previous next

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 to 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 to refute.
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.
This offer 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 legati 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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
153 BC (1)
151 BC (1)
hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: