During the Punic Wars, Scipio Africanus rose to fame. His family had many enemies and were quite controversial. But was he the same as the rest of them?
Scipio Africanus was great Roman general. After being falsely accused of corruption, he was sent into exile. Before his death, he refused to be buried in Rome and ordered that his tombstone read: “Ungrateful fatherland, you will not even have my bones.”
About Scipio Africanus
According to documentation, Scipio Africanus was born by Caesarean section around 236 BC. Though there have been debate on the year of his birth.
He comes from a long line of consuls and was destined to be one too. He was the son of consul Publius Cornelius Scipio and Pomponia. (Source: Heritage History)
Scipio Africanus in the Military
Scipio joined the Roman army on the first year of the Second Punic War, at this time his father was consul. During the Batter of Ticinus, he was able to save his father’s life by charging against the enemy alone.
He survived the Battle of Cannae he took charge of 10,000 survivors alongside Appius Claudius Pulcher. On hearing that there were several nobles considering to leave Rome and serve another King, Scipio stormed in the meeting and forced everyone to swear that they would not abandon Rome. (Source: Heritage History)
Scipio Africanus in Politics
Needless to say, Scipio was very loyal to Rome. He ran for aedilis curulis in 213 BC. The Tribunate of the Plebs were not too happy about this that they objected his candidacy, saying he was too young. But the people knew of Scipio’s bravery and patriotism that he unanimously won. Those in the Tribune abandoned their opposition at this point.
Scipio gained a lot of political enemies over the years. This was led by Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder. He was accused of receiving bribes from Antiochus. Which brought about talks on corruption. He was exiled because of this. (Source: Heritage History)
After his exile, he spent the rest of his days on the Coast of Campania. It is said he might have passed in 183 but what is certain is that he died at the age of 53.
There have been suspicion about the terms of his passing. It could be that he had suffered the lingering effects of an illness he contracted while he was campaigning, or that he ended his own life. Whichever it is, he demanded that his body be buried away from Rome. Calling it an ungrateful city.
He ordered that his tombstone read: Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habebis. This literally translates to: Ungrateful fatherland, you will not even have my bones. (Source: Heritage History)