Character of Hamilcar Phameas
was the general of the
Hamilcar Phameas, the commander of the Punic cavalry. Appian, Pun. 100.
Carthaginians, a man in the very prime of life
and of great physical strength. What is of the
utmost importance too for service in the field,
he was an excellent and bold horseman. . . .
When he saw the advanced guard, Phameas, though not at
all deficient in courage, avoided coming to close quarters with
Scipio: and on one occasion when he had come near his
reserves, he got behind the cover of the brow of a hill and
halted there a considerable time. . . .
The Roman maniples fled to the top of a hill; and when
all had given their opinions, Scipio said, "When men are consulting what measures to take at first, their object should be to
avoid disaster rather than to inflict it."2
. . .
It ought not to excite surprise that I am
Polybius's personal knowledge of Scipio.
more minute than usual in my account of Scipio
and that I give in detail everything which he
said. . . .
When Marcius Porcius Cato heard in Rome of the glorious
achievements of Scipio he uttered a palinode to his criticisms
of him: "What have you heard? He alone has the breath
of wisdom in him: the rest are but flitting phantoms."3