he got to his ancestral name prefix “African.”
Later, he held a number of prominent public office and in 190 BC as legate was sent to Syria. He made a favorable peace for Rome with King Antiochus III after defeating the Romans at the Battle of Magnesia.
Publius has always been faithful to Rome, and was not expecting such a betrayal. At trial, he looked as winner and not defeated.
But many people accused Scipio and his brother not only embezzlement and concealment of the spoils of war, but also treason. Scipio was credited with the desire to seize unlimited power and collusion with the Syrian king Antiochus, who was imprisoned son of Publius Scipio. Property hero 2nd Punic War were confiscated, but no “hidden treasures” in his home was not found.
On the day of the fifteenth anniversary of the Battle of Zama Scipio was called instead of congratulations on charges. But proud Publius was convinced that he was right. He knew that only through him Rome harder to win the war in its history. In court, Scipio gave a report to the Roman people of his former life, reading out a long list of victories he wins the glory Rome. So Scipio replied to his enemies, and then retired.
In recent years he has lived on his estate in character, in self-imposed exile. Publius could not forgive beloved homeland is the unfair treatment of his own hero. Scipio during his lifetime did not want to be buried in Rome. On his tomb is inscribed in lettering:
“Ungrateful fatherland, but leave you my ashes.”
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (235-183 BC). He was Roman general and statesman, the proconsul of Spain, consul and great person.