Scipio Volunteers For Spain
The more determined however the Senate was to carry on
The terror of the Celtiberians at Rome made men use every pretext for avoiding service in the army.
the war, the greater became their embarrassment.
For the report brought to Rome by Q. Fulvius
Nobilior, the commander in Iberia in the previous year (B. C. 153), and those who had served
under him, of the perpetual recurrence of the
pitched battles, the number of the fallen, and
the valour of the Celtiberians, combined with the notorious
fact that Marcellus shrank in terror from the war, caused such
a panic in the minds of the new levies as the old men declared
had never happened before. To such an extent did the panic
go, that sufficient men were not found to come forward for the
office of military tribune, and these posts were consequently
not entirely filled up; whereas heretofore a larger number
than were wanted had been wont to volunteer for the duty:
nor would the men nominated by the Consuls as legati
accompany the commanders consent to serve; and, worst of
all, the young men tried to avoid the levies, and put forward
such excuses as were disgraceful for them to allege, and
beneath the investigation of the Consuls, and yet impossible
Scipio volunteers to act as legatus or tribune.
But at length, in this embarrassment of the Senate
and magistrates, when they were wondering what was to be
the end of this shameless conduct of the young
men, for they could call it nothing else, Publius
Cornelius Scipio Africanus, who, though still a
young man, had been one of those to advise the war, and
who, though he had already acquired a reputation for high
principle and pure morality, had not been known for his
personal courage, seeing the Senate was in a difficulty, stood
up and bade them send him to Iberia, either as military
tribune or legatus, for he was ready to serve in either capacity.
"Though, as far as I am concerned," he said, "my mission
to Macedonia would be safer and more appropriate"—for it
happened that at that time Scipio was personally and by name invited by the Macedonians to come and settle the disputes which
were raging among them—"yet the needs of my own country
are the more pressing of the two, and imperatively summon
to Iberia all who have a genuine love of honour."
This offer shames others into doing the same.
was unexpected by all, both from the youth of
Scipio and his general character for caution,
and consequently he became exceedingly popular on the spot, and still more so on subsequent days. For
those who had before shrunk from the danger of the service,
now, from dislike of the sorry figure they made in comparison
with him, began volunteering to serve. Some offered to go as
to the generals, and others in groups and clubs entered
their names on the muster rolls. . . .
Lucius Lucinius Lucullus, consul for B. C. 151, is sent to
Spain, Scipio Aemilianus acting as his legatus. They found that
the Arevacae had already submitted to Marcellus; but being in
want of money Lucullus was determined not to be deprived of a
campaign. He therefore attacked the next tribe, the Vaccaei,
who lived on the other side of the Tagus, nominally on the pretext of their having injured the Carpetani. The war which
followed was marked by signal acts of cruelty and treachery on
the part of Lucullus, as on that of the praetor Servius Sulpicius
Galba among the Lusitani. Appian, Hisp. 49-55.