Scipio the Younger and Polybius
As the course of my narrative and the events of the
The origin of the friendship between Scipio Aemilianus and Polybius.
time have drawn our attention to this family, I
wish to carry out fully, for the sake of students,
what was left as a mere promise in my previous
book. I promised then that I would relate
the origin and manner of the rise and unusually early glory of
Scipio's reputation in Rome; and also how it came about that
Polybius became so attached to and intimate with him, that the
fame of their friendship and constant companionship was not
merely confined to Italy and Greece, but became known to
more remote nations also. We have already shown that the
acquaintance began in a loan of some books and the conversation about them. But as the intimacy went on, and the Achaean
detenus were being distributed among the various cities, Fabius
and Scipio, the sons of Lucius Aemilius Paulus,1
their influence with the praetor that Polybius might be allowed
to remain in Rome. This was granted: and the intimacy was
becoming more and more close, when the
following incident occurred.
Young Scipio opens his heart to Polybius.
One day, when
they were all three coming out of the house of
Fabius, it happened that Fabius left them to go to the Forum,
and that Polybius went in another direction with Scipio. As
they were walking along, in a quiet and subdued voice, and
with the blood mounting to his cheeks, Scipio said, "Why is
it, Polybius, that though I and my brother eat at the same
table, you address all your conversation and all your questions
and explanations to him, and pass me over altogether? Of
course you too have the same opinion of me as I hear the rest
of the city has. For I am considered by everybody, I hear,
to be a mild effete person, and far removed from the true
Roman character and ways, because I don't care for pleading in
the law courts. And they say that the family I come of requires
a different kind of representative, and not the sort that I am.
That is what annoys me most."