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1 25. vi. 2-23 (eight years before), had been of no avail. They saw no service as combat troops in Sicily, not even in the long siege of Syracuse.
2 B.C. 204
3 Here Scipio had personal knowledge, having been a tribune of the soldiers at Cannae; XXII. liii. 2; Val. Max. V. vi. 7.
4 This is the maximum known for a legion.
5 Another example of Coelius' rhetorical exaggeration is found in xxvii. 14 f.
6 B.C. 204
7 He had been with his older brother in Spain (XXVIII. iii. 2 ff.; iv. 2 ff.; xvii. 1) and in Sicily (above, vii. 2); consul in 190 B.C. with Laelius; XXXVI. xlv. 9.
8 His quaestorship in this year is attested by Cicero Cat. Mai. 10; Brutus 60; not in 205 B.C., as Nepos Cato i. 3. Plutarch has him return in protest from Sicily to Rome, iii. 7.
9 B.C. 204
10 Trading centres (emporia) along the western shore of the Gulf of Gabès (Syrtis Minor) gave this name to an entire region. It extended southward from Leptis Minor (100 miles from Carthage) and Thapsus. Cf. xxxiii. 9; XXXIV. lxii. 3; Polybius III. xxiii. 2; XXXI. xxi; Pliny N.H. V. 25. So public an announcement of a distant beachhead forces us to suspect that Scipio really intended to land near Utica, after misleading the enemy. Before the great convoy reached Africa spies could easily bring to Carthage news of the order. Cf. note on xxvii. 9; Gsell, op. cit. III. 213; Zielinski in Riv. di storia antica III. 74 f.
11 But remoteness from Carthage would mean a greatly increased distance from Sicily, and on the long passage south-ward Roman ships would be in constant danger of attack, with few ports in which they might seek even a temporary refuge. The fertilissimus ager was little more than a strip  —one more reason to believe that no Roman general would seriously propose to launch a campaign against Carthage from such a coast.
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