John C. Yardley and Dexter Hoyos (eds), Oxford World's Classics: Livy: Hannibal's War: Books Twenty-One to Thirty

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Scipio's address was less favourably received: word had got round that, if he failed in the Senate to have Africa assigned to him as his area of responsibility, he would immediately bring a proposal before the people. And so Quintus Fulvius, who had held four consulships and had also been censor, demanded of the consul that he make a clear statement before the Senate. Would he leave it to the senators to determine the areas of responsibility, and accept their decision, or would he take the matter to the people? When Scipio replied that he would do whatever served the interests of the state, Fulvius said: 'When I put that question to you, I was not unaware of what your reply and what your reaction would be. For you make it clear that you are sounding out the Senate rather than consulting it, and that, if we do not immediately vote you the assignment you want, you have a proposal for the people already drawn up. Accordingly, tribunes of the plebs, I earnestly request that you stand by me when I refuse my opinion. For even if the division favours my proposal, the consul is not going to accept it as binding.'

And with that wrangling broke out, because the consul claimed it was unconstitutional for the tribunes to intervene in support of any senator refusing to state his opinion when asked to do so in his turn. The tribunes then delivered the following judgement: 'If the consul permits the Senate to decide on the assignment of responsibilities, it is our wish that the decision of the Senate be binding, and we shall not allow the matter to be brought before the people. If the consul does not so permit, we shall support a person refusing to voice his opinion on the matter.' The consul requested a day to discuss the issue with his colleague, and the following day the Senate had his permission.

The areas of responsibility were assigned as follows.* One of the consuls received Sicily together with the thirty warships that Gaius Servilius had commanded the year before. That consul was also given leave to cross to Africa if he felt it to be in the interests of the state. The other was given Bruttium and the war against Hannibal, with his own choice of army. Lucius Veturius and Quintus Caecilius were to decide by sortition, or by mutual agreement, which of the two was to continue operations in Bruttium with the two legions that the consul would leave there. The one given that assignment would pg 511have his imperium extended for a year. All others who were to take charge of armies and hold official responsibilities (apart from the consuls and praetors) also had their imperium extended. It fell to Quintus Caecilius by sortition to join the consul for the war against Hannibal in Bruttium.

The games vowed by Scipio were then put on, with large crowds of enthusiastic spectators in attendance. Marcus Pomponius Matho and Quintus Catius were sent on a mission to Delphi to take a gift from the spoils of Hannibal. They bore a golden crown weighing 200 pounds, and reproductions of the spoils made from 1,000 pounds of silver.

Scipio had not been granted a request to levy troops, but he had not been particularly insistent, either. He did, however, secure authorization to take volunteers with him and—because he had stated that the fleet would not involve state expense—to receive all allied contributions for the construction of new ships. The various peoples of Etruria were first to commit to helping the consul, according to the means of each.* The people of Caere promised grain for the crews and all manner of provisions. Populonia promised iron, Tarquinii sail-linen, and Volaterrae wax caulking for ships, and grain. Arretium made a commitment of 3,000 shields and as many helmets, and also a total of 40,000 javelins, Gallic spears, and long pikes, in equal numbers. It would also supply axes, shovels, scythes, basins, and grinders sufficient for forty warships, as well as 120,000 measures of grain, and a contribution towards the upkeep of naval officers and oarsmen. Perusia, Clusium, and Rusellae made a commitment of fir for the construction of ships, and a large quantity of grain. Scipio also availed himself of fir from the state-owned forests. The peoples of Umbria promised to supply fighting men, as did those of Nursia, Reate, Amiternum, and the entire Sabine area. Large numbers of Marsi, Paeligni, and Marrucini gave their names as volunteers for the fleet. The people of Camerinum, who had a treaty with Rome based on equal rights, sent an armed contingent of 600 men.

Keels were laid down for thirty ships, twenty quinqueremes and ten quadriremes. Such was the determination with which Scipio then attacked the work that the vessels were launched, fully equipped and rigged, forty-four days after the timber had been taken from the woods.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
45 assigned as follows: this denouement is abrupt. The dispute in the Senate has reached its height—then suddenly the Senate gives Scipio what he wants. He must have used the day's grace to good effect behind the scenes. L. is more interested in the constitutional and procedural issues arising from the dispute than in the dispute itself. More broadly still, what interests him is the emblematic opposition between young, charismatic vigour and old, perhaps weary caution—rather than (for instance) who supported Scipio's position and who Fabius', or what the relative strength of the two sides in the debate was. Scipio's abrupt victory suggests, despite L., that he had a majority all along, partly perhaps because he promised to recruit volunteers only and otherwise cut costs.
Editor’s Note
the means of each: what follows is a noteworthy, even though limited, register of the economic capacities of Etruria's communities at this time. What munitions other parts of Italy contributed L. does not detail, or who built the fleet (no doubt the naval allies like Naples and Paestum). His source's interest, or his own, lessens after the Etruscan entries.
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