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Scipio's Storm of Cartagena

A reader of this site recommended, JW Deming, recommended B.H. Liddel Hart's "Scipio Africanus" to me - and I'm damn pleased I got it.

It's excellent. It combines a mix of strategic thought and analysis with diplomacy and looking deeply into motivations for actions. From chapter 3, after leading a surprise attack and taking the city of New Carthage -

Chapter III: The Storm of Cartagena

"Some young Romans came across a girl of surpassing bloom and beauty, and being aware that Scipio was fond of women brought her to him… saying that they wished to make a present of the damsel to him. He was overcome and astonished by her beauty, and he told them that had he been in a private position no present would have been more welcome, but as he was the general it would be the least welcome of any… So he expressed his gratitude to the young men, but called the girl's father, and handing her over to him, at once bade him give her in marriage to whomever of the citizens he preferred. The self-restraint and moderation Scipio showed on this occasion secured him the warm approbation of his troops."

Livy's account enlarges the picture, saying that she was previously betrothed to a young chief of the Celtiberians, named Allucius, who was desperately enamoured of her; that Scipio, hearing this, sent for Allucius and presented her to him; and that when his parents pressed thank-offerings upon him, he gave them to Allucius as a dowry from himself. This kindly and tactful act not only spread his praises through the Spanish tribes, but earned a more tangible reinforcement, for Allucius reappeared a few days later with fourteen hundred horsemen to join Scipio.

Princess Sophonisba of Carthage, and the Ruin of King Syphax

The people of modern-day Algeria have always had been fierce warriors.

Two thousand and twenty five years ago, in 213 B.C., the land was Numidia, famed for its cavalry. Numidia was divided at this point between the Masaesyli tribe, who ruled Western Numidia, and the Massyllii tribe, who ruled Eastern Numidia.

King Syphax ruled Western Numidia, and following the death of his rival King Gala of East Numidia, Syphax made huge gains. He was consolidating, and set to become ruler of all Numidia.

Meanwhile, King Gala was succeeded by his son Massinissa, who became ruler of the now-weak East Numidians.

Numidia at the time was in friendly neutrality with Carthage, the nearby power, but entertained Roman offers for peace and diplomacy as well.

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