Plutarch; Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (Scipio the Elder)

In this post we present excerpts from Plutarch’s ‘Moralia’ (Apophthegmata Romana).

1. Scipio the Elder used to spend on literature all the leisure he could win from his military and political duties, and he used to say that he was busiest whenever he had nothing to do.

2. When he captured Carthage by assault, some of his soldiers, having taken captive a comely maiden, came to him with her, and offered to give her to him. “I would gladly take her,” said he, “if I were a private and not a commander.”

4. When somebody inquired in Sicily on what he placed his reliance in purposing to take his army across to Carthage, he pointed out to the inquirer three hundred men in armour, who were drilling, and also a lofty tower which overlooked the sea. “There is not one of these men,” said he, “who would not go up to the top of that tower and throw himself down head first at my command.”

5. When he had crossed over, and was master of the land, and had burned the enemy’s camps, the Carthaginians sent to him and made a treaty of peace, agreeing to surrender their elephants and ships, Dand to pay an indemnity. But when Hannibal had sailed back from Italy, they were sorry because of their agreement, since they did not now feel afraid. Scipio, learning this, said that, not even if they wished it, would he keep the compact unless they paid a million pounds more, because they had sent for Hannibal.

Scipio the Elder

8. Antiochus the king, after the Romans had crossed over to according to attack him, sent to Scipio to ask about terms of peace. “This should have been done before,” said Scipio, “but not now, when you have taken the bit and the rider is in the saddle.”

10. When Petillius and Quintus brought before the people many accusations against him, he remarked that on this very day he had conquered the Carthaginians and Hannibal, and he said that he himself, with a garland on, was on his way up to the Capitol to offer sacrifice, and he bade anyone who so wished to give in his vote about him. With these words he went his way, and the people followed after, leaving behind his accusers still speaking.

(Source: Plutarch, MoraliaApophthegmata Romana, Vol. III, Loeb Classical Library)

Research-Selection for NovoScriptorium: Anastasius Philoponus

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