Version classiqueVersion mobile

Cornelius Nepos, Life of Hannibal

Cornelius Nepos


Texte intégral


1Nepos introduces his collection of biographies of famous generals.

  • 1 The references in round brackets that occur throughout this chapter point to Allen Greenough′s New (...)

2(1) nōn dubitō fore plērōsque: indirect statement with a verb of expecting (AG §580c),1 ″I do not doubt that there will be a great many (people)″. fore: alternative form of futūrōs esse.

3Attice: Nepos′ friend, Titus Pomponius Atticus (ca. 109‒ca. 32 BC). The vocative signals that the work is dedicated to him. Atticus was a wealthy and learned man who spent many years living in Greece, thus earning him the agnomen ″the man from Athens″. From the letters of Cicero, with whom Atticus maintained a lifelong correspondence, we know that Atticus occasionally returned to Rome and was involved in various political negotiations and affairs on Cicero′s behalf. Atticus′ house on the Quirinal hill in Rome often served as a meeting place for writers such as Nepos, Cicero, and the greatest scholar of the age, Marcus Terentius Varro. In addition to an influential epitome of Roman history (Liber annalis), he composed letters, poetry, and an account of Cicero′s consulship in Greek. None of Atticus′ works have survived.

4quī… iūdicent: relative clause of characteristic (AG §535); its antecedent is plērōsque.

5leve: ″unimportant, trivial″, in comparison to more serious genres, such as history.

6dīgnum: ″worthy of″ + ablative (AG §418b).

7cum relātum legent: ″when they (will) read it related/told″. relātum is the perfect passive participle of referō.

8quis mūsicam docuerit Epamīnōndam: indirect question with perfect subjunctive, docuerit (AG §574). An educated Greek man was expected to be able to play the lyre and sing festive, improvised songs known as skolia at dinner parties. Romans thought such behavior beneath the dignity of a freeborn male.

docuerit: doceō takes a double accusative of the person taught (Epamīnōndam) and the subject being taught (mūsicam).
Epamīnōndam: Epaminondas, a Theban general and statesman, was hailed in antiquity as one of the most virtuous and incorruptible of the Greeks. Nepos′ biography of Epaminondas, who forever broke Sparta′s military power at the Battle of Leuctra (371 BC), survives.

9ēius… eum: i.e., Epaminondas.

10commemorārī: passive infinitive dependent on relātum legent and introducing two indirect statements that describe the other un‒Roman activities performed by Epaminondas, 1) saltāsse eum commodē and 2) scienterque tībiīs cantāsse.

11saltā(vi)sse and cantā(vi)sse: syncopated perfects (AG §181).

12(2) hī: referring back to the plērōsque in the previous sentence; antecedent of quī, ″those who…″.

13ferē: with words of number or quantity (e.g., plērōsque), ″for the most part″.

14expertēs: in apposition with quī. expers takes the genitive, litterārum Graecārum, ″ignorant of Greek culture″. Remember that expers is derived from ex‒pars (″to have no part in″); it should not be confused with ″expert″, derived from expertus > experior (″to try, to have experienced″).

15nisi quod: ″except that which…″, introducting a relative clause of characteristic.

16mōribus: ″ways″ or ″customs″, dative with the compound verb, conveniat.

17(3) didicerint: future perfect > discō, introducing an indirect statement.

18turpia: ″ugly″ in the sense of ″morally reprehensible″. This is a key word for Nepos in the Prologus.

19maiōrum: ″of (their own) ancestors″.

20nōs… secūtōs [esse]: indirect statement dependent on nōn admīrābuntur. nōs: i.e., Nepos; ancient authors often referred to themselves using plural forms, especially in prose. Although the precise connotation of this common usage is debatable, it does not convey haughtiness or pretension, as the use of English ″we″ might in a similar circumstance.

21in Grāiōrum virtūtibus expōnendīs: ″in setting forth the excellences of Greeks″. expōnendīs is gerundive (AG §503). Nepos mentions Greeks because most of the foreigners in his biographies are Greek, but non‒Greek foreign generals — Datames, Hamilcar, and Hannibal — are also treated with respect.

22eōrum: i.e., Grāiōrum.

23(4) enim: introduces an example that explains the generalization in the previous sentence.

24Cīmōnī: Cimon, an Athenian general, played an important role in neutralizing Persia′s threat to Greece in the aftermath of the Persian Wars (490‒479 BC).

25Athēniēnsium summō virō: in apposition with Cīmōnī.

26sorōrem germānam: although germānam would usually indicate a full sibling, it can refer to a sister with the same father but a different mother. It is unclear whether Nepos means to imply that Cimon married his half‒sister, which is true, or if he mistakenly believed that Cimon married his full sister. Marrying a full sister was generally considered taboo in Athens, although according to the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (ca. 20 BC‒AD 50) an old law in Athens permitted men to marry their sisters by the same father, while the equivalent law in Sparta permitted men to marry sisters by the same mother, but not vice versa (Philo, On Special Laws 3.4). Following the analogy of seeds and soil in agriculture, most ancient Greeks and Romans subscribed to the theory that the male seed was the active element of reproduction.

27quippe: intensifying affirmative particle emphasizing the causal cum clause (AG §549).

28cīvēs: ″fellow citizens″.

29ūterentur: ″use″ + ablative of means, eōdem… īnstitūtō (AG §410).

30nostrīs mōribus: i.e., Roman customs.

31nefās: something that is contrary to moral law or the dictates of heaven, ″taboo″.

32laudī dūcitur adulēscentulīs: ″it is considered a (source of) honor for young men″. laudī is a dative of purpose in a double dative construction in which adulēscentulīs is the dative of reference (AG §382).

33quam plūrimōs amātōrēs: ″as many lovers as possible″; quam + superlative: ″as… as possible″ (AG §291c). Nepos here refers to relationships between older and younger men.

34Lacedaemonī: locative, ″in Sparta″ (AG §35h).

35nūlla vidua est quae: ″there is no widow of the sort who…″, introducting a relative clause of characteristic.

36†ad cēnam† eat mercēde conducta: the meaning of this phrase is unclear and the text may be corrupt; other manuscripts read ad scaenam (″on stage″) and scholars have offered numerous conjectures for what Nepos may have written (e.g., obscena, ″lewdness, indecency″). No ancient author supports Nepos′ contention that it was honorable for Spartan widows to hire themselves out as courtesans at feasts; nevertheless, since many ancient authors spoke about the moral laxity of Spartan woman, it is not difficult to imagine how such a misconception might arise.

37eat: present subjunctive > eō, īre.

38mercēde conducta: ″hired for a fee″; mercēde: ablative of price (AG §416).

39(5) tōtā… Graeciā: ablative of place where. When an adjective is used, the preposition in is often omitted, regularly so with tōtus (AG §429.2); compare in Graeciā (12.3).

40victōrem Olympiae citārī: ″to be announced as champion at Olympia″.

41populō esse spectāculō: ″to be a (source of) spectacle for the people″, double dative construction (AG §382).

42nēminī fuit turpitūdinī: another double dative.

43apud nōs: ″among us″, i.e., in Roman as opposed to Greek culture.

44pōnuntur: ″are considered″; Nepos frequently uses this verb as a synonym of habeor, iūdicō, or exīstimō.

45(6) contrā ea: ″in opposition to these things″, i.e., ″on the other hand″; ea (neuter plural) refers to the previous sentence. This phrase is common in prose writers of the late republic (e.g., Caesar and Livy).

46nostrīs mōribus: dative with decōra.

47quem: interrogative pronoun, accusative of the person affected by the sentiment of the impersonal verb, pudet, ″it is shameful to which of the Romans…?″; i.e., ″what Roman feels shame…?″

48Rōmānōrum: partitive genitive limiting quem (AG §346).

49uxōrem dūcere: ″to lead [one′s] wife″ (rather than the common idiom, ″to marry″).

50māter familiās: the loyal wife of the head of the Roman family, the pater familias; familiās is an old form of the first declension genitive (AG §43b). Nepos′ comments about the free movement of Roman women should be taken to apply to upper class women in respectable households. While pater familias was a strictly defined legal term referring to the oldest male in a familia, the Roman jurist Ulpian (AD 170‒228) claimed that ″character is what distinguishes and separates a mater familias from other women; accordingly it makes no difference whether she is married or a widow, freeborn or freed; for neither marriage nor birth make a mater familias, but good character″ (Digest The strong association of the term with the sexual chastity of the respectable Roman matrona explains Nepos′ use of the term in this context. Women of lower socio‒economic status would, presumably, have even fewer constraints on their public visibility, although information about their lives is scanty.

51prīmum locum: i.e., the atrium. Originally used for domestic industry such as weaving, it became the principle receiving room of the upper‒class Roman house.

52in celēbritāte versātur: ″appears in public″.

53(7) quod: connective relative that associates the sentence with part or all of the preceding thought (AG §308f).

54multō: ″by a lot″, ″much″ (modifying aliter); ablative of degree of difference (AG §414).

55nisi propinquōrum: ″except among relations″.

56quō: ″(to) where″, adverb modifying accēdit.

57(8) hīc: adverbial, ″at this point″.

58plūra persequī: ″recounting more instances″, an object clause (AG §452) explaining what the scope of the book (magnitūdō volūminis) and Nepos′ eagerness (festīnātiō) prevent (prohibet).

59cum… tum: ″both… and…″.

60magnitūdō volūminis: could refer just to the book of biographies of foreign generals, or to the entire corpus of sixteen books, which contained over 400 biographies.

61festīnātiō ut ea explicem, quae exōrsus sum: ″my haste to explain those things (ea) which (quae)…″; ut introduces a purpose clause triggered by fēstinātiō, a noun that contains the notion of action.

62ad prōpositum: ″to the point″ (of the task).

63veniēmus… expōnēmus: note the future tense.

Essay on Nepos′ Prologus to the Lives of Outstanding Commanders

64In this short preface to his biographies of foreign generals, Nepos dedicates the work to his friend Titus Pomponius Atticus (ca. 109‒ca. 32 BC) and warns that his readers should not be shocked to see celebrated foreigners engaging in behavior that would seem scandalous or reprehensible if undertaken by a Roman. Customs differ between nations, he says, since they arise from different national traditions.

65Nepos suggests that some readers may find this kind of writing trivial (leve), a remark that can be understood as referring to biography per se, or to the particular challenge of writing biographies of generals, whose exploits were traditionally told in the serious genre of history. Despite this gesture of modesty, Nepos does employ some devices of the higher genre of history writing proper. The rhythm of the opening phrase, for example, is dactylic, the meter of epic: Nōn dŭbĭtō fŏrĕ plērōsque, Āttĭcĕ, quī hōc. Many historians begin their prose works with such a poetic flourish (e. g. Livy, Eutropius, and Tacitus), and formal Latin prose generally includes moments of metrical rhythm, especially at the beginning and end of long periods.

66To seek out the best lessons of noble conduct, Nepos decided that he would not limit his biographies to notable Romans, but would present the noble characters of Romans and foreigners alike. Evaluating the morality and virtue of foreigners, however, presented a challenge. Nepos imagines a chauvinistic response from those unable to take seriously people who engaged in activities that upper‒class male Romans generally agreed were disgraceful — such as dancing, or appearing on stage for the entertainment of the common people, or keeping their women cloistered in the house — or even unlawful, like marrying a close relative.

67While Nepos′ tolerance of other cultural practices may strike the modern reader as refreshing, the differences in customs and behaviors mentioned by Nepos are ultimately shown to be superficial. Indeed, in Nepos′ view, cultural difference is an illusion that masks the common nature of all people: ″the nature of all states is the same″ (eandem omnium civitatum esse naturam). A Greek might dance or play the flute or marry his half‒sister; but all good men — Greek, Roman, or even Carthaginian — display the universal virtues of intelligence, courage, and loyalty, and so reveal themselves as suitable models for the behavior of even the most upright Roman reader.

Chapter 1

68Nepos compares Hannibal′s individual greatness to the superiority of the Roman people (1‒2). Hannibal′s implacable hostility towards the Romans, even after being sent into exile by his fellow‒citizens, was a kind of family inheritance (3).

69(1) Hannibal: Most Carthaginian proper names are rendered in Latin as third declension nouns. In Punic, the language spoken by the Carthaginians, Hannibal meant something like ″The Favorite of Baal″. Baal Hammon was the chief god of the Carthaginians.

70Hamilcaris: Hamilcar (ca. 275‒229 BC) was a Carthaginian general and father of three sons: Hannibal, Hasdrubal, and Mago, all of whom led armies against Rome in the Second Punic War. In the latter phase of the First Punic War (264‒241 BC), Hamilcar waged a brilliant guerilla campaign to defend Mount Hercte and Mount Eryx in Sicily. His aptitude for quick, devastating raids earned him the nickname Barca or ″Thunderbolt″. Hamilcar so impressed the Romans with his ferocity and ingenuity that, when Carthage surrendered, Hamilcar and his soldiers were allowed to keep their weapons, a symbol that they were never defeated. Nepos recounts these exploits in the first chapter of his Life of Hamilcar. Before Hamilcar died in battle in 229 BC, he conquered extensive territory in Hispania and founded the city of Barcino (modern Barcelona).

71Karthāginiēnsis: Adjectives ending in ‒ēnsis indicate a person or thing that belongs to something or comes from someplace (AG §249).

72sī vērum est: indicative because Nepos believes that his statement is true. He further emphasizes its veracity with the relative clause, quod nēmō dubitat.

73ut populus Rōmānus omnēs gentēs virtūte superārit: substantive clause that articulates what is vērum (AG §571c).

virtūte: ablative of specification, revealing the quality in which the populus Rōmānus surpasses omnēs gentēs (AG §418). Nepos refers to the Romans′ military aptitude, not their ″virtue″ in general. Nepos′ general stance, articulated in the Prologus to the Lives of Outstanding Commanders, is that no single people has a monopoly on virtue.
superārit: = superā(ve)rit, syncopated perfect (AG §181).

74nōn est īnfitiandum: future passive periphrastic indicating necessity or obligation (AG §500.2), ″it must not be denied that...″.

75Hannibalem: accusative subject belonging to the clause introduced by tantō, but placed before tantō for extra emphasis.

76tantō… quantō: ablatives of degree of difference linking two correlative clauses with comparative sense (AG §414a), ″by as much as (quantō)... by just as much (tantō)...″. Nepos underscores the comparison between Hannibal and the Roman people by including the same five elements in each correlative clause.









cēterōs imperātōrēs



populus Rōmānus


cūnctās nātiōnēs


77prūdentiā… fortitūdine: ablatives of specification, like virtūte in the first sentence. Nepos contrasts the tactical brillance of Hannibal (prūdentia) and the resolute durability of the Romans (fortitūdō) that will enable the Romans to withstand Hannibal′s initial victories, regroup, and ultimately prevail. Note how Nepos has framed the war as a contest between Hannibal and the Roman people rather than between Carthage and Rome, a theme he elaborates in the next paragraph.

78antecēdat: subjunctive because it appears in a dependent clause in an indirect statement; it does not connote any sense of doubt or uncertainty (AG §591).

79(2) Nam quotiēnscumque cum eō congressus est: note the frequent alliteration, a common feature of Nepos′ style.

eō: object of cum, referring to the masculine singular noun in the previous sentence (populō Rōmānō).
congressus est: > congredior; Hannibal is the understood subject.

80semper discessit superior: Nepos makes the same declaration about Hannibal′s father, Hamilcar (who died in battle). Hannibal was repulsed from Nola three times (215‒214 BC) and fought many indecisive battles in the last decade of the war. Nepos here follows the tenacious myth of Hannibal′s invincibility in battle.

81quod nisi: ″but if (he had) not″; analogous to quodsi, ″but if″.

82domī: locative (AG §428k), referring generally to Carthage and its politics, which was riven by long‒running factional strife. One Carthaginian faction, represented by Hamilcar and his sons, favored an aggressive policy of expansion outside of Africa. They believed that cultivating trade and conquering new territory would make Carthage powerful enough to confront the existential threat posed by Rome. The other faction, led by Hanno the Great, favored the agricultural interests of Carthaginian landowners and further territorial expansion in Africa. Since Hanno′s faction viewed Rome as just another regional power, they favored accommodation of Roman interests, provided Rome did not interfere in Carthage′s African territory. As so often happens, these ideological differences became entangled with family vendettas and private grudges. Hanno, for example, sought to weaken the position of Hamilcar by publically accusing him of pederasty and of giving his daughter in marriage to his young lover, Hasdrubal the Fair, so that he could continue to enjoy Hasdrubal′s affections. The limited support and reinforcements sent to Hannibal during his Italian campaign and Hannibal′s dogged opposition to the landed aristocracy after the war should be viewed in the context of this long‒running ideological and personal conflict.

83vidētur: used personally with the infinitive, potuisse; ″Hannibal seems likely to have been able…″.

84multōrum: subjective genitive (AG §343); i.e., many Carthaginians heaped abuse on Hannibal, rather than Hannibal reviled many people. Roman historians often framed their stories as a conflict between the genius and moral courage of a great individual and the envy and folly of the crowd. For more on the malice of the Carthaginian people towards Hannibal, see Livy 30.20.3‒4.

85(3) hic: i.e., Hannibal.

86odium paternum: i.e., hatred possessed by his father (Hamilcar), not hatred of his father (by Hannibal). Nepos′ use of paternum emphasizes that the odium of Rome is passed down (relictum) ″like an inheritance″ (velut hērēditāte) in Hannibal′s family. In his Life of Hamilcar, Nepos states that this odium was the principal cause of the Second Punic War: ″Hannibal, his son, was so led by his father′s continual entreaties, that he would prefer to die than not make trial of the Romans″ (4).

87ergā: ″towards, against″ + accusative. Nepos, like Plautus and Tacitus, uses ergā with unfriendly feelings (odium); ergā is more typically used with expressions of friendly feelings, while the synonyms contrā and adversus are more common with unfriendly feelings.

88sīc cōnservāvit, ut… dēposuerit: sīc signals a result clause, ut… dēposuerit, ″he so conservāvit his odium that…″ (AG §537). Result clauses are often signaled by words such as tantus (see 2.1, 5.2 below), ita (2.5), adeō (4.3), or sīc (12.3); but these markers are not required (10.6).

89prius animam quam id dēposuerit: ″he would sooner surrender his life than it″ (id, i.e., odium paternum). Words implying comparison like prius are often followed by quam several words or even clauses later (AG §434) or they may be written as one word (e. g. priusquam in 7.6, 11.1). dēposuerit: perfect subjunctive in secondary sequence after conservāvit.

90quī quidem: ″because he, indeed″; quī introduces a relative clause of cause (AG §540c) with the subjunctive, dēstiterit.

91cum: concessive cum clause (AG §549), ″although…″

92aliēnārum opum: ″another′s resources″. After Hannibal was expelled from Carthage in 195 BC he assisted first King Antiochus III of Syria and then Prusias I of Bithynia in their wars against Rome, as Nepos goes on to explain.

93animō: ablative of respect, ″in his mind″.

Chapter 2

94Nepos flashes forward to Hannibal′s arrival in the court of Antiochus the Great, after his exile from Carthage in 195 BC (1). Hannibal proves his loyalty to Antiochus by recounting how he swore an oath of eternal hatred against Rome before his father allowed him to join the army (2‒5). Having finished the story of his oath, Hannibal exhorts Antiochus to spurn an alliance with Rome and to offer him command of Antiochus′ forces (6).

95(1) nam: this conjunction indicates that this sentence will justify or explain the last statement (AG §324h).

96ut omittam: a common idiom, favored by Nepos′ contemporary Cicero, ″if I may pass over…″ → ″not to mention″, ″to say nothing of″.

97Philippum: King Philip V of Macedon (reigned 221‒179 BC). After forging an alliance with Hannibal, Philip launched the First Macedonian War (214‒205 BC). Hannibal, after his crushing victory at the Battle of Cannae (below, 4.4), enticed many cities of southern Italy and Sicily to revolt. Hannibal also received an embassy from Philip, who proposed an alliance against Rome. Although Philip possessed significant military resources, Rome′s control of the sea prevented Philip and Hannibal from joining forces in Italy. After Philip had occupied large sections of Illyria in 212, the Romans attempted to neutralize Philip through diplomacy. But after Philip defeated an anti‒Macedonian coalition of Greek states and prevented a Roman expeditionary force from retaking Illyria, Rome negotiated a separate peace in 205. The treaty recognized Philip′s territorial gains in Illyria, but Rome had won a more significant strategic victory by severing the alliance between Philip and Hannibal. And Rome had a long memory. Philip′s reckoning would come almost a decade later when Rome crushed the Macedonians at the Battle of Cynocephalae in 197 BC, thus concluding the Second Macedonian War (200‒197/6 BC). After the defeat, Philip was stripped of his independence, although he was allowed to remain on his throne.

98absēns: refers to Hannibal; i.e., Hannibal sent an embassy that forged the anti‒Roman alliance with Philip.

99hostem: i.e., Philip, in apposition with the relative pronoun, quem.

100Antiochus: King Antiochus III (the Great) of the Seleucid Kingdom (reigned 222‒187 BC). Hannibal would flee to Antiochus′ court in 195 BC (see 7.6‒8.4).

101hunc: Antiochus; Hannibal is the subject of incendit.

102tantā cupiditāte: tantā signals the result clause, ut… cōnātus sit inferre.

103bellandī: objective genitive, ″for waging war″ (AG §347); bellandī appears after the verb, incendit, for the sake of stylistic variety. Despite the tendency in Latin for the verb to come at the end of a sentence, authors routinely place a word or closely connected phrase after the verb to avoid monotony (AG §596a). Note that Italiae follows cōnātus sit inferre in the next clause. The same variation can be found in the next sentence with Rōmānī, operam, and ad rēgem.

104ūsque ā rubrō marī: ″all the way from the Red Sea″. To the Romans, the Mare Rubrum (more frequently the Mare Erythraeum) referred to all of the waters around the Arabian Peninsula.

105Italiae: dative with the compound verb, inferre (AG §370).

106Roman legates attempt to undermine Hannibal′s position in Antiochus′ court.

107(2) In this, the most complex sentence in the Life, Nepos first delineates the circumstances in which the main action occurs (clauses a‒i) before at last revealing the main action (clause j).

(a) Ad quem cum lēgātī vēnissent Rōmānī,

circumstantial cum clause

(b) quī dē ēius voluntāte explōrārent

relative clause of purpose #1

(c) darentque operam,

relative clause of purpose #2

cōnsiliīs clandestīnīs,

ablative of means

(d) ut Hannibalem in suspīciōnem rēgī addūcerent,

substantive purpose clause explaining goal of action in (c)

(e) tamquam ab ipsīs corruptus alia atque anteā sentīret

clause of comparison explaining how (d) was accomplished

(f) neque id frūstrā fēcissent

circumstantial cum clause (a) resumes

(g) idque Hannibal comperisset

circumstantial cum clause continues

(h) sēque ab interiōribus cōnsiliīs sēgregārī vīdisset,

circumstantial cum clause continues

(i) tempore datō

ablative absolute or ablative of time

(j) adiit ad rēgem.

main clause

108This sentence provides an excellent example of the Latin Period, the lengthy but logically coherent sentence structure that was favored by most Latin prose authors.

(a) Ad quem cum lēgātī vēnissent Rōmānī: circumstantial cum clause describing an action that precedes the action of the main verb (AG §546). The lēgātī Rōmānī, led by Publius Villius Tappulus, arrived in Antiochus′ court in 193/2 BC.
Ad quem: i.e., King Antiochus. The connective relative links a sentence with an aspect of the preceding sentence (AG §308f). It is a device much favored by Nepos. Positioning a key word or phrase before the subordinating conjunction (cum) is very common in Latin.
vēnissent: pluperfect subjunctive in secondary sequence indicating the action occurred before the perfect main verb adiit, likewise the verbs fēcissent (in clause f), comperisset (g), and vīdisset (h).
(b) quī dē ēius voluntāte explōrārent: relative clause of purpose expressing the reason that the lēgātī vēnissent (AG §531), ″in order to gain information about his [i.e., Antiochus′] intentions″. explōrārent: imperfect subjunctive in secondary sequence indicating that the action happened at the same time that the lēgātī vēnissent Rōmānī.
(c) darentque operam… ut: ″and they endeavored to″. The‒que links the entire clause to the preceding thought.
cōnsiliīs clandestīnīs: ablative of means explaining how the lēgātī darent operam.
(d) ut… addūcerent: expresses the purpose towards which the lēgātī Rōmānī aimed when they darent operam (AG §563). addūcerent: frequently takes an accusative (Hannibalem) and a prepositional phrase denoting the place or state into which the accusative was led (in suspīciōnem).
rēgī: dative of reference denoting the person for whose benefit the action was accomplished, ″in the eyes of the king″ (AG §376).
(e) tamquam ab ipsīs corruptus alia atque anteā sentīret: the Rōmānī lēgātī pretend that Hannibal is corruptus.
tamquam: ″as if …″.
ab ipsīs: ablative of personal agent with corruptus; ipsīs, i.e., lēgātīs Rōmānīs.
alia atque anteā: idiomatic, ″differently than before″, object of sentīret, whose subject is Hannibal.
(f) neque id frūstrā fēcissent: the tense of fēcissent signals that the circumstantial cum clause has resumed. The circumstantial cum clauses continue in clause g (comperisset) and clause h (vīdisset).
(g) comperi(vi)sset: syncopated perfect (AG §181). Note the shift in number from plural to singular as Nepos moves to recounting Hannibal′s actions.
(h) ab interiōribus cōnsiliīs: ″more intimate councils″, i.e., the King′s inner circle of advisors.
(i) tempore datō: ablative absolute or ablative of time when, ″when the opportunity presented itself″ (to Hannibal).
(j) adiit ad rēgem: note how Nepos echoes the prefix of the verb (ad‒) in the preposition (ad). Roman authors often favor wordplay that we avoid in formal writing (e. g. 2.4, 5.3, etc.).

10. Hannibal′s Oath of Hatred Against Rome. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.

109(3) eīque cum multa… commemorāsset: circumstantial cum clause (AG §546; as in 2.2 above). The subordinating conjunction (cum) is displaced from the start of its clause by a key word (the connective,). eīque: i.e., Antiochus; dative with commemorā (vi) sset, syncopated pluperfect subjunctive. multa: object of commemorāsset.

110odiō: like fidē, an object of the preposition.

111in Rōmānōs: ″towards the Romans″, ″against the Romans″.

112puerulō mē: ablative absolute; since Latin lacks the present or perfect participle of esse, an ablative absolute can consist of a noun and adjective or two nouns in the ablative, as here (AG §419a; 7.2, 9.3, 12.2); puerulō: the diminutive of puer → ″a little boy″.

113utpote nōn amplius novem annōs nātō: further specifies what Hannibal means by puerulō mē, i.e., when he was nōn amplius novem annīs. nātō: agrees with; ″not being more than 9 years old″, thus in 238/7 BC.

114Karthāgine: locative, ″in Carthage″.

115Iovī optimō maximō: ″to Jupiter Optimus Maximus″, the supreme Roman god. Nepos follows the Roman practice of using the name of the analogous Roman god in place of the Carthaginian deity, Baal.

116(4) quae: connective relatives are often translated by ″and″ + the demonstrative, e.g., ″and this…″. Here, with dum, ″and while this.…″

117vellemne: = vellem‒ne, subjunctive in an indirect question introduced by quaesīvit ā mē.

118in castra: metonymic for ″on campaign″.

119id: i.e., the question that Hamilcar had asked (vellemne sēcum in castra proficiscī). accēpissem: as with English ″accept″, accipiō can denote the acceptance of a condition. ab eō: ″from him″ (Hamilcar), with petere.

120nē dubitāret: negative substantive purpose clause dependent on petere (AG §563, sometimes called a jussive noun clause; 7.2, 8.1); dubitō + infinitive (dūcere; 11.3) often has the sense of ″hesitate″ (AG §558a n. 2), ″that he would not hesitate″.

121dūcere [mē]: Remember that Hannibal is telling this anecdote.

122eam: the altar (aram); object of tenentem. It was customary to touch an altar when swearing an oath.

123cēterīs remōtīs: ablative absolute; i.e., Hamilcar and Hannibal are alone.

124numquam mē in amīcitiā cum Rōmānīs fore: an indirect statement indicating what Hannibal swore (iūrāre). numquam: placed first and separated from the verb fore for added emphasis.

in amīcitiā: amīcitia in this context referred to a person or state that has placed itself in a subordinate but still independent relationship with Rome. Nepos′ account of this episode is similar to that offered by Polybius (″never have good will towards the Romans″, 3.11.7). Livy says that Hannibal instead swore ″to be an enemy of the Roman people as soon as he was able″ (21.1).
fore: = futūrum esse.

125(5) id ego: Latin authors like to juxtapose personal pronouns, even if doing so interrupts another phrase or clause (id… iūs iūrandum).

126iūs iūrandum: a formal oath to complete a civil, military, or political obligation, sworn in the presence of a higher power — usually Jupiter or all the gods — but here to Hamilcar (patrī datum). Hannibal′s odium is thus characterized not as a personal grudge but as a sacred (and public) obligation.

127ūsque ad hanc aetātem: compare ūsque ā rubrō marī in 2.1.

128ita cōnservāvī: ita signals the result clause, ut… dēbeat.

129nēminī: dative of reference, ″in the opinion of no one″.

130quīn… sim futūrus: ″that I will be…″; quīn often introduces subjunctive clauses after negated expressions of hindering, resisting, and doubting (nēminī dubium esse, AG §558).

131reliquō tempore: ablative of time, ″for the rest (of my life)″.

132eādem mente: ablative of quality (AG §415), ″of the same mind″.

133(6) Hannibal′s speech concludes with a carefully structured sentence in which Hannibal warns Antiochus that the nature of their relationship rests on whether Antiochus intends to make peace with the Romans (sī quid amīcē dē Rōmānīs cōgitābis) or to wage war against them (cum quidem bellum parābis). To avoid confusion from the accumulation of conditionals, each half of the sentence is comprised of three parallel elements: 1) a general parameter (peace vs. war); 2) the result of Antiochus′ action (act wisely vs. act foolishly); and 3) Antiochus′ action (keep Hannibal in ignorance vs. not make him general).

134sī quid: = sī (ali) quid: remember that after sī, nisi, num, and every ali‒falls away.

135amīcē: adverbial; i.e., if Antiochus entertains an alliance with Rome.

136fēceris: future perfect tense, giving added emphasis to the future more vivid conditional, as do cēlāris and posueris (AG §516c).

137nōn imprūdenter: ″not unwisely″. An example of litotes, in which an understatement or double negative implies the opposite → ″very wisely″.

138mē cēlā(ve)ris: syncopated future perfect with an ablative of separation, ″hide [it] from me″.

139quidem: introduces a clause that qualifies or opposes the preceding thought, ″yet″, ″on the other hand″.

140in eō: ″in this matter″, referring to the action of the clause, cum quidem bellum parābis.

141prīncipem: in apposition with, ″me as leader″.

Chapter 3

142After his father′s death Hannibal gains control of the army and campaigns in Spain (1‒2). He crosses the Alps in November 218 BC and invades Italy (3‒4).

143(1) quā dīximus: ″of which I spoke [above]″ in 2.3. quā: the case of the relative pronoun is attracted to the case of its antecedent, hāc... aetāte (AG §306a); quam dīximus would be the more regular construction.

dīximus: ancient authors often referred to themselves using plural forms, especially in prose. Although the precise connotation of this common usage is debatable, it does not convey haughtiness or pretension, as the use of English ″we″ might in a similar circumstance (11.5).

144cuius: i.e., Hamilcar; connective relative (AG §308f; see note on 2.4). Hamilcar was killed in 229 BC, either in battle by a flaming cart, or when he was ambushed while crossing a river.

145Hasdrubale imperātōre suffectō: ablative absolute, ″when Hasdrubal had been appointed replacement commander″; suffectō > sufficiō, the usual word for a person who substituted for a deceased or deposed magistrate, in this case referring to Hasdrubal ″the Fair″, brother‒in‒law of Hannibal and son‒in‒law of Hamilcar (not to be confused with Hasdrubal Barca, Hannibal′s brother, who was defeated at the Battle of Metaurus in 207 BC).

146praefuit: > praesum + dative, equitātuī omnī. Hannibal was 18 when he became leader of the Carthaginian calvary.

147hōc quoque interfectō: ablative absolute. hōc: i.e., Hasdrubal the Fair. Hasdrubal was assassinated in 221 BC by a slave in revenge for his former master, whom Hasdrubal had killed.

148exercitus: subject of dētulit.

149summam imperiī: summam is feminine singular because it modifies an understood rem, ″supreme command″ (8.3).

150ad eum: i.e., Hannibal.

151id Karthāginem dēlātum: Hannibal′s appointment to supreme command (id) was known by word of mouth (dēlātum) before it was confirmed officially.

Karthāginem: the accusative of ″place towards which″ does not require a preposition (AG §427.2).
dēlātum: ″made known″ (informally), in contrast to relātum, which would be used for official communications.

152pūblicē: not ″publicly″ as opposed to ″privately″, but ″officially″ by the government in Carthage.

153(2) minor quīnque et vīgintī annīs nātus: ″born less than twenty‒five years″, i.e., ″less than twenty‒five years of age″. Hannibal was actually 26 at the time. The use of minor + ablative with nātus to express age is atypical.

154proximō trienniō: ablative of time within which, ″in the course of the next three years″. Although Nepos exaggerates the scope of Hannibal′s exploits, he did conquer several independent tribes in the region.

155bellō: ablative of means.

156Saguntum, foederātam cīvitātem: located 90 miles south of the Iber River (modern Ebro), Saguntum was well within the sphere of Carthaginian influence according to the terms of the treaty that Hasdrubal signed with Rome in 226 BC. But since Saguntum had allied itself (foederātam) with Rome before Hasdrubal′s treaty, Rome believed it remained her ally. Hannibal sacked Saguntum in 218 BC after an eight‒month siege.

157(3) ex hīs: i.e., trēs exercitūs maximōs in 3.2.

158ūnum [exercitum] in Āfricam mīsit: this army was comprised of 13,850 infantry, 870 slingers, and 1,200 cavalry. Polybius claims to have seen a plaque erected by Hannibal that recorded the precise sizes of the three armies. Even so, ancient troop figures must be viewed with caution.

159alterum cum Hasdrubale frātre in Hispāniā relīquit: this army of 12,600 infantry, 2,550 cavalry, and 21 elephants was to maintain Carthaginian control over its recent conquests in Hispania and resist the inevitable Roman counterattack.

160tertium in Italiam sēcum dūxit: this army departed Carthago Nova in the late spring of 218 BC with as many as 90,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry. It is doubtful that Hannibal planned to take such a large force into Italy. As many as 20,000 of the less experienced troops deserted or were released by Hannibal before the army arrived at the Rhône River. Hannibal stationed additional troops in garrisons to protect his lines of communication to Hispania. He arrived at the Alps with 38,000 infantry troops, 8,000 cavalrymen, and 37 war elephants.

161saltum Pӯrēnaeum: in the singular, saltum refers to a mountain pass (compare the plural in 3.4 below).

162quācumque: adverb, ″in whichever way, wherever″.

163iter fēcit: slightly idiomatic, ″he directed his course″; literally, ″he made a journey″. In Latin one may ′pave′ (sternit), ′build′ (mūniit, 3.4), or ′open′ (patefēcit, 3.4) a road, but one may never ′make′ (facit) one.

164(4) Ad Alpēs posteāquam vēnit: temporal clause expanded by several subordinate clauses. The main clause begins with Alpicōs cōnantēs.

165quae... sēiungunt, quās... trānsierat: two relative clauses whose antecedent is Alpēs.

166ante eum: i.e., Hannibal. Nepos somewhat exaggerates Hannibal′s accomplishment: the Gauls had migrated en masse into Italy over the Alpine frontier long before Hannibal. We might credit Hannibal as the first general to lead a ″modern″ army over the mountains against fierce local resistance. But Nepos is not splitting such hairs. Well before Nepos′ time, the uniqueness of Hannibal′s feat became an entrenched part of his legend. Nepos is simply following this tradition.

167quō factō: ablative of cause, ″in consequence of which″.

168saltus Grāius appellātur: Nepos relates the theory that this section of the Alps was called the saltus Grāius (″Greek pass″) because the Greek Hercules (Herculem Grāium) had crossed though this area. During his Tenth Labor, Hercules drove the Cattle of Geryon (not an army as Nepos seems to imply) from the western island of Erytheia to King Eurystheus in Greece. Along the way, he supposedly fathered Galates, the ancestor of the Gauls. In fact, the name is almost certainly of native Celtic origin, meaning ″precipitous″ or ″craggy″. Such aetiologies, or stories of origins, were an important feature of the intellectual tradition in which Nepos wrote. It is not surprising that Nepos, who grew up in the shadow of the Alps, would include more detail about Hannibal′s crossing. Local interest might motivate the added detail, but even here Nepos is distilling earlier accounts so as to focus on Hannibal′s boldness and his leadership. Polybius boasts of having retraced the route himself (3.48.12) — as do many modern historians, if only by car.

169trānsitū: ablative of separation with prohibēre (AG §401). We can either understand transitū with prohibēre (″to prevent the crossing″) or with an implicit object, [Hannibalem] prohibēre transitū, ″to prevent Hannibal from crossing″.

170concīdit: context requires that the verb be concīdō, concīdere, concīdī, concisus (″cut down, ruin, kill, destroy″) rather than concidō, concidere, concidī (″fall down, die, perish″). Nepos is silent on the terrible losses inflicted on Hannibal′s army by the mountain tribesmen and the frigid weather.

171loca patefēcit, itinera mūniit, effēcit… rēpere: Note how Nepos has omitted conjunctions between these three coordinate clauses, a rhetorical device known as asyndeton (Greek for ″unconnected″). Latin authors were especially fond of constructions in groups of three, also known as the tricolon. Compare the most famous asyndetic tricolon, Caesar′s description of his victory at the Battle of Zela: vēnī, vīdī, vīcī.

itinera mūniit: a technical phrase for the construction of roads. There were already routes through the Alps, although Hannibal did have to rebuild a section that had been destroyed by a landslide.
effēcit, ut... posset: result clause.
eā [viā]: serves as the antecedent for quā.
elephantus ōrnātus: Hannibal′s elephantī were ornātī in the sense that they were heavily‒loaded with supplies, in contrast with the homo inermis who previously could not even crawl over the same ground.
rēpere: ″to crawl″, contrasted with īre.

172hāc: adverbial, ″in this way″.

173Italiamque pervēnit: The raids by mountain tribes and the cold weather took a severe toll on Hannibal′s army. The 900‒mile march from Carthago Nova to Italy had taken 5 months. Crossing the Alps took 15 miserable days. Of the 38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants that entered the Alps, no more than 20,000 infantry (12,000 Africans and 8,000 Spaniards), 6,000 cavalry, and only a few elephants reached Italy. The toll was horrific, but Hannibal′s invasion of Italy thoroughly disrupted Rome′s warplans. Rome would not regain the initiative until after seven savage years of fighting up and down the Italian peninsula. The planned invasion of Africa would be postponed by fourteen years. That is the measure of the strategic advantage that Hannibal had achieved by his unexpected invasion of Italy.

Chapter 4

174Hannibal′s stunning victories in Italy. He defeats the Romans at the Battle of Trebia in late December 218 BC (1‒2). Disease costs him the use of his right eye, but he still manages to direct the ambush at Lake Trasimene in late June 217 BC (3). Hannibal annihilates two consular armies at the Battle of Cannae on 2 August 216 BC (4).

175(1) cōnflīxerat and pepulerat: pluperfects expressing action completed before the crossing of the Alps in 3.4. Having told the story of Hannibal′s march from Hispania to Italy in Chapter 3, this chapter will focus on his battles in Italy.

176apud Rhodanum: ″near the Rhône″, a major river in southwest Gaul that flows into the Mediterranean near Marseilles. Not to be confused with the Island of Rhodes, Rhodus‒ī f. Nepos exaggerates the scope of this battle, the first clash of the war between Roman and Carthaginian forces. It was, at most, a confused skirmish between small detachments of cavalry fought soon after Hannibal′s forces crossed the Rhône, and before the arrival of Scipio′s main force. After the skirmish, the bulk of Scipio′s force continued towards Hispania; Hannibal moved north towards the Alps.

apud: with a place name, apud always means ″near″; it never means ″in″ (AG §428d).

177cum P. Cornēliō Scīpiōne cõnsule: Publius Cornelius Scipio Asina was consul in 218 BC. He would die in Hispania in 211 BC while fighting Hannibal′s brother, Hasdrubal. His son, Scipio Africanus, would defeat Hannibal at the decisive Battle of Zama in 202 BC.

178hōc eōdem: i.e., Publius Cornelius Scipio Asina.

179Clastidī: locative. Clastidium was a fortified town in Gallia Cispadana near the Po River (apud Padum). Captured from the Gauls in 222 BC, the town served as an important supply base for the Romans.

180dēcernit: generally ″to decide″; when applied to military affairs, decernō means ″to decide by combat″ and so, ″to fight″.

181sauciumque inde ac fugātum: adjective and participle agreeing with implied Scipionem.

182inde ac: ″and then, and thereafter″; Nepos is careful to clarify that Scipio was wounded first and then retreated. Nepos′ description is more appropriate for the Battle of Ticinus, a cavalry skirmish in late November or early December.

183(2) tertiō: ″for the third time″; Nepos refers to the Battle of Trebia, a small river that flows into the Po River near Genoa.

184īdem Scīpiō: i.e., Publius Cornelius Scipio Asina; remember that Scīpiō is a third declension noun.

185cum collēgā Tiberiō Longō: after Scipio was wounded at Ticinus, his co‒consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus was recalled to confront Hannibal. He had recently taken Malta from the Carthaginians in preparation for the planned invasion of Africa.

186adversus eum: preposition (″against″) + accusative.

187manum cōnseruit: a common idiom, ″to join hand [s]″ → ″to join hand to hand (in battle)″ → ″to fight, join battle with″, often with cum + ablative, hīs (i.e., Scipio and Longus).

188per Ligurēs: the Ligurians lived in Gallia Cisalpina, near modern day Genoa. Roman authors often refer to a place by reference to its inhabitants.

189Appennīnum: the Apennines are a major mountain range extending the length of peninsular Italy.

190Etrūriam: Etruria is a region in north central Italy.

191(3) hōc itinere: i.e., the march to Etruria (see 3.3).

192adeō: signals the upcoming result clause, ut… ūsus sit.

193gravī morbō: ablative of means. During his illness, Hannibal was carried on his one surviving elephant, a massive Indian elephant nicknamed Syrus or ″The Syrian″, which had a prosthetic metal tusk.

194adficitur: historical present referring to a past action as though it is happening now. It was felt that this added vividness and excitement to the description (AG §469); Hannibal is the subject.

195dextrō: ablative with the deponent verb, ūsus sit (AG §410).

196quā valētūdine: ″by this affliction″; valetūdō can refer to good or bad health. quā: connective relative (AG §308f; see above 2.4).

197cum etiam tum premerētur lectīcāque ferrētur: concessive cum clause (AG §549), ″although at the time...″.

198C. Flāminium... circumventum occīdit, neque multō post C. Centēnium... occupantem: Nepos deploys two parallel participial phrases to describe two Roman defeats. Each phrase is introduced by the name of a defeated Roman leader and concludes with a participle that agrees with the leader; other information about the battle is enclosed within the participle phrase.

C. Flāminium cōnsulem: after he was re‒elected consul, Gaius Flaminius Nepos raised four new legions and marched north to meet Hannibal. As censor in 221/220 BC Flaminius oversaw the construction of the Circus Flaminius in Rome and the Via Flaminia, which connected Rome with Ariminum on the Adriatic coast.
Trasumēnum: Lake Trasimene, a large, picturesque lake in Umbria, about 85 miles north of Rome; according to Livy, it was ″a place born for an ambush″ (22.4.2).
circumventum: participle agreeing with Flāminium, not Trasumēnum. neque multō post: adverbial, ″not much after″; multō: ablative of degree of difference.
C. Centēnium: A few days after the Battle of Trasimene, Hannibal intercepted and annihilated a force of 4,000 elite cavalrymen (cum dēlectā manū) led by the propraetor Gaius Centennius.
saltūs: accusative plural object of occupantem; although in the singular, saltus refers to a narrow passage, in the plural it can refer to woods that contain clearings (compare 3.3).

199(4) obviam: ″towards, against, to meet″ + dative,, with verbs of motion, venērunt.

200duo cōnsulēs: Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paulus, allies of the Scipios, had campaigned for the consulship as staunch critics of Fabius Maximus′ strategy of avoiding direct action against Hannibal (see 5.1). Despite his role in the defeat at Cannae, Varro continued to hold important military positions. Lucius Aemilius Paulus was killed at Cannae; his daughter, Aemilia Tertia, married Scipio Africanus.

201utrīusque exercitūs: exercitūs is accusative plural, the object of fugāvit, ″he routed″, whose subject is Hannibal.

202Cn. Servīlium Geminum: consul of 217 BC; after the disaster at Trasimene, Gnaeus Servilius Germinus led the fleet tasked with coastal defense of Italy and harassing raids against Carthaginian territory in north Africa.

203superiōre annō: ″in the previous year″. The other consul from the previous year also fell in the battle. Again we find Nepos consciously avoiding a detailed account of military events. Even so, this is a surprisingly brief statement about the Battle of Cannae, the worst defeat suffered by Rome during the Second Punic War — and Hannibal′s greatest triumph.

Essay on The Battle of Cannae & Its Legacy

There was no longer any Roman camp, any general, any single soldier in existence.
– Livy, Ab urbe condita 22.54

204On August 2, 216 BC Rome suffered one of the most catastrophic defeats in military history. The town of Cannae, located about 300 miles south of Rome in Apulia, controlled the approaches to southern Italy and operated a granary important for supplying food to the city of Rome. There, on a flat, featureless plain, Hannibal accomplished a feat that was thought to be impossible: with his small army he enveloped a much larger Roman force. Surrounded and unable to maneuver, the Roman army disintegrated as a coherent fighting force.

205According to Livy, 48,200 Romans were killed and another 20,000 captured before nightfall put a stop to the slaughter. Polybius puts the number of dead at 70,000. The victory had been costly for Hannibal as well. Nearly 6,000 of his troops fell in the battle. Modern historians tend to be more conservative about the size of the Roman army, but even so they put the number of Roman dead at around 30,000. Regardless of the exact toll, the greatest army that Rome had fielded to that point — a grand army assembled with the sole purpose of driving Hannibal out of Italy — had been annihilated. The consul Aemilius Paullus lay among the dead, as did both consular quaestors, 29 military tribunes, and another 80 men of senatorial rank. According to Livy, the surviving consul, Terentius Varro, escaped from Cannae with a mere fifty soldiers. The Roman defeat was total.

206The scale of the slaughter at Cannae is difficult to comprehend. If the ancient estimates of casualties are accurate, Cannae saw the second deadliest single day of combat ever visited on a western army, and it is estimated that over one hundred Romans died every minute during the height of the battle. Regardless of the exact number of dead, there is no disputing the magnitude of the disaster that Hannibal had inflicted upon Rome, or the daring and brilliance he and his troops displayed on that day.

  • 2 Eisenhower, D. 1948. Crusade in Europe, 325

207Hannibal′s tactics at Cannae are often regarded as the most effective large‒scale battle maneuvers in history, setting the standard by which military commanders continue to measure their success. Count Alfred von Schlieffen, the architect of Germany′s strategy in World War I, believed that victory was possible for Germany provided that they followed Hannibal′s example. As Dwight D. Eisenhower observed, ″every ground commander seeks the battle of annihilation; so far as conditions permit, he tries to duplicate in modern war the classic example of Cannae″.2

208In the successive battles of Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae, Hannibal had destroyed the equivalent of eight consular armies. In only 20 months he had killed as many as 150,000 men, or, by some estimates, one‒fifth of all adult men in Rome and its allied cities. By way of comparison, that is three times the number of dead the (much more populous) United States lost in Vietnam, and thirty times the number lost in battle during the decade after 9/11. Even as Rome attempted to cope with these disasters, another befell them when the Gauls destroyed an army of 25,000 Romans near Litana in northern Italy.

209In response to this unprecedented carnage, Rome′s empire began to fracture. Capua, the second largest city in Italy, defected to Hannibal, as did several important cities in Apulia, Lucania, and Bruttium. Most troubling for the Romans, the 12 Latin cities, Rome′s oldest and closest allies, declined to supply troops for the new army. Their mood was not placated when a proposal to enroll two senators from each Latin city into the depleted Senate was vehemently rejected (one senator even threatened to kill on sight any Latin who dared appear in the Senate). With Rome′s alliances unraveling, Hannibal seemed poised for victory. At home, the treasury was bare and Rome resorted to loans to pay its troops. International opinion began to flow towards Hannibal and in 215 he signed an alliance with Philip V of Macedon. In Sicily, Hiero of Syracuse, a stalwart ally of Rome (and source of troops, money, and grain) died and his grandson, Hieronymous, quickly shifted his support to Carthage.

210Yet Rome still refused to surrender. The Romans appointed another dictator, Marcus Junius Pera, to organize the defense of Rome and begin levying new troops. Within a month of the disaster at Cannae, Rome could field four legions, even if these were composed of freed slaves and convicts. To divine the cause of the gods′ displeasure they dispatched an envoy to consult the oracle at Delphi and to placate the gods they ordered the sacrifice of two Gauls and two Greeks. Hannibal, unable to besiege Rome because of his limited manpower and his need to provision his troops, bypassed the city and marched towards his new allies in Campania.

211Hannibal′s decision to bypass Rome after his victory at Cannae fostered one of the great military debates in antiquity. According to legend, after the battle the commander of Hannibal′s cavalry suggested that Hannibal would be dining in victory on the Capitoline Hill within five days if he only had the courage to strike at the city. Centuries later, young Roman students were still assigned to debate his decision, as the Roman satirist Juvenal (ca. late first century AD) recalls:

Every fifth day the teacher poisons me with his ′dreadful Hannibal′.
The topic makes no difference: whether to attack Rome
After Cannae, or after the downpour and lightening
to lead away his troops, soaked by the storm.
– Juvenal 7.160‒164

Chapter 5

212Hannibal outwits the dictator Fabius Maximus and escapes a blockade. These events happened before the Battle of Cannae (1). Hannibal′s stratagem to break out of the blockade set by Fabius (2‒4).

213(1) hāc pugnā pugnātā: ablative absolute, as is nullō resistente. Intransitive verbs like pugnō can take a direct object when that object is a cognate noun, or a noun derived from the same linguistic root: e.g., pugnāre pugnam or ludere ludum.

214Rōmam: accusative of motion towards, as is Capuam in the next sentence. Note that profectus [est] > proficīscor is an intransitive verb and so cannot take Rōmam as its object. In fact, Hannibal did not march on Rome until 211 BC.

215in propinquīs urbī montibus: montibus is the object of the preposition, in; urbī is a dative with the adjective, propinquīs, ″near the city″.

216aliquot (ibi) diēs: accusative of duration of time, ″for some days (there)″.

217Q. Fabius Māximus: Quintus Fabius Maximus, who had twice been elected consul and had enjoyed a distinguished military career, was 58 years old when he was elected dictator in 217 BC.

218dictātor Rōmānus: a dictator was elected to a six‒month term to take decisive action during times of crisis. When the Senate determined that an imminent threat existed, a consul would announce during the dead of night that a dictator had been appointed (this had to take place in Rome). Although consuls and other magistrates remained in power during the dictator′s term, the dictator exercised superior power, which included greater independence from the Senate, extensive power to punish without appeal, and immunity from prosecution for any decisions he made while in office.

219in agrō Falernō: the Ager Falernus was a region north of Campania, best known for its outstanding ″Falernian″ wine.

220eī: i.e., Hannibālī.

221(2) hic: Nepos uses the demonstrative to indicate the change in subject back to Hannibal.

222clausus: participle agreeing with Hannibal, the implicit subject of the sentence.

223noctū: ″by night, at night″; an archaic ablative form of nox.

224exercitūs: genitive limiting ullō dētrīmentō.

225imperātōrī: clarifies the ambiguous case of Fabiō callidissimō. Nepos also praises Hannibal as callidus (9.2; De regibus 3).

226dedit verba: idiom, ″he deceived″. The implied contrast is with facta (″deeds″), an antithesis that is typical of Greek and especially Roman thought.

227Hannibal′s deception has nothing to do with verba or speech, showing how the idiom can be used in ways quite distinct from its literal meaning.

228namque: the conjunction indicates that this sentence will justify or explain the preceding statement, as in 2.1 and 7.5.

229obductā nocte: ablative of time when, ″at nightfall″; literally, ″with night having been drawn over (the sky)″. The metaphor is not as strongly felt in Latin as it would be in English.

230dēligāta: modifies sarmenta. Note how the participial phrase encloses in cornibus iuvencōrum, which explains where the sarmenta have been dēligāta.

231ēiusque generis [iuvencōrum]: genitive limiting multitudinem magnam dispālātam, referring to the iuvencī with burning bundles of sticks between their horns (as opposed to another genus iuvencōrum).

232dispālātam: > dispālor, ″to wander around, straggle″ (a very rare word). Hannibal had been victim of a similar strategy in 229 BC, when Iberian tribesman drove steer‒drawn carts filled with flammable materials against the Carthaginian lines. According to Appian it was in this battle that his father Hamilcar was killed by a flaming ox‒cart (others say he drowned).

233quō: connective relative agreeing with vīsū.

234repentīnō: adverb; repentē is the more common form, but repentīnō is not uncommon in Livy, Caesar, Cicero, and Apuleius.

235vīsū: noun in an ablative absolute with the participle obiectō. The participle helps distinguish the noun from the identical form of the supine (AG §508‒510; e.g., Aeneid 12.252: mīrābile vīsū, ″amazing to behold″). The supine is never modified by an adjective or participle.

236tantum terrōrem: tantum signals the result clause, ut… sit ausus.

237iniēcit: the subject is Hannibal.

238exercituī: dative with a compound verb, in‒iēcit (AG §370).

239(3) hanc post rem gestam: the demonstrative hanc refers back to Hannibal′s stratagem in the previous sentence. Nepos has placed hanc before its preposition to underscore the connective nature of the demonstrative.

240Authors also regularly place an element of a prepositional phrase (usually an adjective) before the preposition for balance, as in magnā cum laude.

241post… nōn ita multīs diēbus: ablative of time when, ″not so many days after″.

242M. Minucium Rūfum, magistrum equitum: the ″Master of the Cavalry″ served as the dictator′s deputy and was usually appointed by the dictator. But because the surviving consul could not reach Rome after Trasimene, Rufus was elected at the same time as Fabius Maximus.

equitum: genitive plural, ″of the horsemen″ → ″of the Cavalry″.

243parī ac dictātōrem imperiō: ″with an authority equal to that of the dictator″. The creation of, in effect, a co‒dictator was unprecedented and indicates the desparate circumstances in which the Romans found themselves.

dictātōrem: accusative under the influence of the accusative magistrum. Strictly speaking a dative, dictātōrī, might be expected with parī. But since the phrase parī ac dictātōrī imperiō would be confusing, Nepos places dictātōrem in the accusative, indicating that Rufus was Magister Equitum and, in essence, dictator with power equal to that held by Fabius.
parī imperiō: ablative of quality (AG §415). Imperium refers to the authority to command in military and judicial contexts (3.1, 7.3).

244prōductum: participle agreeing with Rufum, ″(having been) led into, lured″.

245Ti. Semprōnium Gracchum: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, consul in 216 BC, proconsul in 214, and reelected consul in 213 (iterum cōnsulem); great‒uncle of the famous reformers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus.

246Gracchum, iterum cōnsulem... Marcellum, quīnquiēns cōnsulem: Nepos confuses who was in office in 212 BC. Gracchus was consul in 213 and died in 212, after his consulship. The correct usages would be bis consulem and quintum consulem. Confusion about the how to count consulships, however, was so common that Aulus Gellius catalogued notable mistakes in a short essay, which included some humorous advice by Cicero to Pompey. When Pompey was unsure whether he should inscribe tertium or tertio on the dedication of his theater in Rome, Cicero advised he should just avoid the question by using the abbreviation ″TERT″.

247in Lūcānīs: ″among the Lucanians″, a tribe who lived in southern Italy. This phrase continues the sequence of information about Gracchus: 1) iterum cōnsulem, 2) in Lūcānīs, and 3) in īnsidiās inductum.

248absēns: i.e., Hannibal, who was away from the army when the battle was fought.

249in īnsidiās inductum: Gracchus was said to have been ambushed and killed while bathing with a small group of men as his army marched to support the siege of Capua.

250M. Claudium Marcellum: Marcus Claudius Marcellus (ca. 268‒208 BC) was among the most illustrious Romans during this period. Marcellus was one of only three Roman generals to have won the spolia opima (″rich spoils″), when he killed the Gallic king Viridomarus in single combat at the First Battle of Clastidium in 222 BC. Winning the spolia opima, awarded to a Roman general who stripped the armor of an enemy leader after killing him in single combat, was the highest honor a Roman could achieve. Earlier in the Second Punic War, Marcellus had twice repulsed Hannibal from the strategic city of Nola. He had captured the major Sicilian city of Syracuse after a protracted siege, during which the scholar and inventor Archimedes was killed. For the losses he inflicted on the enemies of Rome, Marcellus earned the nickname, ″the Sword″ — recall that Fabius Maximus was called ″the Shield″.

251apud Venusiam: a town in Apulia near Mount Vultur. It is best known as the birthplace of the poet Horace (65‒8 BC).

252parī modō: i.e., in insidiās indictum. Marcellus was ambushed while on a reconnaissance mission with a small band of cavalry. The ambushes of Gracchus and Marcellus are typical of the indecisive victories won by Hannibal during the later stages of the war in Italy.

253(4) longum: neuter with infinitive, ēnumerāre; ″it would be (too) long″, in the sense of ″tedious″. English idiom requires the subjunctive (″would″); in Latin, the indicative is used.

254ex quō intellegī possit: relative clause of result (AG §537.2); the subject of possit is provided by the indirect question, quantus ille fuerit.

255quantus: interrogative adjective introducing an indirect question with the subjunctive, fuerit.

256eī: dative with the compound verb, re‒stitit.

257in aciē: ″in battle″ (see also 6.4, 11.1).

258adversus eum: the first of three consecutive prepositional phrases (post Cannēnsem pugnam; in campō). Latin authors usually avoided stringing together prepositional phrases in this way.

259Cannēnsem: adjective modifying pugnam.

260in campō: ″in the open field, on open ground″. This is an exaggeration, but one made by many historians, even to this day. In fact Roman and Carthaginian forces were constantly skirmishing and they engaged in over a dozen significant battles in Italy after Cannae (see the ″Chronology of Hannibal′s Life″). After Cannae, however, no Roman army in Italy dared challenge Hannibal on level ground, where Hannibal′s cavalry could provide a decisive advantage.

The End of Hannibal′s Campaign in Italy (218‒203 BC)

261After Hannibal′s wild success in the first years of the war, the Romans avoided set battles on terrain where Hannibal′s superior cavalry could produce the kind of devastating losses that were seen at Trebia and Cannae. Fabius′ strategy of harassment and delay would prove sound. By avoiding a disastrous defeat that would provoke further defections to Hannibal, Rome gained the time to wear down Hannibal′s army and retake rebel cities throughout Samnium and Liguria.

262By 211 BC, Rome was able to field 25 legions while its fleet raided Africa. In the same year Rome recaptured Syracuse and Capua, depriving Hannibal of vital bases of operations and destroying his credibility as a reliable ally against Roman aggression. Rome executed the leaders of Capua and sold many Capuan men, women, and children into slavery; those who survived were stripped of their citizenship and sent into exile. The example had been made: no further cities defected to Hannibal′s side.

263Hannibal and his lieutenants were still capable of overpowering small forces of Romans, ravishing the Italian countryside, capturing the occasional city, and inflicting the rare larger defeat, as when Roman armies were destroyed at Herdonea in 212 BC and again in 210. For the most part, however, the Romans did avoid set battles and Hannibal was thus denied a decisive victory that would compel the Romans to sue for peace. Hannibal′s strategic situation continued to darken during the next few years: Fabius retook the vital port of Tarentum in 209 BC; Sicily was pacified; and any hope of reinforcement from Philip in Greece was lost. Hannibal was increasing penned in the south of Italy.

264In 207 BC, Hannibal attempted to regain the initiative. He summoned his brother Hasdrubal from Spain with a large army. Rome was forced to react to prevent the nightmare of a massive combined army in Italy under the command of the sons of Hamilcar. In a reverse of Hannibal′s successes early in the war, the consular armies of Marcus Livius and Gaius Claudius Nero (ancestor of the famous emperor) outmaneuvered and annihilated Hasdrubal′s exhausted army at the Metaurus River. Hannibal only learned of the disaster when the severed head of his brother was tossed into his camp.

265Unable to sustain offensive operations in central Italy, Hannibal retreated to the region of Bruttium, in the toe of Italy′s boot. Although Hannibal and his lieutenants continued to raid throughout Italy, the tide had turned. Scipio′s victory at Ilipa the following year (206 BC) removed any chance of reinforcement from Spain. Hannibal would remain isolated in southern Italy for two more years as the Romans debated their next move. When Scipio at last invaded Africa in 204 BC, Hannibal was forced in the autumn of 203 BC to return and defend a homeland that he had left 35 years before. His great gamble had failed. The war would be settled not on the fields of Italy but outside the walls of Carthage.

Chapter 6

266Hannibal, although still unbeaten in Italy, is recalled to Africa (1‒2). He is defeated by Scipio at the Battle of Zama, October 202 BC (3). He avoids a Numidian ambush and raises a new army in Hadrumetum (4).

267(1) hinc: ″next″ (as in 4.3).

268dēfēnsum: supine, used to express purpose after a verb of motion, revocātus (AG §509). As a verbal noun the supine can take a direct object, patriam.

269P. Scīpiōnem, fīlium ēius: Publius Cornelius Scipio (236‒183 BC), son of Publius Cornelius Scipio Asina (4.1‒2). Scipio ranks as one of Rome′s greatest generals. After he completed the Roman conquest of Hispania (210‒206 BC) he was elected consul at the age of only 31, with the assumption that he would lead the invasion of Africa. But Fabius Maximus and other conservative leaders in the Roman Senate feared the continued presence of Hannibal in southern Italy and the audacity of the young Scipio. Assigned to Sicily without an army, he raised a volunteer force of cavalry and eventually won permission to invade Africa. In 203 BC he destroyed an army of Carthaginian and Numidian forces near Utica by burning down their camp. Scipio′s defeat of Hannibal at Zama in the following year would earn him the agnomen, ″Africanus″.

270prīmō apud Rhodanum, iterum apud Padum, tertiō apud Trebiam: Hannibal′s series of victories over Scipio Asina (4.1).

271fugā(ve)rat: syncopated perfect (AG §181), ″he had put to flight″. Note the difference between transitive verb, fugō, fugāre (″to put to flight″), and the intransitive verb, fugiō, fugere (″to flee″).

272(2) cum hōc: i.e., Publius Scipio (the future Africanus). Observe how Nepos′ desire to open the sentence with a connective demonstrative (hōc) results in the positioning of the prepositional phrase before the ablative absolute.

273exhaustīs iam patriae facultātibus: ablative absolute, with causal sense.

274iam: emphasizes a moment in time that contributes to the state of affairs that is being described, ″at this point″ rather than ″now″ or ″then″.

275inpraesentiārum: adverb, ″at present, under the present circumstances″; a colloquial contraction of the phrase, in praesentiā rērum.

276bellum compōnere: an idiom, ″to make a temporary truce″; compare foedus, a permanent treaty (foederātam cīvitātem, 3.2; ex foedere, 7.5). The intense alliteration (compōnere... congrederētur. In colloquium convēnit; condiciōnēs nōn convēnērunt) has the effect of rendering the meeting between Scipio and Hannibal as the climax of the war, after which Hannibal′s shocking defeat is an anticlimax.

277quō: introduces a relative clause of purpose with the subjunctive, congrederētur, expressing why Hannibal desired to bellum compōnere (AG §531).

278condiciōnēs nōn convēnērunt: condiciōnēs must be the subject of the intransitive convēnērunt, ″terms (of peace) were not agreed upon″.

279(3) paucīs diēbus: ″within a few days″ (6.4, 10.4). The battle actually took place the day after the conference.

280apud Zamam: The exact site of the battle is unknown, but it likely took place between Sicca Veneria and Zama Regia, approximately 75 miles southwest of the city of Carthage. At Zama Hannibal was at last able to deploy war elephants against the Romans, but to little effect, since Scipio had developed tactics to minimize their effectiveness and Hannibal was forced to use young, untrained elephants that took fright and trampled the Carthaginian lines. Scipio triumphed when his superior Numidian cavalry routed its Carthaginian counterpart and attacked the Carthaginian rear lines. While Roman losses in the battle numbered under 2,000, nearly ten times as many Carthaginians died.

281cum eōdem: i.e., Publius Scipio.

282incrēdibile dictū: the ablative supine, dictū, is used to indicate an action in reference to an adjective, incrēdibile: ″unbelievable to say″. Nepos expresses his amazement because this is the first time that Hannibal is defeated in battle (5.4) and because he was able to march a defeated army a great distance across difficult ground in only two days.

283bīduō et duābus noctibus: ablative of time when. The march was uninterrupted, continuing day and night.

284Hadrūmētum: accusative of place towards which, with pervēnit.

285mīlia passuum trecenta: genitive of the whole (AG §346), ″300,000 paces″ or 300 Roman miles. The actual distance from Zama to Hadrumetum is closer to 100 Roman miles. Nepos may exaggerate the distance to render Hannibal′s achievement that much more impressive, or he may be following a mistaken source.

286(4) Numidae: the Numidians lived in the Carthaginian hinterlands and were known for their expert cavalry. The defection of the Numidians to Scipio was a significant blow to Carthaginian military power.

287eī: dative with insidiātī sunt.

288nōn sōlum… sed etiam: a common parallel construction, ″not only… but also…″ (7.5).

289reliquōs ē fugā: i.e., the troops who survived the rapid retreat from Zama.

290Hadrūmētī: locative.

291novīs dīlēctibus: ″by new levies″. Note that even as Carthage sues for peace, Hannibal prepares to fight on; compare how Nepos framed the war as a contest between Hannibal and the Roman people rather than between Carthage and Rome (1.1‒1.2).

Chapter 7

292Peace between Rome and Carthage. For a time Hannibal continues to fight, but then is elected to political office (1‒4). Carthage begins a rapid recovery after Hannibal institutes a series of political and economic reforms (5). Hannibal is forced into exile (6). Carthage fails to arrest Hannibal. He is declared an outlaw (7).

293(1) in apparandō [bellum]: gerund (AG §502), ″in preparing [war]″.

294ācerrimē occupātus: ″most actively engaged″. Note how Nepos maintains the distinction between Hannibal and the Carthaginians.

295bellum… composuērunt: an idiom, ″to make a temporary truce″ (see 6.4). The terms of the peace treaty were harsh. Carthage agreed to abandon all claims to territory outside of Africa, to pay a yearly indemnity of 200 talents for 50 years (a total of almost 260 tons of silver), to reduce its navy to ten warships (Scipio burned over 500 ships outside of Carthage′s harbor in a spectacular demonstration of Rome′s victory), and never to make war without Rome′s permission. It was the violation of this last term, under duress, that precipitated the Third Punic War (149‒146 BC) and the destruction of Carthage.

296Ille: i.e., Hannibal, subject of praefuit and gessit.

297sētius: comparative of secus, ″otherwise, differently″; usually with a negative (nihilō): ″not at all differently″ → ″as if nothing happened″. Hannibal retained command of the Carthaginian army, which continued to support him. Perhaps Carthage feared a reprise of the devastating ″Mercenary War″ if they moved against Hannibal.

298nihilō: ablative of degree of difference.

299praefuit: > praesum + dative, exercituī.

300rēsque in Āfricā gessit: i.e., in Āfricā pugnāvit (8.4).

301ūsque ad P. Sulpicium C. Aurēlium cōnsulēs: ″even until the consulship of…″; i.e., in 200 BC. Rome subsequently demanded that Carthage recall all military commanders from Italy and adhere to the terms of the peace treaty. Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus was consul in 211 BC, when he defended Rome from a surprise attack by Hannibal. He led the first Roman fleet into the Aegean and captured Aegina in 210 BC. Dictator in 203, he was the last Roman to hold this position until Sulla in 82/81 BC. In 200, he commanded Roman forces in the Second Macedonian War. Gaius Aurelius Cotta was sent to reinforce the garrison at Ariminium after several Gallic tribes allied with Carthage sacked the town of Placentia in northern Italy and threatened Cremona.

302(2) This complex sentence is manageable if read in sequence with careful attention to the parallel sequence of its clauses. Nepos begins with an ablative absolute that conveys the context (a) in which the main action occurs (b). He then explains why the Carthaginians undertook that action (c‒h).

(a) hīs enim magistrātibus,

ablative absolute

(b) lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs Rōmam vēnērunt

main clause

(c) quī senātuī populōque Rōmānō grātiās agerent,

relative clause of purpose #1

(d) quod cum iīs pācem fēcissent,

causal clause

(e) ob eamque rem corōnā aureā eōs dōnārent,

relative clause of purpose #2

(f) simulque peterent

relative clause of purpose #3

(g) ut obsidēs eōrum Fregelliīs essent

substantive purpose clause #1

(h) captīvīque redderentur.

substantive purpose clause #2

303Nepos, as he did in the long sentence in 2.2, uses the enclitic ‒que to signal the connections between parallel elements: ‒que in (e) and (f) link those clauses to the series of relative clauses of purpose that begins in (c); the ‒que in (h) links the two substantive purpose clauses in (g) and (h) that are introduced by peterent in (f).

304(a) hīs enim magistrātibus: ablative absolute, referring to the consuls of 200 BC mentioned in 6.1. Since Latin lacks the present or perfect participle of esse, an ablative absolute can consist of a noun and adjective or two nouns in the ablative, as here (AG §419a; similar constructions can be found in 2.3, 9.3, and 12.2).

305(b) Rōmam: accusative of place towards which.

306(c) quī senātuī populōque Rōmānō grātiās agerent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, agerent, expressing the reason why the legātī Karthāginiēnsēs Rōmam vēnērunt (AG §531).

senātuī populōque Rōmānō: datives with the idiom, grātiās agerent, ″gave thanks″. Nepos′ use of senātus populusque Rōmānus is anachronistic, since the Romans only began to use the phrase to refer to their state in the early first century BC.

307(d) quod cum iīs pācem fēcissent: causal quod clause (AG §540). cum iīs: i.e., the Carthaginians.

fēcissent: pluperfect subjunctive after quod, because it is part of what the Carthaginian delegates said to the Romans (i.e., ″O Romans, we thank you for having made peace″).

308(e) ob eamque rem corōnā aureā eōs dōnārent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, dōnārent. Because ob eamque rem is equivalent to quam ob rem, the phrase can introduce a relative clause of purpose despite the absence of an explicit relative pronoun.

ob eamque rem: preposition + accusatives, referring to the making of peace in the preceding clause; ‒que links the entire clause to the relative clause of purpose (c).
eōs: i.e., the Romans.
dōnārent: governing the accusative, eōs, + ablative of item given, corōnā aureā.

309(f) simulque peterent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, introducing a clause that indicates what the lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs peterent.

310(g) ut obsidēs eōrum Fregellīs essent: substantive purpose clause (AG §563, sometimes called a jussive noun clause), dependent on peterent.

eōrum: i.e., the Carthaginians; the reflexive pronoun suī would be more regular. Those signing a treaty often sent or exchanged hostages, whose lives would be forfeit if the treaty were broken.
Fregellīs: locative; the town of Fregellae, about halfway between Rome and Capua on the Via Latina, remained loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War.

311(h) captīvīque redderentur: another substantive purpose clause, dependent on peterent. captīvī: Carthaginians captured during the Second Punic War.

312(3) hīs: i.e., lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs.

313respōnsum est: impersonal (note the neuter ending), ″this was the response″; it introduces three indirect statements:

  1. mūnus + acceptumque esse
  2. obsidēs + futūrōs [esse]
  3. captīvōs + remissūrōs [esse]

314quō locō rogārent and cuius operā susceptum bellum foret and quod Hannibalem… habērent: subjunctives because they appear in subordinate clauses in indirect discourse (AG §580); rogārent and haberent are imperfect, indicating action contemporary with the past tense main verb, respōnsum est (AG §483); susceptum foret (= susceptum esset) is pluperfect, indicating action prior to the main verb.

315quō locō: ablative of place.

316quod Hannibalem… habērent: explains why the Romans will not release their prisoners of war (captīvōs).

Hannibalem: object of habērent, whose plural subject must beKarthāginiēnsēs.
cuius operā: ″by whose efforts″; the Carthaginians had been attempting to disassociate themselves from Hannibal but the Romans remind them that they share responsibility for his actions.
inimīcissimum nōminī Rōmānō: inimīcus is used to describe someone with an active hatred of someone or something, ″full of hate, hateful, hostile, unfriendly″ (+ dative), rather than ″hated″; therefore inimīcissimum must modify Hannibalem, rather than bellum. nōminī Rōmānō: ″to whatever is called Roman″, i.e., Roman dominion, nation, power.

317itemque: ″likewise, further″; itemque introduces an additional point of information.

318(4) hōc respōnsō Karthāginiēnsēs cognitō: ablative absolute. Karthāginiēnsēs, the subject of revocārunt, is positioned within the ablative absolute to signal that it was the Carthaginians who understood the response of the Roman delegation.

319revocā(vē)runt: syncopated perfect (AG §181).

320domum: accusative of place to which, without a preposition (AG §427).

321ut rediit: ut + indicative is strictly temporal, ″when″.

322rēx: the Carthaginian title was suffes, or ″judge″. Two suffetes were elected annually to serve as the chief civilian officers of the Carthaginian government. They were akin to the Roman consuls, as Nepos explains in the next sentence. Hannibal was elected to this office in 196 BC.

323annō secundō et vīcēsimō: ablative of time when. Hannibal had been general for 22 years.

324ut enim Rōmae cōnsulēs, sīc Karthāgine: ut… sīc: correlatives, ″(just) as… so…″ (AG §323g). Rōmae and Karthāgine are locative.

325quotannīs: adverb, ″every year″.

326annuī: ″annual″, i.e., ″for the duration of one year″.

327bīnī rēgēs: ″two kings at a time, a pair of kings″.

328creābantur: creō, ‒āre is the technical term for electing public officials.

329(5) parī… ac: adjectives and adverbs of likeness (such as parī) are often followed by ac, ″as, just so″ (AG §384 n. 2).

330parī dīligentiā: ablative of quality (AG §415).

331namque: the conjunction indicates that this sentence will justify or explain the preceding statement.

332ex novīs vectīgālibus: ablative of source (AG §403). Nepos uses a common stylistic device of having the preposition (ex) repeat the prefix of the verb (ef‒fēcit > ec > ex). Hannibal in fact avoided the imposition of new taxes by reducing waste and embezzlement. Understand as ″by means of a reformed [system of] taxation″.

333nōn sōlum ut esset pecūnia… sed etiam superesset: correlatives, ″not only… but also…″ (6.4), establishing the parallel between the two result clauses with the subjunctive.

334quae Rōmānīs ex foedere penderētur: relative clause of purpose (AG §540c); its antecedent is pecūnia. ex foedere: ″in accordance with the treaty″.

335superesset: ″there would remain″ → ″there would be a surplus (of money)″; the subject is pecūnia.

336quae in aerāriō repōnerētur: relative clause of purpose (AG §540c).

337(6) M. Claudiō L. Fūriō cōnsulibus: i.e., in 196 BC.

338Rōmā: ablative of place from which (AG §427.1).

339Karthāginem: accusative of place towards which (3.1).

340hōs: i.e., legātōs Rōmānōs; note how the demonstrative appears first in the sentence, signaling how this sentence relates to the last.

341ratus: > reor; the perfect participles of many deponent verbs are equivalent to English present active participles: ″suspecting that…″.

342suī exposcendī grātiā: grātiā (″for the sake of″) with a preceding genitive, suī exposcendī (AG §504b); exposcendī is a gerundive agreeing with the reflexive personal pronoun suī. When the gerund appears in a construction in which it would take an accusative — e. g. sē exposcendī grātiā, ″for the sake of demanding him (Hannibal)″ — Roman authors preferred using a gerundive (AG §503). Hoping to engineer Hannibal′s ouster, Hannibal′s domestic enemies had appealed to Rome indicating that the general had forged a secret alliance with Antiochus III. In Rome, Scipio Africanus deemed it beneath the dignity of the Roman people to entertain the scurrilous attack. His advice was not heeded and Rome began to move against Hannibal.

343missōs [esse]: perfect passive participle agreeing with hōs in an indirect statement dependent on ratus.

344priusquam iīs senātus darētur: darētur is subjunctive because it contains a logical connection to the main action of the sentence, nāvem ascendit (11.1).

senātus darētur: senātus dare is an idiom, ″to give an audience to″ + dative (iīs); senātus: the Carthaginian council of 300 aristocrats; Nepos continues to use Roman terms to describe Carthaginian institutions.

345ad Antiochum: masculine, therefore King Antiochus III of the Seleucid Kingdom (see note on 2.1) not the city of Antioch, Antiochia, ‒ae f.

346(7) hāc rē palam factā: ablative absolute, ″when this (Hannibal′s flight) became known″. Hannibal first fled to his personal fortress to the south of Carthage. He then sailed to the nearby Cercina Islands. There, he narrowly evaded arrest by the sailors of a Carthaginian ship by claiming he was on a diplomatic mission to Tyre. Hannibal invited the sailors to a banquet, requesting that they bring their sails as awnings against the scorching sun. While the sailors slept, Hannibal stole their sails and weighed anchor, sailing to Tyre, and from there to the court of Antiochus.

347Poenī: i.e., Karthāginiēnsēs.

348quae eum comprehenderent: relative clause of purpose expressing why the Poenī nāvēs mīsērunt (AG §531).

349sī possent cōnsequī: Nepos wrote the subjunctive possent because its clause represents an action that is integral to the subjunctive clause on which it depends: the ships could not arrest Hannibal if they did not catch him first (AG §593).

350bona ēius pūblicā(vē)runt: syncopated perfect (AG §181), as is iūdicā()runt. bona: in the plural, bonus can refer to ″property″, as in the English ″goods″.

351domum ā fundāmentīs disiēcērunt: a common penalty inflicted on exiles, fallen tyrants, and other public enemies in antiquity. Clodius razed Cicero′s house when he was exiled in 58 BC.

Chapter 8

352Hannibal renews his attempts to rally Carthage against Rome (1). The Death of Mago (2). Nepos condemns Antiochus for ignoring Hannibal′s advice (3). The navy of Rhodes defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Eurymedon, 190 BC (4).

353(1) L. Cornēliō Q. Minuciō cōnsulibus: i.e., in 193 BC; Lucius Cornelius Merula and Quintus Minucius Thermus were fighting Gallic tribes in northern Italy.

354in fīnibus Cӯrēnaeōrum: Cyrene was a province of Ptolemaic Egypt, to the east of Carthage′s territory in North Africa.

355spē fīdūciāque: ablatives of cause, ″because of their hope and confidence in Antiochus″ (Antiochī, objective genitive).

356cui iam persuāserat: the antecedent of cui is Antiochī; Nepos told the story of how Hannibal convinced Antiochus to attack the Romans in 2.1‒2.3. Hannibal did not, however, succeed in convincing the king to send an army to Italy.

357ut… proficīscerētur: substantive purpose clause (AG §563), with Antiochus as its subject; the sudden switching of subjects within a complex sentence is typical of Latin. Here, since Hannibal must persuade someone else (i.e., Antiochus), the new subject is understood.

358hūc: i.e., in fīnibus Cӯrēnaeōrum.

359(2) Māgōnem eādem, quā frātrem, absentem affēcērunt poenā: note the separation of nouns from their adjectives, eādem… poenā and Māgōnem… absentem.

poenā: ablative of price, which is used to indicate an indefinite penalty or the exact amount of a fine (AG §416).

360illī: i.e., Hannibal and Mago.

361dēspērātīs rēbus: ablative absolute, with causal sense.

362cum solvissent nāvēs ac vēla ventīs dedissent: circumstantial cum clause describing actions that precede the action of the main verb, pervēnit (AG §546). solvissent nāvēs: ″release the ships″ → ″weigh anchor″. This sentence provides a good illustration of the factors that a Roman author weighed when determining the order of words in a sentence. The subordinating conjunction cum would naturally come at the start of the sentence. But because the action of the ablative absolute, dēspērātīs rēbus, must precede that of the cum clause — the situation must be hopeless before Hannibal and Mago decide to flee — Nepos places the ablative absolute before cum. Because Nepos likes to begin sentences with connectives and demonstratives, illī, although it is part of the cum clause, appears first, followed by the ablative absolute, and then the rest of the cum clause.

363duplex memoria: ″double memory″; i.e., there were two accounts of Mago′s death.

364aliī… aliī: a correlative construction, ″some… others…″.

365ā servulīs: ablative of personal agent. Other sources indicate that Mago was wounded while fighting the Romans in Cisalpine Gaul and died of his wounds en route to Carthage in 203 BC.

366scrīptum relīquērunt: literally, ″leave behind a written record″ — compare the English expression ″leave a paper trail″ — a common periphrasis equivalent to scrīpsērunt (13.1), introducing an indirect statement with eum as its accusative subject and the infinitive, interfectum [esse].

367(3) sī tam… pārēre voluisset, quam… īnstituerat: tam and quam are correlatives (AG §323; 9.4) in the protasis of a past contrary to fact conditional.

in agendō bellō: gerundive, see note on 7.6.
pārēre: takes the dative, cōnsiliīs.
voluisset: subjunctive in the protasis of a past contrary to fact conditional, ″if he had been willing (but he was not)″ (9.1).
in suscipiendō [bellō]: gerundive, parallel with in agendō bellō.

368propius Tiberī quam Thermopylīs: propius can be taken with the dative (Tiberī, Thermopylīs), although the accusative is more common. Antiochus was defeated by the Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC and compelled to withdraw to Asia.

369dē summā [rē] imperiī: ″about supreme command″ (3.1).

370quem: connective relative; its antecedent is Antiochus; it serves as the accusative subject of the deponent infinitive, cōnārī.

371vidēbat: Hannibal is the subject.

372nūllā… in rē: nūllā is separated from its noun and preposition, in rē, for emphasis.

373(4) praefuit: > praesum + dative, paucīs nāvibus (7.1, 8.4).

374iīsque [nāvibus]: ablative of means.

375in Āsiam: referring to Asia Minor (i.e., roughly modern day Turkey), as is common in Roman authors.

376adversus: preposition + accusative, classem (Rhodiōrum). Rhodes was a powerful Greek state, known for its superior navy.

377in Pamphӯliō marī: Pamphylia is a region between Lycia and Cilicia in southwest Asia Minor. The naval battle was fought near Eurymedon.

378quō: connective relative (AG §308f), referring to the battle mentioned in the previous sentence.

379cum multitūdine adversāriōrum suī superārentur: concessive cum clause (AG §549).

380suī: nominative plural, ″his (Hannibal′s) troops″; a common idiom.

381quō cornū: locative ablative; ″on the flank [i.e., the section of the battle line] where″.

Chapter 9

382Hannibal flees to Crete, where he uses a clever ruse to save his money from the treacherous inhabitants.

383(1) Antiochō fugātō: ablative absolute. Nepos refers to Antiochus′ defeat at the Battle of Magnesia in western Asia Minor in 190 BC. The Roman forces were led by Lucius Cornelius Scipio, the brother of Scipio Africanus. Antiochus subsequently agreed to onerous terms of peace: he renounced his claim to any land in Europe and Anatolia west of the Taurus Mountains, paid a massive indemnity, handed over all of his war elephants, reduced his navy to only 12 warships, and agreed to deliver Hannibal.

384nē dēderētur: fear clause dependent on participle, verēns (AG §564); indicates that Hannibal fears the action in the clause, ″fearing that he be betrayed″.

385quod: refers to the action of the preceding clause (dēderētur).

386accidisset: impersonal, ″it would have happened″.

387sī suī fēcisset potestātem: an idiom, ″if he (Hannibal) had provided [Antiochus] the opportunity (potestātem) [to meet] him (suī)″; suī, objective genitive, referring to Hannibal. Hannibal fled first to Armenia, where he was said to have founded the city of Artaxata.

388Crētam ad Gortӯniōs vēnit: Crētam: accusative of place to which, usually with a preposition, unlike domum, rūs, and the names of towns and small islands (AG §427.2). ad Gortӯniōs: ″to the Gortynians″. Gortyn was an ally of Ptolemaic Egypt and an important city in south‒central Crete, near the foot of Mt. Ida. At this time, Crete was riven by conflict between several powerful city‒states.

389ut ibi... cōnsīderāret: purpose clause.

390quō: adverb, ″to where, whither″, introducing indirect question dependent on consīderāret.

391(2) vir omnium callidissimus: i.e., Hannibal; recall that Nepos characterized Fabius Maximus with the same adjective (5.2).

392in magnō sē fore perīculō: indirect statement introduced by vīdit; note how Nepos artfully embeds the accusative subject () and verb (fore = futūrum esse, see note on 2.4) within the prepositional phrase, in magnō... perīculō.

393nisi quid: = nisi (ali)quid; see note on 2.6.

394propter avāritiam Crētēnsium: explains why Hannibal thought that in magnō sē fore perīculō. Crētēnsium: genitive plural > Crētēnsis.

395sēcum: typical for cum sē, as whenever cum appears with a personal pronoun (e. g. mēcum, nōbīscum, etc.).

396fāmam: accusative subject of exisse; here, ″report″ or ″rumor″ of his magnam pecūniam.

11. Hannibal′s Ruse of the Amphorae. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.

397(3) capit… complet… operit: historical presents to convey a sense of lively narrative (AG §469; see note on 4.3).

398amphorās: large earthenware vessels with two handles that were used for transport and storage.

399plumbō: an ablative of means may be used with verbs and adjectives of ″filling, abundance, etc.″, complet (AG §409a; 11.6); the same construction appears two sentences later: suā pecūniā complet.

400summās: ″the tops″ (of the amphorae).

401hās: i.e., amphorās; on its position before the ablative absolute, praesentibus prīncipibus, see note on 8.2.

402praesentibus prīncipibus: ablative absolute; since Latin lacks the present or perfect participle of esse, an ablative absolute can contain a noun and adjective or two nouns in the ablative (AG §419a).

403in templō Diānae: Nepos uses the Roman name of the Greek goddess Artemis.

404crēdere: infinitive with an accusative subject,; ″pretending (simulāns) to entrust an accusative (suās fortūnās) to the dative (fideī)″; fidēs: not ″faith″ but ″reliability″ → ″trustworthiness″ → ″good faith″; compare the derogatory expression Pūnica fides (″Punic trustworthiness″ → ″bad faith″ → ″treachery″).

405illōrum: i.e., the assembled leaders of the Gortynians (praesentibus principibus).

406hīs in errōrem inductīs: ablative absolute.

407eāsque: i.e., statuās aeneās.

408domī: genitive limiting in prōpatulō rather than locative.

409(4) Gortӯniī: subject of custōdiunt.

410magnā cūrā: ablative of manner.

411nōn tam ā cēterīs quam ab Hannibale: correlatives, ″not so much from... as from...″.

412īnscientibus iīs: ablative absolute; iīs, i.e., Gortӯniīs.

413nē... tolleret... dūceret: understand amphorās as the object of both verbs in the negative purpose clause; tolleret... dūceret: imperfect subjunctives in secondary sequence after a historical present, custōdiunt (AG §485e).

Chapter 10

414Hannibal arrives at the court of Prusias, King of Bithynia (1), and prepares to fight Eumenes II, an ally of Rome (2‒3). He devises a novel biological weapon for use against Eumenes′ superior fleet (4‒6). The episode with Eumenes is the most detailed in the Life (10.4‒11.6).

415(1) cōnservātīs suīs rēbus and illūsīs Crētēnsibus omnibus: Nepos begins this section with two consecutive ablative absolutes. Poenus: i.e., Hannibal. illūsīs: > illudō,‒ere, not ille, illa, illud.

416Prūsiam: Prusias I ″The Lame″ (ca. 243‒182 BC), the king of Bithynia, a kingdom on the southern shore of the Black Sea. It is unclear why Prusias would be in the neighboring kingdom of Pontus when Hannibal met him (in Pontum).

417apud quem: i.e., Prusias; connective relative (AG §308f).

418eōdem animō: ablative of quality (AG §415; see note on 2.5), ″of the same mind″.

419neque aliud quicquam… quam: ″and (ēgit) nothing other than (rēgem armāvit)…″; Hannibal is the subject of the sentence.

420(2) quem cum: note that the subordinating cum is postponed after the connective relative, which refers to Prusias.

421domesticīs opibus: ablative of specification (AG §418; 1.1), indicating the respect in which Prusias was minus rōbustum, ″too weak″.

422dissidēbat ab eō Pergamēnus rēx Eumenēs, Rōmānīs amīcissimus: Eumenes II (197‒159 BC), the king of Pergamon (Pergamēnus rēx) was a staunch ally of Rome (Rōmānīs amīcissimus; on the meaning of amīcitiā, see note on 2.4). After Antiochus′ defeat at Magnesia, the Romans granted Eumenes extensive territory in Asia Minor, bringing him into conflict with Prusias.

ab eō: i.e., Prusias.

423et marī et terrā: correlatively, ″both… and″; these ablatives of place are more commonly rendered as terrā marīque.

424(3) utrobīque: adverb, ″on both parts″ or ″on both sides″, i.e., et marī et terrā.

425quō: connective relative (AG §308f; 8.4, 9.1); ″for this reason″, i.e., propter Rōmānōrum societātem.

426Hannibal: nominative subject of cupiēbat despite its position within the indirect statement (eum… opprimī). Roman authors often juxtapose names and pronouns.

427quem: connective relative; its antecedent is eum, i.e., Eumenes.

428sī remōvisset: pluperfect subjunctive not because Hannibal′s assessment of the situation is incorrect but because the protasis appears in indirect speech; Nepos uses the subjunctive because Hannibal originally thought (arbitrābātur): ″if I eliminate Eumenes (removerit, future perfect), everything else will be…″; when Nepos reports the future perfect, removerit is rendered as the pluperfect subjunctive, remōvisset (AG §589).

429ad hunc interficiendum: ad + gerundive, expressing purpose, ″to kill him″ (AG §506).

430tālem iniit ratiōnem: ″he devised the following plan″.

431(4) classe: ablative of means.

432erant dēcrētūrī: future active periphrastic (AG §195) > decernō, ″they were about to fight″.

433superābātur: subject is Hannibal, ″he was surpassed by″ → ″was inferior to″, with an ablative of respect, (nāvium) multitūdine.

434dolō erat pugnandum: the neuter indicates that this is the impersonal gerundive (AG §500.3).

435cum pār nōn esset armīs: causal cum clause, ″because…″. armīs: ablative of respect.

436quam plūrimās: ″as many as possible″ (quam + superlative), object of colligī… que… conicī.

437imperāvit: imperō is typically followed by ut + subjunctive; here, imperāvit introduces an indirect statement: [ eōs ] colligī…‒que conicī.

438in vāsa fīctilia: ″into earthenware vessels″; vāsa is neuter plural.

439(5) hārum cum effēcisset magnam multitūdinem: circumstantial cum clause. effēcisset: pluperfect subjunctive in secondary sequence after historical presents, convocat and praecipit (AG §485e). hārum: i.e., venēnātās serpentēs vīvās.

440diē ipsō: ablative of time when.

441factūrus erat: compare to erant dēcrētūrī (10.4).

12. Snakes on a Boat. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.

442convocat... que... praecipit: historical presents to convey a sense of lively narrative (AG §469; see note on 4.3).

443iīsque: dative with praecipit, substantive purpose clause (AG §563, sometimes called a jussive noun clause), omnēs ut… concurrant… tantum… habeant sē dēfendere.

444omnēs ut… concurrant: the word order is unusual; again Nepos has positioned a word before the subordinating conjunction for emphasis.

in ūnam… nāvem: an example of hysterologia, or the insertion of words that interrupts the syntactic flow of the sentence; it emphasizes the order that everyone (omnēs) attack only Eumenes′ ship (ūnam nāvem). concurrant: present subjunctive depending on praecipit.

445ā cēterīs: ″against all the other nāvibus″.

446tantum satis habeant: ″they should consider it enough″ → ″should be content″. Because tantus conveys only the idea of relative greatness, it may also denote a small amount, ″just enough″.

447id: the demonstrative refers to the sense of what came before, i.e., sē dēfendere.

448illōs… cōnsecūtūrōs [esse]: depends on an implied verb of speaking (e.g., dīxit, 12.3).

449(6) rēx: subject of veherētur in the indirect question introduced by the interrogative adjective quā; it has been displaced before its relative clause for additional emphasis.

450ut [classiāriī] scīrent: result clause.

451sē factūrum [esse]: depends on an implied verb of speaking, like illōs… consecūtūrōs (10.5).

452magnō iīs pollicētur praemiō fore: a double dative construction dependent on pollicētur, ″he promises that it will be a (source of) great reward for them″ (AG §382). magnō… praemiō: dative of purpose with fore; iīs: dative of reference with fore.

Chapter 11

453Hannibal lays a trap for Eumenes, who escapes (1‒4). Hannibal′s biological weapon routs the Pergamene navy (5‒6).

454(1) tālī cohortātiōne mīlitum factā: ablative absolute. mīlitum: objective genitive limiting cohortātiōne, ″exhortation of the soldiers″.

455ab utrīsque: i.e., Hannibal and Eumenes II.

456dēdūcitur and mittit: historical presents, see note on adficitur (4.3).

457quārum: = nāvium.

458aciē cōnstitūtā: ablative absolute.

459priusquam signum pugnae darētur: for the temporal subjunctive, see note on 7.6.

460suīs: i.e., Hannibal′s men.

461quō locō Eumenēs esset: indirect question with faceret. quō locō: ablative of place.

462in scaphā: a skiff or small rowboat.

463cum cādūceō: the staff carried by heralds and ambassadors as a symbol of their office and so as a symbol of safe passage to and from enemies.

464(2) quī: its antecedent is tabellārius.

465sē rēgem professus est quaerere: professus est introduces the indirect statement, sē rēgem… quaerere. Word order in this sentence is determined by an intelligible set of stylistic preferences: the first word in the phrase,, refers to the subject of the previous clause; rēgem follows because of the Roman preference for juxtaposing personal nouns; then professus est, because the verb introducing the indirect statement has a tendency to come before the verb in the indirect statement, quaerere.

466quod nēmō dubitābat: the indicative reveals that this is Nepos′ own assessment of the situation, not necessarily that of Eumenes or his sailors (compare 1.1).

467quīn… esset scrīptum: quīn often introduces subjunctive clauses after expressions of hindering, resisting, and doubting (nēmō dubitābat, AG §558), ″because no one was doubting that (quīn)…″.

468ducis nāve dēclārātā suīs: ablative absolute. ducis: i.e., Eumenes. Note how Nepos places the genitive, ducis, before the noun it limits, nāve, in order to juxtapose it with tabellārius. suīs: dative with dēclārātā, i.e., ″to his own men″.

469eōdem: i.e., eōdem [locō], specified by the subsequent clause, unde erat ēgressus.

470(3) solūtā epistulā: ablative absolute. solūtā: i.e., by breaking the wax seal on the letter.

471quae ad irrīdendum eum pertinērent: quae is neuter plural because a plural is implied by the main clause (nihil in eā repperit). ad irrīdendum eum: gerundive indicating purpose (see note on 10.3).

472cuius: connective relative; its antecedent must be epistulā.

473dubitāvit: on the use of dubitō + infinitive, see note on 2.4.

474(4) ūniversī: ″all at once″, modifies Bīthӯniī. Note how Nepos embeds the ablative of cause, (Hannibalis) praeceptō, within the noun‒adjective phrase to emphasize why the Bīthӯniī attacked ūniversī (12.4, 13.2).

475adoriuntur: ″fell upon″.

476quōrum vim rēx cum sustinēre nōn posset: by now Nepos′ tendency to postpone the subordinating conjunction, cum, after words that associate the clause with elements of the preceeding sentence, should be familiar; also 11.5, below.

477fugā: ablative of means.

478quam: antecedent is salūtem.

479intrā sua praesidia: i.e., Eumenes′ fortified naval encampment (ad sua castra nautica in 11.6). Ancient warships were built for speed and maneuverability. Because they were unstable in foul weather and lacked accommodations for their crews, sailors tended to make camp on land at night.

480(5) eās: i.e., Pergamēnās nāvēs.

481vāsa fīctilia: the subject of conicī coepta sunt.

482dē quibus suprā mentiōnem fēcimus: Nepos first introduced the earthenware jars in 10.4. fēcimus: ancient authors often used plural forms to refer to themselves, especially in prose (see note on 3.1).

483coepta sunt: the passive of the defective verb coepī is often used with passive verbs (AG §205a), ″they began to be thrown (conicī)″.

484quae iacta: ″these (vāsa fīctilia) having been thrown″.

485initiō: ablative of time, ″at first″.

486concitārunt: = concitā()runt, syncopated perfect (AG §181), ″arouse, excite, cause″ something (accusative, rīsum) in someone (dative, pugnantibus).

487quā rē id fieret: indirect question, dependent on poterat intellegī; quā rē: = quārē.

488(6) serpentibus: an ablative of means may be used with verbs and adjectives of ″filling, abundance, etc.″, opplētās (AG §409a).

489novā rē: ablative of means. novā: ″strange, unusual, unprecedented″, as often in Latin.

490perterritī: perfect passive participle, agreeing with implicit subject of vertērunt.

491quid potissimum vītārent: indirect question introduced by cum... nōn vidērent; i.e., the Pergamene sailors were in confusion whether they should rid themselves of the snakes or continue to attack Prusias′ ships. potissimum: adverb, ″first of all, especially, in preference to all″.

492puppēs vertērunt: puppēs, literally ″sterns″, refers by synecdoche to the entire ship; compare the idiom terga vertere, ″turn (their) backs″, i.e., retreat.

493(7) cōnsiliō: i.e., his ingenious use of snakes. Nepos often contrasts ingenuity (cōnsilium) with brute force (arma).

494neque tum sōlum, sed saepe aliās: ″not only at that time... but often at other times…″; a variation on the common correlative construction, nōn sōlum... sed etiam (6.4, 7.5); aliās: adverb, ″in other places, times″ (AG §215.3).

495pedestribus cōpiīs: ablative of instrument, ″with infantry″ → ″in land battles″.

496parī prūdentiā: ablative of manner (AG §412; 12.4); Nepos introduced tactical brilliance (prūdentiā) as Hannibal′s defining characteristic in 1.1.

Chapter 12

497Romans demand that Hannibal be surrendered (1‒3). When Hannibal discovers that he is surrounded by his enemies, he commits suicide (4‒5).

498(1) quae: connective relative (AG §308f).

499geruntur: historical present, see note on adficitur (4.3).

500accidit cāsū: impersonal, ″it happened by chance″; its subject is furnished by the substantive clause, ut lēgātī Prūsiae... cenārent.

501Rōmae: locative.

502apud T. Quinctium Flāminīnum cōnsulārem: ″at the house of…″; cōnsulārem: ″ex‒consul″. Titus Quinctius Flamininus (ca. 229‒ca. 174 BC) defeated Philip V of Macedon at the Battle of Cynocephalae in 197 BC, ending Macedonian domination of Greece. The following year Flamininus appeared at the Isthmian Games and flamboyantly declared that the Greeks were free from foreign domination. Fifty years later Greece was reduced to a Roman province after Rome defeated the Achaean League at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC, the same year that Rome destroyed Carthage.

503dē Hannibale mentiōne factā: ablative absolute that includes the prepositional phrase, dē Hannibale.

504ex iīs ūnus: partitive, ″one of them″, i.e., the lēgātī Prūsiae.

505eum: i.e., Hannibal.

506(2) senātuī: dative with the compound verb, dētulit, ″he communicated″.

507patrēs cōnscrīptī: ″enrolled fathers″, the standard appellation for Roman senators.

508quī... existimārent: relative clause of characteristic indicating cause (AG §535e), ″because they judged…″.

509Hannibale vīvō: ablative absolute; since Latin lacks the present or perfect participle of esse, an ablative absolute can contain a noun and adjective or two nouns in the ablative (AG §419a).

510in iīs Flāminīnum: ″Flamininus (was included) among these″ (i.e., the Roman legates).

511quī ab rēge peterent: relative clause of purpose, ″in order to ask…″.

512inimīcissimum: ″greatest enemy″; object of both habēret and dēderet.

513suum and sibi: indirect reflexives (AG §300.2) because they refer to the words or thoughts of those making the demand (lēgātī). sēcum: a direct reflexive referring to Prusias, the subject of its own clause (AG §300.1). Both uses of the reflexive are standard; the situation — who has Hannibal and to whom he must be given — prevents confusion.

514sibique dēderet: ut is not necessary because ‒que continues the indirect command introduced by; the singular subject of habēret and dēderet must be Prusias (ab rēge).

515(3) negāre: ″to give a negative answer″, with a dative, hīs [lēgātīs].

516illud: emphatic; it agrees with the substantive purpose clause that follows, nē id ā sē fierī postulārent (AG §563, sometimes called a jussive noun clause); postulārent usually expects a substantive purpose clause but Nepos uses the accusative + infinitive to avoid a confusing ut immediately after.

517ā sē: indirect reflexive, see note above on suum and sibi.

518quod: relative pronoun; its antecedent is id.

519adversus iūs hospitiī: for the Romans, hospitality (hospitium) or the proper treatment of guests (hospitēs) was among the stongest bonds between individuals. Romans considered a violation of hospitium to be a great impiety and the protection due a guest was often deemed greater than that due blood relatives. Prusias, therefore, in appealing to the iūs hospitiī, is not merely citing etiquette, but evoking one of the most fundamental and universally recognized social conventions of the ancient world. Compare the biblical story of Lot, who offered his virgin daughters to a drunken crowd that was demanding two guests whom Lot had just met.

520ipsī: i.e., the lēgātī Rōmānī.

521ubi esset: subject is Hannibal.

522inventūrōs [esse]: depends on an implied verb of saying (e.g., Prusias dīxit; 10.5, 10.6).

523ūnō locō: when the ablative of place appears with an adjective, the preposition (in) is often omitted; compare in Italiā, but tōtā Italiā.

524mūnerī: dative of purpose, used to show what a thing accomplishes, ″as a gift″; often with a dative of the person affected, (AG §382).

525idque sīc aedificā (ve) rat, ut... exitūs habēret: result clause signaled by sīc; exitūs is accusative plural.

526nē ūsū venīret, quod accidit: fear clause dependent on verēns. ūsū venīret: idiom, ″it happens, occurs″, especially common in Nepos and his contemporary Cicero. quod accidit: the relative clause serves as subject of venīret.

13. Hannibal Surrounded. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.

527(4) puer: often used for ″slave″ without reference to age.

528plūrēs praeter cōnsuētūdinem armātōs: Nepos embeds a prepositional phrase, praeter cōnsuētūdinem (″more than was usual″), within the noun‒adjective phrase that it modifies.

529quī imperāvit eī: introducing the substantive clause of purpose, ut... circumīret ac properē sibi nuntiāret (AG §563). quī: connective relative; its antecedent must be Hannibal (a slave would not be giving orders to the general). eī: i.e., the slave; dative with imperāvit.

530num... obsidērētur: in indirect questions, num does not expect a negative answer, as it does in direct questions.

531eōdem modō: ablative of manner.

532(5) puer: the subject of the circumstantial cum clause (cum... renūntiāsset... que... ostendisset) is shifted before the subordinating conjunction.

533omnīsque:‒īs is a common alternative spelling of the accusative plural of i‒stem nouns (AG §77) and adjectives (AG §115‒121). sēnsit: subject is Hannibal; introduces three indirect statements:

  1. id nōn factum [esse],
  2. sed sē petī,
  3. nequevītam esse retinendam.

534fortuītō: adverb, ″by chance″.

535sē: reflexive, referring to Hannibal.

536sibi: dative of agent with the periphrastic, esse retinendam.

537quam nē aliēnō arbitriō dīmitteret: negative purpose clause. quam: connective relative; its antecedent is vītam. aliēnō arbitriō: ″by another′s will″.

538memor: ″mindful of″ + objective genitive, prīstinārum virtūtum (AG §347‒348).

539venēnum: the Roman satirist Juvenal records that Hannibal kept the poison in a ring (Satire 10.164: ″but a little ring was the redeemer of Cannae and avenger of so much blood″, sed ille Cannārum vindex ac tantī sanguinis ultor, anulus). According to other accounts, Hannibal had a slave strangle him with his military cloak, or he drank bull′s blood, which was thought to congeal so quickly that it would suffocate the drinker (Plutarch, Life of Flamininus 20). His great rival, Scipio Africanus, may have died in the same year.

540cōnsuē(ve)rat: syncopated perfect (AG §181).

Chapter 13

541The year of Hannibal′s death is disputed (1). Nepos discusses his sources (2‒3). The conclusion of the Life and the announcement of Nepos′ next project (4).

542(1) perfūnctus: > perfungor + ablative, multīs variīsque labōribus.

543annō acquiēvit septuāgēsimō: Hannibal was actually in his sixties. Like most traditional cultures, Romans routinely used round numbers even when a specific number might be discovered.

544quibus cōnsulibus interierit: indirect question with nōn convēnit, ″it is not agreed under which consuls…″; the three dates given are 183, 182, and 181 BC.

545M. Claudiō Marcellō Q. Fabiō Labeōne cōnsulibus: i.e., in 183 BC, the date given by Atticus (the historian and friend of Cicero) in his now‒lost Liber annalis (in Annālī suō). This is the most likely date.

546scrīptum relīquit: ″left it written″ → ″wrote″. For the periphrasis, see note on 8.2.

547Sulpicius Blithō: a contemporary of Nepos; Blitho, whose account is lost, gave 182 BC as the date of Hannibal′s death.

548Polybius: the famed Greek historian (ca. 200‒118 BC) gives the consuls of 181 BC.

549(2) hic tantus: in this combination, favored by Roman authors, tantus is equivalent to magnus or another honorific.

550temporis: partitive genitive with nōn nihil, ″not no time″ → ″some time″.

551litterīs: dative of purpose; i.e., ″literature″ or ″literary studies″.

552sunt: ″there are″ → ″there survive″.

553in iīs: i.e., ″among them″.

554ad Rhodiōs dē... gestīs: this is a title: ″(Address) to the Rhodians…″ They had joined Gnaeus Manilius Volso on campaign (rēbus gestīs) against the Galatians of Asia Minor (in Asiā) in 189 BC. The work does not survive.

555(3) huius: i.e., Hannibal; huius does not agree with bellī, but instead limits the phrase bellī gesta.

556bellī gesta: ″the deeds of war″, in contrast to literature, a pursuit of peace.

557multī: subject of prōdidērunt.

558memoriae: dative with prōdidērunt, ″transmit (accusative, gesta) to (dative, memoriae)″ →″ commemorate, put forth in writing″.

559quam diū fortūna passa est: ″for as long as fortune allowed″.

560Sīlēnus et Sōsylus Lacedaemonius: precious little survives of the works by these authors, who were essential sources for subsequent historians, including Polybius and Livy. The history by Silenus, an ethnic Greek from Cale Acte in Sicily, was respected by Polybius and widely cited by Roman authors, including Cicero, who called his history ″a thoroughly reliable authority on Hannibal′s life and achievements″ (De divinatione 1.49). Sosylus the Spartan accompanied Hannibal on his campaign and composed a Hannibalica, a history of the Second Punic War in seven books. Polybius condemned it as ″the common gossip of a barber′s shop″ (3.20.5).

561hōc Sōsylō: in apposition with doctōre.

562litterārum Graecārum: objective genitive limiting doctōre, ″teacher of Greek literature″.

563ūsus est: governs an ablative of means, doctōre (AG §410).

564(4) nōs: i.e., Nepos; accusative subject of the indirect statement introduced by tempus est.

565quō facilius... possit iūdicārī: relative clause of purpose, ″by which…″ (AG §531), on which the indirect question, quī virī praeferendī sint, depends.

566collātīs utrōrumque factīs: ablative absolute. utrōrumque: ″of both″, i.e., ″of the foreign and the Roman generals″. Nepos′ biographies of Roman generals are lost.


1 The references in round brackets that occur throughout this chapter point to Allen Greenough′s New Latin Grammar, available at the Dickinson Classics website,

2 Eisenhower, D. 1948. Crusade in Europe, 325

Table des illustrations

Légende 10. Hannibal′s Oath of Hatred Against Rome. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Légende 11. Hannibal′s Ruse of the Amphorae. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.
Fichier image/jpeg, 278k
Légende 12. Snakes on a Boat. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.
Fichier image/jpeg, 186k
Légende 13. Hannibal Surrounded. Drawing by Joelle Cicak, CC BY.
Fichier image/jpeg, 168k
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search