He supplemented his decree with an indignant speech: “Are your feet, tribunes, to trample down Scipio, that conqueror of Africa?
Was it for this that he repulsed and routed four of the most noted generals of the Carthaginians in Spain, and four armies?
Was it for this that he captured Syphax, overthrew Hannibal, made Carthage tributary to us, drove Antiochus —for Lucius Scipio admits his brother to a share in this glory —beyond the ridges of Taurus, that he should fall a victim to the two Petillii?
Will you allow a victory over Publius Africanus to be sought? Shall distinguished men by no services of their own, by no honours of your bestowal, ever reach a safe and, as it were, sacred citadel where their old age, if not respected, at least secure, may find rest?”
Both the decree and the supplementary speech touched not only the tribunes but even the prosecutors themselves, and the latter said that they would take counsel as to what their right and duty required. After that, when the assembly of the people had been adjourned, a meeting of the senate began.
There boundless gratitude was expressed by the whole order and especially by the senators of consular rank and greater age, because Tiberius Gracchus had shown greater regard for the public interest than for his personal quarrels, and the Petillii were assailed with abuse because they had tried to become conspicuous by darkening another's reputation and were seeking spoils from a triumph over Africanus.
Thenceforth there was silence regarding Africanus. He spent his life at Liternum, with no desire to [p. 187]
return to the City;
they say that he2
gave orders that he should be buried in that same place in the country and that his tomb should be erected there, that his funeral might not be held in an ungrateful home-land. He was a man to be remembered, although more to be remembered for his achievements in war than for his deeds in peace.
The first part of his life was more distinguished than the last, since in his youth he was continually waging wars, while with old age his deeds too faded, nor was any opportunity afforded to display his talent. What was his second consulship compared to the first, even if you add the censorship?
What was gained by his lieutenancy in Asia, rendered unprofitable as it was by his illness and disfigured by the misfortune3
of his son and, after his return, by the necessity of either standing trial or leaving the trial and his country at the same time?
Nevertheless, since he brought to an end the Punic War, than which there was waged none greater nor more dangerous by the Romans, he has secured a singular pre-eminence of fame.