Talk:Scipio Africanus

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Old post[edit]

The first paragraph refers to the title "Africanus" as a "surname". As this name was given as a result of his defeat of Hannibal, it is more accurately either a "victory title" or an "agnomen". Propose for this to be changed.

Would anyone object to my moving this page to Scipio Africanus, and moving that page to Scipio Africanus (disambiguation)? This Scipio Africanus is Scipio Africanus, and is referred to as such (unless it's a context specifically referring to the period prior to the Battle of Zama, when he's just P. Cornelius Scipio); anyone looking for information is going to type "Scipio Africanus". Anyone looking for information on his grandson is going to type "Scipio Aemilianus".

If I hear no objection in 72 hours, I'll move the pages.Binabik80 14:55, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hasdrubal Barca and Hasdrubal Giscon[edit]

Hi there!. I'm Hispa from Wikipedia Spanish. I must to say that there can be some errors in Hasdrubal names, because there was an Hasdrubal Barca, brother of the famous Hannibal Barca, who went to Italian Peninsula to help his brother and died there. The Hasdrubal who left in Hispania to fight against Scipio "Africanus" was Hasdrubal Giscon, from another Cartago leader family, and drived the retreat of Cartago forces to Africa. The Hasdrubal article in this wiki is not very clear at this respect. Unfortunately, my english skills are very poor and I cannot edit your articles more than little corrections.

Greetings, Hispa 08:46, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

It was Hasdrubal Gisgo.


I am going to attempt to expand more information on Scipio as this is far too abbreviated for such a significant historical figure. I am going to be using mostly B.H. Liddel Hart's and Theodore Ayrault Dodge's, as well as the originals from Polybius and Livy, as my main sources as much of what follows is merely modern summarization, and reintepreting the source documents and the subsequent schools of thought on the matter personally, prevents much of the propensity for biographical articles to be loosely binded categories of information and makes it far more readable and enjoyable. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Arvidius 19:14, 1 December 2005 (UTC)Arvidius

Italian National Anthem[edit]

Not sure it's relevant but still...

Scipio (most likely Scipio Africanus) is mentioned in the Italian National Anthem:

Fratelli d'Italia L'Italia s'è desta, Dell'elmo di Scipio S'è cinta la testa.

"Italian Brothers, Italy has awakened, She has wreathed her head With the helmet of Scipio"

Battle Numbers[edit]

The section in this article on the Battle of Zama and the article on the Battle of Zama itself disagree as to the number of soldiers each side had. The disagreement isn't major, but I thought I'd point it out so someone with a better idea than I have of the facts can fix it.Trainik 06:27, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Not only do the numbers still disagree (nearly a year later, note) but there are other disagreements as well between these two articles. The arrangement of Scipio's army during the battle and the tactics used to defeat the elephant charge are described differently in the two articles. I hope someone who has access to some sources can rectify the differences. Also, this article seems to me to contain possible OR and unverified claims. Sigh... so many articles do. Torgo (talk) 17:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone know why the cleanup tag was added to this page? I'm not saying it shouldn't have been, but that someone should have noted a message here stating why. Petronivs 14:09, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

I removed it, instead replacing it with one tag saying that it needs more sources, which it does. Thanks. - Jeeny Talk 19:00, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Scipio's alleged homosexuality?[edit]

Scipio was known for his lust for women...the accusations of homosexuality was pure political slander used during Roman times. It was common during Roman Republican times to slander a politician or popular leader by accusing him of homosexuality to hurt his reputation with the people & soldiers. There is absolutely no proof of this and far more proof against this accusation, and until someone has actual proof and not hearsay then it will not be added to this great man's profile.

Scipio due to his young age and brilliant success in Spain in 209-204 BC, upset many of the older senators and war heroes. Especially, the famous Fabius Maximus(The Delayer), too old to serve any longer, he was jealous of the new hero & was still obsessed with avoiding all military risk, and was against granting Scipio command of the legions who were going to invade Africa. The most effective way to slander a popular leader or politician at the time was to say he was corrupted by Greek & Eastern cultures of effeminacy and homosexual activities(similiar to the "Communist" propaganda in America in the 50's-60's).

But what really created opposition to Scipio was an incident that happened in the southwest of Italy in a city named Locri. Scipio sent out his legate & tribunes to lead the capturing of this town from Carthaginian control. Once taken the Romans behaved poorly and temples were vandalized, citizens assaulted and violation of the woman took place by the men of the Legate. This caused at split between the soldiers of the Legate and Tribunes. Scipio went to check the disturbance and sided with his Legate and the tribunes of the people were arrested. Soon a delegation of 10 Locrians reported to the Roman Senate to report their mistreatment. This created an uproar and outraged the Senate and gave a loud voice & ammunition to Scipio's opposition, most notable Fabius Maximus who began to slander Scipio so he would lose control of his legions and forbid him from going to Africa. The rumor was that he began to dress in Greek fashion and lived the Hellenistic lifestyle, which was considered taboo to the ultra-conservative Romans at this time in the Republic.

A commission of 10 Romans was sent to Sicily(where Scipio's main base was at the time) to judge Scipio's responsibility and to see if the rumors where true. The commissioners, after viewing the strict discipline of Scipio and his soldiers and camp, dismissed the rumors and confirmed Scipio's proconsular command and was left in charge to pursue his North African War.

This is from "The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-214" by Adrian Goldsworthy an Englishman and today's most respected and prominent historian on Roman Republic. This slander was very common during the Republic of Rome and was used as a way to discredit and demean political rivals and should not be incorporated as a major section in this article. There is no proof and this was nothing more than rumors and slander.

The facts must remain facts and history should not be adjusted for personal reason and bias. This is unacceptable and a scary trend. Whether you are pro-homosexuality or against, changing history to suit your own desires and propaganda is NOT acceptable!!

JMG 7/29/07

Thank you! I got tired of editing (without completely deleting) that section. I kept asking for citations, and got nothing. And I checked all available references and found nothing to indicate that Scipio Africanus (or for that matter his adoptive grandson) were believed to be homosexual by their contemporaries, slander aside.
The slander used against Scipio circa 205-204 BC must have been a first, however. Was it because he was the youngest and most effective general in recent decades? Or because he was particularly Graecophile (Greek way of wearing the toga, enjoying Greek baths, gymnasiums etc)?
wikibiohistory 13:53, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Online sources may violate WP:EL?[edit]

Note that we are now linking to and, both of which appears to be a self-published sites, and are thus 'normally to be avoided' per WP:EL. If these web site have useful information, including references, perhaps that info could be brought into the article directly. Please respond if you think those links should be kept, and cite the policy that you believe allows keeping them. EdJohnston 15:05, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I realize that they are both self-published sites. However, I believe that where, I, as one of the contributors to the article, don't have access to the original works and have *not* read those works, it is better to cite the secondary sources (the self-published articles) than to cite the references directly. I have provided the sources for the following reasons:
1. I have not checked the original works cited by the authors of those websites. If I put those works in directly, other persons reading this article might assume that I have read those works and am basing my own views on those works. Since I haven't done so, I choose to write based on those websites. If you or anyone else can provide information from those works cited, please go ahead and add that information, and cite your sources.
2. I also think that for people like me, not currently near good libraries, a well-researched online source is better than no source at all. I obtained a lot of valuable information from the two sources cited. Those sources are relatively well-written, they provide references, and so forth. In the same way, a good well-researched Wikipedia article -- also a self-published online source -- listed as a source for a school or college paper is better than no sources (or badly written and researched sources in the print media).
3. I can't cite the Wikipedia policy, because I am not a policy maven. I am contributing to Roman history articles on Wikipedia, because I am interested in the subject and want to help others. I leave the policy debates up to others.
For those interested, I have added information about Scipio's childhood, friendship with Laelius, his marriage, children, and descendants. You can check out what I have added. I have tried to list whatever sources were at hand, unfortunately very little, given that I am no where near a good library.
wikibiohistory 11:31, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
These *are* the Wikipedia policies. You can always vote to have the policies changed if you believe they are too stringent. We don't like the philosophy of 'better than nothing.' It's not clear why you find yourself trusting those web sites for the information if you can't check anything they say against the ultimate sources. Note you can often get books through Interlibrary loan even in out-of-the-way places. The type of book that would have information on Scipio might also be available online through used-book sites for not too much money. Your efforts to improve articles on Roman history are certainly worthwhile, and appreciated. EdJohnston 13:00, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Since you don't like the online sources because they violate Wikipedia policy, you are certainly free to remove them. They have been around for a while, and appear to have passed earlier challenges.
I am not challenging Wikipedia policies, although I didn't see which policies they violated (see comments below). If I don't agree with them, I move the offending materials offline onto my hard disk. They are useful to me at any rate.
By the way, you provided a general link to WP:EL which left me scratching my head. The closest I found to a violation of Wikipedia policy was Links normally to be avoided. Under this category, any JSTOR article (almost all academic ones that have been printed in academic journals) would have to be excluded since such an article is not available to nearly all users. See #7. Links to sites that require payment or registration to view the relevant content.
This note on self-published sources is a better reference since you are quoting Wikipedia policy. I agree that the two articles you find objectionable (after several months) are self-published and not peer-reviewed. The exact quote is "self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources." I would have liked to have seen the comments of other editors as whether they find those links acceptable. Since no one has commented so far, I must assume they agree with you.
A more specific link to Wikipedia policy would also be more helpful in educating relatively new editors with less than 1,000 edits. For example, Use of electronic or online sources or Sources for History.
I won't comment on the rest of your response, which I found less than helpful. Those interested can check out my Talk Page for my particular problems in getting sources.
Sincerely wikibiohistory 16:36, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
Links to JSTOR can be handled with a little finesse. The entries in JSTOR are articles originally published on paper, and those can always be used as references. Sometimes JSTOR lets you link to the abstract without paying any money, and in those cases it is reasonable to include the JSTOR link as a convenience link. I am uncertain whether you dislike the Wikipedia policies, dislike my explanation of them, or feel that my explanation was not correct. I notice that the links you provide above are pointing at various passages in WP:RS, so you must be familiar with that policy. See also WP:V.
If you want to see what other editors think about a specific external link, you can raise the question over at Wikipedia talk:External links, which gets a lot more visitors than the current page. EdJohnston 17:30, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure putting in JSTOR as a convenient link is any more helpful than my including self-published online sources as external links was. It is not much more helpful to read an abstract than to read a list of printed sources. I now think that JSTOR articles (actually printed articles available online) should be merely referenced if at all. (Wikipedia policy advises against linking to sites which require subscription).
I actually am not a policy oriented (or rulebook oriented person) and came to Wikipedia to edit articles and then to start new articles. I operated on the Ignore All Rules (but Be Civil) principle. I found the WP:RS on my own this evening, after your comments above and decided that page was more helpful helpful than WP:EL. Please also note that self-published sites are "self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources." (That is the exact quote as I downloaded it). If you cite policy as the reason for deleting that source, it would be more helpful to cite it correctly. If a source is not acceptable or is questioned for reasons other than bad quality, it can and should be listed on the talk page for discussion, as you did. Another option is to move it to the talk page temporarily. What I found problematic was your directing me to the wrong page, where the policy is unclear and incomplete. It was well-meant, but ended up confusing and upsetting me since I couldn't figure out what was wrong about these links when so many others were acceptable. In understanding Wikipedia policy, I found the page on Citing sources was the most helpful, followed by the one on Reliable Sources.
My second and more serious problem is with your suggestion to incorporate the material on the website and add in the citations provided. This is in fact not advised by the Wikipedia pages I checked (if I hadn't known otherwise earlier). It is copyright violation and dishonesty to leave out the website where I found the information. Any information from those websites would have to substantially rewritten and the sites still cited as sources. I would feel better if the information derived from those websites was deleted, rather than have information derived from sites which go uncredited. I realize that most editors might not feel the same way.
I have placed a query on Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard as to which online sites are considered more reliable and why for articles about Ancient Rome. Some of the online sources I have used (and others have used) are self-published sites such as Lacius Curtius.
As I said, I think other editors have better things to do than worry about this particular issue about two recommended sites for further reading. Firstly, there is vandalism to counter in this particular article. Then, there is the effort to find new reliable sources (not that many, despite a new book just out) and to include any new material in the essay. Then there is the effort to improve the writing of the article so that the article can be graded higher.
What I didn't like in your earlier comments as of 13:00, 16 October 2007 (UTC) can be found at my Talk page. This is outside the scope of this page, in my opinion. I am taking some days off, in any case, for personal and familial reasons, so will not be checking in on Wikipedia from tomorrow. I should be back around the 22nd October. In the meantime, feel free to move those links to the Talk Page or to delete them. Let us end the matter here, as far as this page goes.
Sincerely wikibiohistory 18:26, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Wishing editors the best of luck[edit]

For a variety of reasons, including lack of further sources (including any printed sources), I have decided to stop editing the Scipio Africanus article. I am not currently interested in copy-editing. I rather doubt, given the lack of sufficient primary and secondary sources, that this article can progress to a Featured Article, but I certainly wish that it would do so.

Sincerely wikibiohistory 16:36, 16 October 2007 (UTC)


Could someone please add the Gold Signet Ring Portrait of Capua which is stated to be a correct profile portrait of Scipio Africanus? It had been posted, incorrectly, as the portrait of Scipio Aemilianus Africanus; I have corrected this error by deleting the image of the gold signet ring of Capua, but I do not know how to add this portrait to the correct site. Thanks. Charley 06:52, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Done, I hope. Please let me know if it works.
wikibiohistory 11:41, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Triumph & refusal of honors not correct![edit]

  1. Scipio did not have a return to Rome "in triumph", because he was sine magistratu (Livy 28.38.4). He only received supplications as the savior of Rome. (Livy 27.7.4; Appian, Iber. 23.92). L. Lentulus was in all probability the first Roman to receive an ovatio sine magistratu, not Scipio.
  2. The mentioning of Scipio's refusal of honors in this WP-article, obviously based on Livy (38.56.12–13), is wrong. It derives from a misunderstanding on Livy's part. The list of honors is basically the same that were to be granted to Julius Caesar in 49BC, but in those times a propaganda pamphlet by the Anti-Caesarians surfaced, which wrongfully purported that Scipio, years before, had actually rejected those same honors. That was however a fabrication. The Anti-Caesarians hoped that Caesar would then also reject the honors that were planned for him. Nevertheless the pamphlet obviously influenced Livy's account. But earlier evidence shows that the honors were in fact decreed, and accepted by Scipio: a) Scipio received not only supplications as "savior", but also deification and a (short-lived) cult in Rome, b) his statue was erected in the temple of Iuppiter Capitolinus, c) his image wore the triumphal garb, and d) was carried from the Jupiter-temple to the Circus in the pompa circensis in the company of other gods' images, e) his statue was erected on the rostra etc. He received all these honors, and therefore it's logical to assume that he also did not refuse the remaining honors: f) statue in the curia, g) statue on the Capitol, h) statue in the comitium, i) consul and j) dictator. What Scipio did refuse was to be called "king", not even in Spain. He only wanted to be called imperator.
  3. (edit) Another honor: a legend said he received the corona civica for saving his father's life in the battle at the Ticinius. His father then greeted him as savior, but Scipio refused to accept the corona. This is a fabrication as well, because the sources clearly say that his father was saved by a slave, but this story is significant in the context of the propaganda of depicting Scipio as a Roman hero. And this fantasized rejection of the corona may have influenced the later Anti-Caesarian pamphlet. Scipio did however receive a corona, namely the corona laurea in Delos (188 BC) for his virtus and pietas (Syll. 617.16). But the sources are completely silent on the alleged corona civica. —Eickenberg (talk) 13:59, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Polybius states that it was Scipio that saved his father and then refused to accept the corona civica. The slave story most likely was fabricated by Scipio's political enemies later in life. (talk) 06:42, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Better "Roman" than "enemy" ?[edit]

I think the sentence "Hasdrubal had not noticed Scipio's hidden reserves of cavalry moving behind enemy lines" would be clearer if "enemy" were replaced by "Roman". A reader of an article on a Roman general tends to think of "enemy" as referring to the enemies of Rome. (talk) 17:42, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Death and tomb[edit]

The date of Scipio's death IS known very well (see Livy's excellent discussion). The date was later tampered with IN ORDER to have it coincide with Hannibal's. There should be a mention of the tomb of the Scipiones and the tradition of Africanus' special pyramidal sepulchre.Appietas (talk) 22:54, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

This article is POV![edit]

It claims that he was some kind of radical or something with the statement that he wanted to control the land. This man was if anything a conservative. He if anything said what he was if you read Seneca, and that was to uphold traditions and not change anything. Why does wiki have authors who write down what THEY want people to think? Get it right already. This article fails to mention that Scipio had the tribunes as enemies (including Tiberius Graccus' father), but of course, mentions cato the elder as a foe. Obvious case in point. Roman(22:47, 26 June 2010 (UTC)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Last scion?[edit]

Marcus Antonius Primus is the great grandson of Fulvia, a descendant of Scipio Africanus, as well as the great grandson of Mark Antony. Is there any other scions? I heard somewhere that Publius Clodius Pulcher was the ancestor of Emperor Pupienus. Since his children came from Fulvia, does this mean that Pupienus is a descendant of Scipio? I am particularly interested in my old friend Oatley's opinion.I am the Blood 07:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Romans vs. Latin[edit]

What's the difference? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alex447 (talkcontribs) 20:40, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Alex, my understanding and I could be wrong was that Romans were from Rome only; while Latins could refer to non-Greek Italians who were not from Rome (perhaps from colonies like Ostia?). I am the Blood 07:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Scipio Africanus older brother[edit]

Scipio Africanus had a younger brother named Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus. How much younger was Lucius? How many years younger?
According to Lucius's article: He was finally elected consul in 190 BC with his co-consul being his brother's old second-in-command Gaius Laelius. That last sentence in the section Early career doesn't seem to make sense to me, in the part ...with his co-consul being his brother's old second-in-command Gaius Laelius. --Doug Coldwell talk 18:34, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Additionally, in the reference book "A greater than Napoleon: Scipio Africanus" By Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart
it states on page 14 that Lucius is Scipio's elder brother. This is referenced by Polybius. Polybius was a close friend with Scipio's adoptive grandson, Scipio Aemilianus. Polybius therefore received the Scipionic version of events from his family and likely saw documents on the war kept in the household.--Doug Coldwell talk 11:36, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

In the article on Scipio Africanus it says:
Scipio offered himself as a candidate for the quaestorship in the year 213 BC, apparently to assist his less popular cousin, Lucius Cornelius, who was also standing for election.
Is it really suppose to be "less popular cousin, Lucius Cornelius" or is it suppose to be "older brother" instead?--Doug Coldwell talk 18:59, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Scipio's father's name is Publius Cornelius Scipio and his father's name was Lucius Cornelius Scipio. It would be logical that the eldest and first son of Publius Cornelius Scipio would be named "Lucius Cornelius". All indications are that "Lucius Cornelius" is Scipio's older brother.--Doug Coldwell talk 11:44, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems that Polybius used a source for part of his Histories Gaius Laelius (a friend of Scipio from childhood) - see Polybius book 10 which in part says: For that he was beneficent and high-minded is acknowledged; but that he was acute, sober-minded, and earnest in pursuit of his aims, no one will admit, except those who have lived with him, and contemplated his character, so to speak, in broad daylight. Of such Gaius Laelius was one. He took part in everything he did or said from boyhood to the day of his death; and he it was who convinced me of this truth: because what he said appeared to me to be likely in in itself, and in harmony with the achievements of that great man. I would think with these kind of sources, Polybius certainly got it right when he says that "Lucius Cornelius" is Scipio's older brother.--Doug Coldwell talk 12:37, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Campaign in Hispania[edit]

In the article Battle of Cartagena (209 BC) it says Opposing him were the three Carthaginian generals (Hasdrubal Barca, Mago and Hasdrubal Gisco), who were on bad terms with each other, geographically scattered (Hasdrubal Barca in central Spain, Mago near Gibraltar and Hasdrubal near the mouth of the Tagus river), and at least 10 days away from New Carthage. However in Livy 26.44 it reads: When Mago, the Carthaginian commander, saw that an attack was being prepared both by land and sea, he made the following disposition of his forces. From Livy's description it sounds to me as if Mago is in the city of New Carthage defending it - not some 10 miles away! Am I misinterpreting one description or the other? Was Mago Barca at New Carthage or 10 days away near Gibraltar?--Doug Coldwell talk 12:35, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

In Livy 26.46 it goes on to say: From this point Scipio saw the enemy retreating in two directions; one body was making for a hill to the east of the city, which was being held by a detachment of 500 men; the others were going to the citadel where Mago, together with the men who had been driven from the walls, had taken refuge.--Doug Coldwell talk 12:35, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Polybius says in Book 10.12 Mago, who was in command of the place, divided his regiment of a thousand men into two, leaving half of them on the citadel and stationing the others on the eastern hill. So, it appears to me that Mago was in fact at New Carthage and was in charge - not some 10 days away.--Doug Coldwell talk 19:44, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Polybius says in Book 10.7.4&5 concerning Scipio Africanus's arrival to Spain: For on his arrival in Spain he set everyone on the alert and inquired from everyone about the circumstances of the enemy, and thus learnt that the Carthaginian forces were divided into three bodies. Mago, he heard, was posted on this side of the pillars of Hercules in the country of the people called Conii; Hasdrubal, son of Gesco, was in Lusitania near the mouth of the Tagus; and the other Hasdrubal was besieging a city in the territory of the Carpetani: none of them being within less than ten days' march from New Carthage. However Polybius later says in Book 10.12.2 when Scipio circled New Carthage: Mago, who was in command of the place, divided his regiment of a thousand men into two, leaving half of them on the citadel and stationing the others on the eastern hill. How did Mago make it back to New Carthage if Scipio had it surrounded?--Doug Coldwell talk 12:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Hannibal's Military etiquette[edit]

Does the limited nature of sources about Scipio (and Hannibal?) extend to the military etiquette of the day? The sentence: "...which ended the First Punic War (known as Punic Faith), and a perceived breach in contemporary military etiquette due to Hannibal's numerous ambushes." leaves a reader dissatisfied. Was the breach in etiquette the opinion of another author? Does the inserted adjective "perceived," denote the result of a misconception on Scipio's part? How big a breach of Roman military etiquette was an ambush? Was it the custom for a year, or ten years, or some longer time frame? Was it informal only among Romans? A source on "contemporary military etiquette," as cited, would be of assistance to a more discriminating audience, if the word "perceived" carries important meaning here. To the casual reader, this appears to be a bone of contention, and as such, not authoritative. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Infodater (talkcontribs) 17:43, 12 September 2013 (UTC)