Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.
Carthaginians did not care about Hannibal’s campaigns in Italy, and sent no help; and Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother, with a Roman army in Spain, were watching Mago and preventing him from marching, until at last he gave them battle and defeated and killed them both.  But he was not allowed to go to Italy to his brother, who, in the meantime, found his army so unstrung and ill-disciplined in the delightful but languid Campania, that the Romans declared the luxuries of Capua were their best allies.  He stayed in the south, however, trying to gain the alliance of the king of Macedon, and stirring up Syracuse to revolt.  Marcellus, who was consul for the third time, was sent to reduce the city, which made a famous defence, for it contained Archimedes, the greatest mathematician of his time, who devised wonderful machines for crushing the besiegers in unexpected ways; but at last Marcellus found a weak part of the walls and surprised the citizens.  He had given orders that Archimedes should be saved, but a soldier broke into the philosopher’s room without knowing him, and found him so intent on his study that he had never heard the storming of the city.  The man brandished his sword.  “Only wait,” muttered Archimedes, “till I have found out my problem;” but the man, not understanding him, killed him.

Hannibal remained in Italy, maintaining himself there with wonderful skill, though with none of the hopes with which he had set out.  His brother Hasdrubal did succeed in leaving Spain with an army to help him, but was met on the river Metaurus by Tiberius Claudius Nero, beaten, and slain.  His head was cut off by Nero’s order, and thrown into Hannibal’s camp to give tidings of his fate.

Young Scipio, meantime, had been sent to Spain, where he gained great advantages, winning the friendship of the Iberians, and gaining town after town till Mago had little left but Gades and the extreme south.  Scipio was one of the noblest of the Romans, brave, pious, and what was more unusual, of such sweet and winning temper, that it was said of him that wherever he went he might have been a king.

On returning to Rome, he showed the Senate that the best way to get Hannibal out of Italy was to attack Africa.  Cautious old Fabius doubted, but Scipio was sent to Sicily, where he made an alliance with Massinissa, the Moorish king in Africa; and, obtaining leave to carry out his plan, he was sent thither, and so alarmed Carthage, that Hannibal was recalled to defend his own country, where he had not been since he was a child.  A great battle took place at Zama between him and Hannibal, in which Scipio was the conqueror, and the loss of Carthage was so terrible that the Romans were ready to have marched in on her and made her their subject, but Scipio persuaded them to be forbearing.  Carthage was to pay an immense tribute, and swear never to make war on any ally of Rome.  And thus ended the Second Punic War, in the year 201.

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Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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