Sent by Lucullus to Africa to procure elephants for the Celtiberian War, Scipio mediated peace between the Carthaginians and the Numidian king, Masinissa. Back in Rome he aided in the release of Polybios and the other Achaean hostages. In Scipio served as military tribune under Manilius in Africa, where he won the crown of siege by saving a beleaguered force against the attack of Hasdrubal. After the death of King Masinissa in , Scipio settled the succession to the Numidian kingdom by dividing it among the King's sons.
Returning to Rome to stand for the aedileship, Scipio was elected consul instead. The vote of the people exempted him from the laws on legal age and granted him the command against Carthage without the lot. Crossing over to Utica, Scipio blockaded Carthage and in captured and destroyed the city.
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Tradition reports that Scipio, while gazing at the city in flames and meditating on the uncertainties of human events, feared for his own city and wept. At any rate, he cursed the site, sold the remaining population into slavery, organized the new province of Africa, and returned to Rome to celebrate a brilliant triumph, accepting his inherited cognomen, Africanus, for his own merits.
During his censorship in , which gained him a reputation for severity, Scipio completed the building of the Aemilian Bridge. As head of an embassy to the East in , he observed and settled Roman relations with the Eastern allies.
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In a special dispensation exempted him from the law on reelection to the consulship, and, again, he was granted a military command by popular vote, this time in Hither Spain Tarraconensis. After restoring discipline in the army, he blockaded and destroyed the Spanish stronghold of Numantia in While still in Spain, Scipio received the news of the stormy tribunate and death of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and expressed his undisguised hostility to Gracchus's agrarian program and unconstitutionality.
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Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus
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Information from the National Library of Medicine Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Smart and charismatic, he had the skills to ensure his success. Scipio was only 17 when the Second Punic War broke out in The younger Scipio accompanied his father on these expeditions, gaining his first experience of war alongside many other young aristocrats.
He stood out among them as a gifted officer who learned from the difficult experience. In the aftermath, he took control of the largest group of survivors and prevented a mass desertion.
By the time the surviving consul arrived, he had rallied 10, men. Little is known for certain about what happened to Scipio over the next six years, but in BC, the moment came that would make his reputation.
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (/3 B.C.)
In , the Romans in Spain faced a serious defeat at the hands of the Carthaginians. With so many aristocrats already lost to the war, few were keen to take over the fight for Spain. In BC, the Senate granted Scipio the position of proconsul and command of the troops fighting the Carthaginians in Spain. He was only 27 years old, unprecedentedly young for such a position, and brought with him only modest reinforcements.
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major Facts
His army faced three Carthaginian forces of equal or larger size. Scipio started his campaign by attacking a target of significance to the Carthaginians — the strategically important city of New Carthage. Scipio camped close to the city.
When the defenders launched a sortie, the Romans drove them off and then assaulted the walls at the front of the city. Despite repeated attacks using siege ladders, they were unable to overcome the defenses.