Publius Scipio Africanus.Of all the men produced by Rome during the Punic wars, Publius Cornelius Scipio (afterward called Africanus) came the nearest to being a military genius. From boyhood he had, like Hannibal, served in the army. At the death of his father and uncle, he had been intrusted with the conduct of the war in Spain. With great ability he had defeated the armies which opposed him, and had regained the entire peninsula, after it had been almost lost. With his conquest of New Carthage and Gades (see map, p. 112), Spain was brought under the Roman power. On his return to Rome, Scipio was unanimously elected to the consulship. He then proposed his scheme for closing the war. This plan was to keep Hannibal shut up in the Bruttian peninsula, and to carry the war into Africa. Although this scheme seemed to the aged Fabius Maximus as rash, the people had entire confidence in the young Scipio, and supported him. From this time Scipio was the chief figure in the war, and the senate kept him in command until its close.
The War carried into Africa.Scipio now organized his new army, which was made up largely of volunteers, and equipped by patriotic contributions. He embarked from Sicily and landed in Africa. He was assisted by the Numidian king, Masinissa, whom he had previously met in Spain; and whose royal title was now disputed by a rival named Syphax, an ally of Carthage. The title to the kingship of Numidia thus became mixed up with the war with Carthage. Scipio and Masinissa soon defeated the Carthaginian armies in Africa, and the fate of Carthage was sealed.
Recall of Hannibal.While the war was progressing in Africa, Hannibal still held his place in Bruttium like a lion at bay. In the midst of misfortune, he was still a hero. He kept control of his devoted army, and was faithful to his duty when all was lost. Carthage was convinced that her only hope was in recalling Hannibal to defend his native city. Hannibal left Italy, the field of his brilliant exploits, and landed in Africa. Thus Rome was relieved of her dreaded foe, who had brought her so near to the brink of ruin.
Battle of Zama and End of the War (B.C. 201).The two greatest generals then living were now face to face upon the soil of Africa. The final battle of the war was fought (B.C. 202) near Zama (see map, p. 112). Hannibal fought at a great disadvantage. His own veterans were reduced greatly in number, and the new armies of Carthage could not be depended upon. Scipio changed the order of the legions, leaving spaces in his line, through which the elephants of Hannibal might pass without being opposed. In this battle Hannibal was defeated, and the Carthaginian army was annihilated. It is said that twenty thousand men were slain, and as many more taken prisoners. The great war was now ended, and Scipio imposed the terms of peace (B.C. 201). These terms were as follows: (1) Carthage was to give up the whole of Spain and all the islands between Africa and Italy; (2) Masinissa was recognized as the king of Numidia and the ally of Rome; (3) Carthage was to pay an annual tribute of 200 talents (about $250,000) for fifty years; (4) Carthage agreed not to wage any war without the consent of Rome.
Rome was thus recognized as the mistress of the western Mediterranean. Carthage, although not reduced to a province, became a dependent state. Syracuse was added to the province of Sicily, and the territory of Spain was divided into two provinces, Hither and Farther Spain. Rome had, moreover, been brought into hostile relations with Macedonia, which paved the way for her conquests in the East.
SELECTIONS FOR READING
Mommsen, Vol. II., Bk. III., Ch. 4, “Hamilcar and Hannibal” (2).1
Mommsen, abridged, Ch. 14, “Second Punic War” (2).
Arnold, Hist., p. 478, “Hannibal’s Passage of the Alps” (2).
Shuckburgh, p. 314, “Battle of Trasimene” (1).
How and Leigh, p. 229, “Battle of Zama” (1).
Plutarch, “Marcellus,” “Fabius” (11).
Livy, Bk. XXI., Chs. 7-15, Siege of Saguntum (4).
See also Appendix (25) “Hannibal.”
BATTLE OF CANNAE.Liddell, pp. 311-315 (1); Shuckburgh, pp. 323-328 (1); How and Leigh, pp. 194-198 (1); Arnold, Hist., pp. 496-500 (2); Mommsen, Vol. II., pp. 154-158 (2); Livy, Bk. XXII., Chs. 44-52 (4); Appian, Bk. VIII., Ch. 4 (4); Polybius, Bk. III., sects. 112-118 (4).
1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.