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Scipio Africanus Major

      P. Cornelius Scipio, Africanus Major, was the son of that P. Cornelius Scipio who was defeated by Hannibal at the Ticinus. If it be true that at the age of seventeen Scipio fought in this battle, and rescued his wounded father, he must have been born in B.C. 235. He was in the battle of Cannae (B.C. 216) as a tribune, and was among those who, after the defeat, escaped to Canusium. Here the chief command of the remaining troops was unanimously entrusted to him and another. On this occasion it was owing to his presence of mind that the remnants of the Roman army did not, in their despair, quit Italy.

      In B.C. 212, Scipio was curule aedile, though he had not yet attained the legitimate age. The tribunes of the people endeavored to prevent his election, but they were obliged to give up their opposition, for the people, who seem to have perceived the extraordinary abilities of the young man, elected him almost unanimously. In B.C. 211 his father and uncle fell in Spain, and the Carthaginians again took possession of the country, which they had almost entirely lost. When Capua had fallen again into their hands, and Italy no longer required their exclusive attention, the Romans determined to act with more energy against the Carthaginians in Spain. On the day of the election, no one ventured to come forward to undertake the command in this war. Young Scipio, then scarcely twenty-four years of age, at last offered to take the command of the army in Spain. The people were struck with...

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