Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy. The region coincides with the Italian Riviera and is popular with tourists for its beaches and cuisine; the name Liguria predates Latin and is of obscure origin, however the Latin adjectives Ligusticum and Liguscus reveal the original -sc- in the root ligusc-, which shortened to -s- and turned into -r- in the Latin name Liguria according to rhotacism. The formant -sc- is present in the names Etruscan, Gascony and is believed by some researchers to relate to maritime people or sailors. Compare Greek Lígus λίγυς, a Ligurian, a person from Liguria, whence Ligustikḗ λιγυστική, the name of the place Liguria. Liguria is bordered by France to the west, Piedmont to the north, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany to the east, it lies on the Ligurian Sea. The narrow strip of land is bordered by the Alps and the Apennines mountains; some mountains rise above 2,000 m. The highest point of the region is the summit of Monte Saccarello; the winding arched extension goes from Ventimiglia to La Spezia.
Of this, 3,524.08 km2 are mountainous and 891.95 km2 are hills. Liguria's natural reserves cover 600 km2 of land, they are made up of one national reserve, six large parks, two smaller parks and three nature reserves. The continental shelf is narrow, so steep it descends immediately to considerable depths along its 350-kilometre coastline. Except for the Portovenere and Portofino promontories, the coast is not jagged, is high. At the mouths of the biggest watercourses are small beaches, but there are no deep bays and natural harbours except at Genoa and La Spezia; the hills lying beyond the coast together with the sea account for a mild climate year-round. Average winter temperatures are 7 to 10 °C and summer temperatures are 23 to 24 °C, which make for a pleasant stay in the dead of winter. Rainfall can be abundant at times, as mountains close to the coast create an orographic effect. Genoa and La Spezia can see up to 2,000 mm of rain in a year. According to classical sources, the Ligurians once lived in a far broader territory than present-day Liguria.
For example, the Greek colony of Massalia, modern Marseille, was recorded to lie in Ligurian territory. During the first Punic War, the ancient Ligurians were divided, some of them siding with Carthage and a minority with Rome, whose allies included the future Genoese. Under Augustus, Liguria was designated a region of Italy stretching from the coast to the banks of the Po River; the great Roman roads helped increase communication and trade. Important towns developed on the coast, of which evidence is left in the ruins of Albenga and Luni. Between the 4th and the 10th centuries Liguria was dominated by the Byzantines, the Lombards of King Rothari and the Franks, it was invaded by Saracen and Norman raiders. In the 10th century, once the danger of pirates decreased, the Ligurian territory was divided into three marches: Obertenga and Aleramica. In the 11th and 12th centuries the marches were split into fees, with the strengthening of the bishops’ power, the feudal structure began to weaken; the main Ligurian towns on the coast, became city-states, over which Genoa soon extended its rule.
Inland, fiefs belonging to noble families survived for a long time. Between the 11th century and the 15th century, the Republic of Genoa experienced an extraordinary political and commercial success, it was one of the most powerful maritime republics in the Mediterranean from the 12th to the 14th century: after the decisive victory in the battle of Meloria, it acquired control over the Tyrrhenian Sea and was present in the nerve centres of power during the last phase of the Byzantine empire, having colonies up to Black Sea and Crimean. After the introduction of the title of doge for life and the election of Simone Boccanegra, Genoa resumed its struggles against the Marquis of Finale and the Counts of Laigueglia and it conquered again the territories of Finale and Porto Maurizio. In spite of its military and commercial successes, Genoa fell prey to the internal factions which put pressure on its political structure. Due to the vulnerable situation, the rule of the republic went to the hands of the Visconti family of Milan.
After their expulsion by the popular forces under Boccanegra’s lead, the republic remained in Genoese hands until 1396, when the internal instability led the doge Antoniotto Adorno to surrender the title of Seignior of Genoa to the king of France. The French were driven away in 1409 and Liguria went back under Milanese control in 1421, thus remaining until 1435; the alternation of French and Milanese dominions over Liguria went on until the first half of the 16th century. The French influence ceased in 1528, when Andrea Doria allied with the powerful king of Spain and imposed an aristocratic government, which gave the republic a relative stability fo
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the success of a military commander who had led Roman forces to victory in the service of the state or and traditionally, one who had completed a foreign war. On the day of his triumph, the general wore a crown of laurel and the all-purple, gold-embroidered triumphal toga picta, regalia that identified him as near-divine or near-kingly, was known to paint his face red, he rode in a four-horse chariot through the streets of Rome in unarmed procession with his army and the spoils of his war. At Jupiter's temple on the Capitoline Hill, he offered sacrifice and the tokens of his victory to the god Jupiter. Republican morality required that, despite these extraordinary honours, the general conduct himself with dignified humility, as a mortal citizen who triumphed on behalf of Rome's Senate and gods; the triumph offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions.
Most Roman festivals were calendar fixtures, while the tradition and law which reserved a triumph to extraordinary victory ensured that its celebration, attendant feasting, public games promoted the general's status and achievement. By the Late Republican era, triumphs were drawn out and extravagant, motivated by increasing competition among the military-political adventurers who ran Rome's nascent empire, in some cases prolonged by several days of public games and entertainments. From the Principate onwards, the triumph reflected the Imperial order and the pre-eminence of the Imperial family; the triumph was consciously imitated by medieval and states in the royal entry and other ceremonial events. In Republican Rome exceptional military achievement merited the highest possible honours, which connected the vir triumphalis to Rome's mythical and semi-mythical past. In effect, the general was close to being "king for a day", close to divinity, he wore the regalia traditionally associated both with the ancient Roman monarchy and with the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus: the purple and gold "toga picta", laurel crown, red boots and, again the red-painted face of Rome's supreme deity.
He was drawn in procession through the city in a four-horse chariot, under the gaze of his peers and an applauding crowd, to the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. The spoils and captives of his victory led the way. Once at the Capitoline temple, he sacrificed two white oxen to Jupiter and laid tokens of his victory at Jupiter's feet, dedicating his victory to the Roman Senate and gods. Triumphs were tied to season, or religious festival of the Roman calendar. Most seem to have been celebrated at the earliest practicable opportunity on days that were deemed auspicious for the occasion. Tradition required; the ceremony was thus, in some sense, shared by the whole community of Roman gods, but overlaps were inevitable with specific festivals and anniversaries. Some may have been coincidental. For example, March 1, the festival and dies natalis of the war god Mars, was the traditional anniversary of the first triumph by Publicola, of six other Republican triumphs, of the first Roman triumph by Romulus.
Pompey postponed his third and most magnificent triumph for several months to make it coincide with his own dies natalis. Religious dimensions aside, the focus of the triumph was the general himself; the ceremony promoted him – however temporarily – above every mortal Roman. This was an opportunity granted to few. From the time of Scipio Africanus, the triumphal general was linked to Alexander and the demi-god Hercules, who had laboured selflessly for the benefit of all mankind, his sumptuous triumphal chariot was bedecked with charms against the possible envy and malice of onlookers. In some accounts, a companion or public slave would remind him from time to time of his own mortality. Rome's earliest "triumphs" were simple victory parades, celebrating the return of a victorious general and his army to the city, along with the fruits of his victory, ending with some form of dedication to the gods; this is so for the earliest legendary and semi-legendary triumphs of Rome's regal era, when the king functioned as Rome's highest magistrate and war-leader.
As Rome's population, power and territory increased, so did the scale, length and extravagance of its triumphal processions. The procession mustered in the open space of the Campus Martius well before first light. From there, all unforeseen delays and accidents aside, it would have managed a slow walking pace at best, punctuated by various planned stops en route to its final destination of the Capitoline temple, a distance of just under 4 km. Triumphal processions were notoriously slow; some ancient and modern sources suggest a standard processional order. First came the captive leaders and soldiers walking in chains, their captured weapons, gold, silver and curious or exotic treasures were carted behind them, along with paintings and models depicting significant places and episodes of the war. Next in line, all on foot, came Rome's senators and magistrate
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC, but the succession of consuls was not continuous in the 5th century BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian; the first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family.
Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispania Ulterior was divided into two new provinces and Lusitania, while Hispania Citerior was renamed Hispania Tarraconensis. Subsequently, the western part of Tarraconensis was split off, first as Hispania Nova renamed "Callaecia". From Diocletian's Tetrarchy onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae; the name, was used in the period of Visigothic rule. The modern placenames Hispaniola are both derived from Hispania; the origin of the word Hispania is much disputed and the evidence for the various speculations are based upon what are at best mere resemblances to be accidental, suspect supporting evidence. One theory holds it to be from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage.
It may derive from a Punic cognate of Hebrew אי-שפניא meaning "island of the hyrax" or "island of the hare" or "island of the rabbit". Some Roman coins of the Emperor Hadrian, born in Hispania, depict a rabbit. Others derive the word from Phoenician span, meaning "hidden", make it indicate "a hidden", that is, "a remote", or "far-distant land". Another theory, proposed by the etymologist Eric Partridge in his work Origins, is that it is of Iberian derivation and that it is to be found in the pre-Roman name for Seville, which hints at an ancient name for the country of *Hispa, an Iberian or Celtic root whose meaning is now lost. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis. Hispalis may alternatively derive from Heliopolis. According to Manuel Pellicer Catalán, the name derives from Phoenician Spal "lowland", rendering this explanation of Hispania dubious. Hispania was called Hesperia Ultima, "the last western land" in Greek, by Roman writers, since the name Hesperia had been used by the Greeks to indicate the Italian peninsula.
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. During Antiquity and Middle Ages, the literary texts derive the term Hispania from an eponymous hero named Hispan, mentioned for the first time in the work of the Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, in the 1st century BC. Although "Hispania" is the Latin root for the modern name "Spain", substituting Spanish for Hispanicus or Hispanic, or Spain for Hispania, should be done and taking into account the correct context; the Estoria de España written on the initiative of Alfonso X of Castile "El Sabio", between 1260 and 1274, during the Reconquest of Spain, is believed to be the first extended history of Spain in Old Spanish using the words "España" and "Españoles" to refer to Medieval Hispania. The use of Latin "Hispania", Castilian "España", Catalan "Espanya" and French "Espaigne", between others, to refer to Roman Hispania or Visigothic Hispania was common throughout all the Late Middle Ages.
A document dated 1292 mentions the names of foreigners from Medieval Spain as "Gracien d'Espaigne". Latin expressions using "Hispania" or "Hispaniae" like "omnes reges Hispaniae" are used in the Middle Ages at the same time as the emerging Spain Romance languages during the Reconquista use the Romance version interchangeably. In James Ist Chronicle Llibre dels fets, written between 1208 and 1276, there are many instances of this: when it talks about the different Kings, "los V regnes de Espanya"; the Latin term Hispania used during Antiquity and the Low Middle Ages as a geographical name, starts to be used with political connotations, as shown in the expression "Laus Hispaniae" to describe the history of the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula of Isidore of Seville's "Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum".: You are, Oh Spain and always happy mother of princes and peoples, the most beautiful of all the lands that extend far from the West to India. You, by right, are now the queen of all provinces, from whom the lights are given not only the sunset, but the East.
You are the honor and ornament of the orb and the most illustrious portion of the Earth... And for this reason, long ago, the golden Rome desired you In modern history and Spanish have become associated with the Kingdom of Spain alone, although this process took several centuries. After the union of the central peninsular Kingdom of Castile with the eastern peninsular Kingdom of Aragon in the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, onl
Augustus was a Roman statesman and military leader, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history; the reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession. Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia, his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir. Along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at the Battle of Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators.
The Triumvirate was torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC. After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward façade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, those of tribune and censor, it took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, instead called himself Princeps Civitatis; the resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire. Augustus enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Pannonia and Raetia, expanding possessions in Africa, completing the conquest of Hispania, but suffered a major setback in Germania.
Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in AD 14 at the age of 75 from natural causes. However, there were unconfirmed rumors, he was succeeded as emperor by his adopted son Tiberius. As a consequence of Roman customs and personal preference, Augustus was known by many names throughout his life: Gaius Octavius Thurinus: He received his birth name, after his biological father, in 63 BC. "Gaius" was his praenomen, "Octavius" was his nomen, "Thurinus" was his cognomen. His rival Mark Antony used the name "Thurinus" as an insult, to which Augustus replied, surprised that "using his old name was thought to be an insult".
Gaius Julius Caesar: After he was adopted by Julius Caesar, he adopted Caesar's name in accordance with Roman naming conventions. While he dropped all references to the gens Octavia, people colloquially added the epithet Octavianus to his legal name, either to differentiate him from his adoptive father or to highlight his more modest origins. Modern historians refer to him using the anglicized form "Octavian" between 44 BC and 27 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius: Two years after his adoption, he founded the Temple of Caesar additionally adding the title Divi Filius to his name in attempt to strengthen his political ties to Caesar's former soldiers, following the deification of Caesar. Imperator Caesar Divi Filius: From 38 BC, Octavian opted to use Imperator, the title by which troops hailed their leader after military success, his name is translated as "Commander Caesar, Son of the Divine". Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: Following his 31 BC defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on his own insistence, the Roman Senate granted him the additional name, "Augustus", which he added to his previous names thereafter.
Historians use this name to refer to him from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. While his paternal family was from the town of Velletri 40 kilometres from Rome, Augustus was born in the city of Rome on 23 September 63 BC, he was born at Ox Head, a small property on the Palatine Hill close to the Roman Forum. He was given the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, his cognomen commemorating his father's victory at Thurii over a rebellious band of slaves. Suetonius wrote: "There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; this man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town..." Due to the crowded nature of Rome at the time, Octavius was taken to his father's home village at Velletri to be raised. Octavius mentions his father's equestrian family only in his memoirs, his paternal great-grandfather Gaius Octavius was a military tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His grandfather had served in several lo
The Roman army was the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, its medieval continuation the Eastern Roman Empire. It is thus a term that may span 2,206 years, during which the Roman armed forces underwent numerous permutations in composition, organisation and tactics, while conserving a core of lasting traditions.. The Early Roman army was the armed force of the Roman Kingdom and of the early Republic. During this period, when warfare chiefly consisted of small-scale plundering raids, it has been suggested that the army followed Etruscan or Greek models of organisation and equipment; the early Roman army was based on an annual levy. The infantry ranks were filled with the lower classes while the cavalry were left to the patricians, because the wealthier could afford horses. Moreover, the commanding authority during the regal period was the high king; until the establishment of the Republic and the office of consul, the king assumed the role of commander-in-chief.
However, from about 508 BC Rome no longer had a king. The commanding position of the army was given to the consuls, "who were charged both singly and jointly to take care to preserve the Republic from danger"; the term legion is derived from the Latin word legio. At first there were only four legions; these legions were numbered "I" to "IIII", with the fourth being written as such and not "IV". The first legion was seen as the most prestigious; the bulk of the army was made up of citizens. These citizens could not choose the legion. Any man "from ages 16–46 were selected by ballot" and assigned to a legion; until the Roman military disaster of 390 BC at the Battle of the Allia, Rome's army was organised to the Greek phalanx. This was due to Greek influence in Italy "by way of their colonies". Patricia Southern quotes ancient historians Livy and Dionysius in saying that the "phalanx consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry"; each man had to provide his equipment in battle. Politically they shared the same ranking system in the Comitia Centuriata.
The Roman army of the mid-Republic was known as the "manipular army" or the "Polybian army" after the Greek historian Polybius, who provides the most detailed extant description of this phase. The Roman army started to have a full-time strength of 150,000 at all times and 3/4 of the rest were levied. During this period, the Romans, while maintaining the levy system, adopted the Samnite manipular organisation for their legions and bound all the other peninsular Italian states into a permanent military alliance; the latter were required to supply the same number of troops to joint forces as the Romans to serve under Roman command. Legions in this phase were always accompanied on campaign by the same number of allied alae, units of the same size as legions. After the 2nd Punic War, the Romans acquired an overseas empire, which necessitated standing forces to fight lengthy wars of conquest and to garrison the newly gained provinces, thus the army's character mutated from a temporary force based on short-term conscription to a standing army in which the conscripts were supplemented by a large number of volunteers willing to serve for much longer than the legal six-year limit.
These volunteers were from the poorest social class, who did not have plots to tend at home and were attracted by the modest military pay and the prospect of a share of war booty. The minimum property requirement for service in the legions, suspended during the 2nd Punic War, was ignored from 201 BC onward in order to recruit sufficient volunteers. Between 150-100 BC, the manipular structure was phased out, the much larger cohort became the main tactical unit. In addition, from the 2nd Punic War onward, Roman armies were always accompanied by units of non-Italian mercenaries, such as Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, who provided specialist functions that Roman armies had lacked; the Roman army of the late Republic marks the continued transition between the conscription-based citizen-levy of the mid-Republic and the volunteer, professional standing forces of the imperial era. The main literary sources for the army's organisation and tactics in this phase are the works of Julius Caesar, the most notable of a series of warlords who contested for power in this period.
As a result of the Social War, all Italians were granted Roman citizenship, the old allied alae were abolished and their members integrated into the legions. Regular annual conscription remained in force and continued to provide the core of legionary recruitment, but an ever-increasing proportion of recruits were volunteers, who signed up for 16-year terms as opposed to the maximum 6 years for conscripts; the loss of ala cavalry reduced Roman/Italian cavalry by 75%, legions became dependent on allied native horse for cavalry cover. This period saw the large-scale expansion of native forces employed to complement the legions, made up of numeri recruited from tribes within Rome's overseas empire and neighbouring allied tribes. Large numbers of heavy infantry and cavalry were recruited in Spain and Thrace, archers in Thrace and Syria. However, these native units were not integrated with the legions, but retained th
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus known as Scipio Africanus-Major, Scipio Africanus the Elder and Scipio the Great, was a Roman general and consul, regarded as one of the greatest military commanders and strategists of all time. His main achievements were during the Second Punic War where he is best known for defeating Hannibal at the final battle of Zama in 202 BC, one of the feats that earned him the agnomen Africanus. Prior to this battle Scipio conquered Carthaginian Iberia, culminating in the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC against Hannibal's brother Mago Barca. Although considered a hero by the general Roman populace for his contributions in the struggle against the Carthaginians, Scipio was reviled by other patricians of his day. In his years, he was tried for bribery and treason, unfounded charges that were only meant to discredit him before the public. Disillusioned by the ingratitude of his peers, Scipio withdrew from public life. Publius Cornelius Scipio was born by Caesarean section into the Scipio branch of the gens Cornelia.
His birth year is calculated from statements made by ancient historians of how old he was when certain events in his life occurred and must have been 235/6 BC stated as circa 236 BC. The Cornelii were one of six major patrician families, along with the gentes Manlia, Aemilia, the Claudia, Valeria, with a record of successful public service in the highest offices extending back at least to the early Roman Republic. Scipio's great-grandfather, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, grandfather Lucius Cornelius Scipio, had both been consuls and censors, he was the eldest son of the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio by his wife Pomponia, daughter of plebeian consul Manius Pomponius Matho. Scipio joined the Roman struggle against Carthage in the first year of Second Punic War when his father was consul. During the Battle of Ticinus, he saved his father's life by "charging the encircling force alone with reckless daring."He survived the disaster at the Battle of Cannae, where his would-be father-in-law, the consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus, was killed.
After the battle, with the other consul surviving elsewhere and Appius Claudius Pulcher, as military tribunes, took charge of some 10,000 survivors. On hearing that Lucius Caecilius Metellus and other young nobles were planning to go overseas to serve some king, Scipio stormed into the meeting, at sword-point, forced all present to swear that they would not abandon Rome. Scipio offered himself as a candidate for aedilis curulis in 213 BC alongside his cousin Marcus Cornelius Cethegus; the Tribunate of the Plebs objected to his candidacy, saying that he could not be allowed to stand because he had not yet reached the legal age. Scipio known for his bravery and patriotism, was elected unanimously and the Tribunes abandoned their opposition, his cousin won the election. In 211 BC, both Scipio's father, Publius Scipio, uncle, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, were killed at the Battle of the Upper Baetis in Spain against Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal Barca. At the election of a new proconsul for the command of the new army which the Romans resolved to send to Hispania, Scipio was the only man brave enough to ask for this position, no other candidates wanting the responsibility, considering it a death sentence.
In spite of his youth, his noble demeanour and enthusiastic language had made so great an impression that he was unanimously elected. In the year of Scipio's arrival, all of Hispania south of the Ebro river was under Carthaginian control. Hannibal's brothers Hasdrubal and Mago, Hasdrubal Gisco were the generals of the Carthaginian forces in Hispania, Rome was aided by the inability of these three figures to act in concert; the Carthaginians 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 an excellent harbour and base of operations. Scipio's humanitarian conduct toward prisoners and hostages in Hispania helped in portraying the Romans as liberators as opposed to conquerors. Livy tells the story of his troops capturing a beautiful woman, whom they offered to Scipio as a prize of war. Scipio was astonished by her beauty but discovered that the woman was betrothed to a Celtiberian chieftain named Allucius.
He returned the woman to her fiancé, along with the money, offered by her parents to ransom her. This humanitarian act encouraged local chieftains to both reinforce Scipio's small army; the woman's fiancé, who soon married her, responded by bringing over his tribe to support the Roman armies. In 209 BC, Scipio fought his first set piece battle, driving back Hasdrubal Barca from his position at Baecula on the upper Guadalquivir. Scipio surround his small army. Scipio's objective was, therefore, to eliminate one of the armies to give him the luxury of dealing with the other two piecemeal; the battle was decided by a determined Roman infantry charge up the centre of the Carthaginian position. Roman losses are uncertain but may have been considerable in light of an effort by the infantry to scale an elevation defended by Carthaginian light infantry. Scipio orchestrated a frontal attack by the rest of his infantry to draw out the remainder of the Carthaginian forces. Hasdrubal had not noticed Scipio's hidden reserves of cavalry moving behind enemy lines, a Roman cavalry charge created a double envelopment on either flank led by cavalry commander Gaius Laelius and Scipio himsel