Scipio Africanus Major (Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus)sĭpˈēō ăfrĭkāˈnəs, 236–183 B.C., Roman general, the conqueror of Hannibal in the Punic Wars. He was the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio, and from a very early age he considered himself to have divine inspiration. He was with his father at the Ticino (218), and he survived Cannae (216). The young Scipio was elected (c.211) to the proconsulship in Spain. He conquered New Carthage (Cartagena) almost at once (209) and used the city as his own base; within several years he had conquered Spain. As consul in 205, Scipio wanted to invade Africa, but his jealous enemies in the senate granted him permission to go only as far as Sicily and gave him no army. He trained a volunteer army in Sicily. In 204 he received permission to go to Africa, where he joined his allies the Numidians and fought with success against the Carthaginians. In 202, Hannibal crossed to Africa and tried to make peace, but Scipio's demands were so extreme that war resulted; Scipio defeated Hannibal at Zama (202), returned home in triumph, and retired from public life. He was named Africanus after the country he conquered. His pride aggravated the hatred of his enemies, especially Cato the Elder, who accused the Scipio family of receiving bribes in the campaign against Antiochus III in which Scipio had accompanied (190) his brother. It was only through the influence of his son-in-law, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, that Scipio was saved from ruin. He retired into the country and ordered that his body might not be buried in his ungrateful city. Later he revealed his great magnanimity by his attempt to prevent the ruin of the exiled Hannibal by Rome.
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