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Quote of the day: He was a man of loose character, but of
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 45: Scipio gets Sicily assigned and prepares an army and a fleet.[205 BC]
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Scipio was listened to with impatience, for it was generally believed that if he did not succeed in inducing the senate to decree that Africa should be his province, he would at once bring the question before the Assembly. So Quintus Fabius, who had held four consulships, challenged Scipio to say openly before the senate whether he left the decision as to the provinces in their hands, and was prepared to abide by it, or whether he was going to refer it to the people. Scipio replied that he should act as he thought best in the interests of the State. On this Fabius observed: "It was not because I did not know what you would say or how you would act that I made my request, for you openly avow that you are sounding the House rather than consulting it, and that if we do not at once assign you the province which you want, you have a resolution ready to put to the Assembly." (Then, turning to the tribunes) "I demand of you, tribunes of the plebs, that you support me in my refusal to vote, for even if the decision is in my favour the consul is not going to recognise it." Then a discussion arose between the consul and the tribunes, he asserting that there was no just ground for their intervening and supporting a senator in his refusal to vote, when called upon to do so. The tribunes gave their decision in the following terms: "If the consul submits to the senate the allocation of the provinces their decision shall be binding and final, and we will not allow any reference to the people. If he does not so submit it, we shall support any senator in his refusal to vote when called upon to do so." The consul asked for a day's grace in order to consult his colleague. The following day he submitted the matter to the decision of the senate. The decree made respecting the provinces was that one consul should take Sicily and the thirty warships which Gaius Servilius had had the previous year, permission being granted him to sail to Africa, if he thought such a course would be in the interests of the State; the other consul was to take Bruttium and the operations against Hannibal, with either the army which had served under Lucius Veturius, or the one which Quintus Caecilius had commanded. These two were to ballot and arrange which of them was to act in Bruttium with the two legions which the consul would not require, and the one to whom that field should fall was to have his command extended for a year. With the exception of the consuls and praetors, all who were to take charge of armies and provinces had their commands extended for a year. It fell to Quintus Caecilius to act with the consul against Hannibal in Bruttium. Scipio exhibited the Games amidst the applause of a large and enthusiastic crowd of spectators. Marcus Pomponius Matho and Quintus Catius were sent on a mission to Delphi to carry thither the offering made from the plunder of Hasdrubal's camp. It was a golden 200 crown of pounds' weight, and there were facsimiles of the pieces of spoil made in silver weighing in the aggregate 1000 pounds. Scipio did not succeed in obtaining permission to levy troops and indeed he did not press the point, but he was allowed to enlist volunteers. As he had stated that his fleet would not be a charge on the State he was given liberty to accept any materials contributed by the allies for the construction of his ships. The cantons of Etruria were the first to promise assistance, each according to its means. Caere contributed corn and provisions of all kinds for the crews; Populonia, iron; Tarquinii, cloth for the sails; Volaterrae, timber for the hulls and corn; Arretium, 3000 shields and as many helmets, whilst they were ready to supply as many as 50,000 darts, javelins and long spears. They also offered to furnish all the axes, spades, sickles, gabions and hand-mills required for forty warships as well as 120,000 pecks of wheat and provision for the sailing-masters and the rowers on the voyage. Perusia, Clusium and Russellae sent pine-wood for the timbers of the ships and a large quantity of corn. The Umbrian communities as well as the inhabitants of Nursia, Reate and Amiternum and the whole of the Sabine country promised to furnish men. Numerous contingents from the Marsi, the Paeligni and the Marrucini volunteered to serve on board the fleet. Camerinum, a city leagued on a basis of equal rights with Rome, sent a cohort of six hundred men-at-arms. The keels of thirty ships twenty quinqueremes and ten quadriremes were laid down, and Scipio pressed on the work so rapidly that forty-five days after the timber had been brought from the forests, the ships were launched with their tackle and armament complete.

Attack on Africa, 205 BC

Event: Attack on Africa, 205 BC