Scipio Africanus

Topics: Second Punic War, Scipio Africanus, Hannibal Pages: 4 (1245 words) Published: November 13, 2005
Early years
Scipio was present at the disastrous Battle of Ticinus (where, according to one tradition, he saved his father's life); and those at the Trebia and at Cannae. Even after the last of these defeats at the hands of the Carthaginians, he was resolutely focused on securing Roman victory. On hearing that Lucius Caecilius Metellus and other politicians were at the point of giving up the struggle and quitting Italy in despair, he gathered what few followers he could find and stormed into the meeting, where at sword-point he forced all present to swear that they would continue in faithful service to Rome.

Campaign in Hispania
The year after his father's death, he offered himself for the command of the new army which the Romans resolved to send to Hispania. In spite of his youth, his noble demeanor and enthusiastic language had made so great an impression that he was unanimously elected. In the year of his arrival (210), all Hispania south of the Ebro river was under Carthaginian control, but to his fortune the three Carthaginian generals—Hannibal's brothers Hasdrubal and Mago, and Hasdrubal the son of Gisgo—were not disposed to act in concert and were preoccupied with revolts in Africa. Scipio landed at the mouth of the Ebro and was able to surprise and capture Carthago Nova, the headquarters of the Carthaginian power in Hispania. He obtained a rich booty of war stores and supplies, and an excellent harbor. His kindly treatment of the hostages and prisoners in Hispania brought many over to his side.

In 209 he drove back Hasdrubal from his position at Baecula, on the upper Guadalquivir, but was unable to hinder the Carthaginian's march to Italy. After winning over a number of chiefs from Hispania he achieved in 206 a decisive victory over the full Carthaginian levy at Ilipa (now the city of Alcalá del Río, near Hispalis, now called Seville), which resulted in the evacuation of Hispania by the Punic commanders.

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