Scipio Africanus


Scipio Africanus

Rome's Greatest General

Richard A. Gabriel

326 pages


June 2008


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

September 2011


$36.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The world often misunderstands its greatest men while neglecting others entirely. Scipio Africanus, surely the greatest general that Rome produced, suffered both these fates. Today scholars celebrate the importance of Hannibal, even though Scipio defeated the legendary general in the Second Punic War and was the central military figure of his time. In this scholarly and heretofore unmatched military biography of the distinguished Roman soldier, Richard A. Gabriel establishes Scipio’s rightful place in military history as the greater of the two generals.
Before Scipio, few Romans would have dreamed of empire, and Scipio himself would have regarded such an ambition as a danger to his beloved republic. And yet, paradoxically, Scipio’s victories in Spain and Africa enabled Rome to consolidate its hold over Italy and become the dominant power in the western Mediterranean, virtually ensuring a later confrontation with the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms to the east as well as the empire’s expansion into North Africa and the Levant. The Roman imperium was being born, and it was Scipio who had sired it. Gabriel draws upon ancient texts, including those from Livy, Polybius, Diodorus, Silius Italicus, and others, as primary sources and examines all additional material available to the modern scholar in French, German, English, and Italian. His book offers a complete bibliography of all extant sources regarding Scipio’s life. The result is a rich, detailed, and contextual treatment of the life and career of Scipio Africanus, one of Rome’s greatest generals, if not the greatest of them all.

Author Bio

RICHARD A. GABRIEL is a distinguished professor in the Department of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than forty books, including Scipio AfricanusThutmose IIIPhilip II of MacedoniaHannibal, and Man and Wound in the Ancient World. He lives in Manchester, New Hampshire.


“What Wellington was to Napoleon, Scipio was to Hannibal, a great captain of true genius and innovation, and the Republic’s greatest general. We have had to wait until now for a noted scholar to produce a complete and accurate account of Scipio’s military and political life in the detail that the subject deserves. Richard Gabriel’s biography of Scipio does just that and makes a unique contribution to our understanding of this great Roman general.”—Mordechai Gichon, professor emeritus of military history and archaeology, Tel Aviv University, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquities

“An exciting book from one of the country’s leading military historians. Gabriel has given us a well-written treatment of the life and military campaigns of one of Rome’s most important historical figures that will be enjoyed by military historians, classicists, and general readers alike. An important and original work of military biography, especially dealing with the day-to-day aspects of soldiering in antiquity.”—David George, professor of classics senior fellow at the American School of Classics in Athens, Greece

“A brilliant work of research and analysis from one of the country’s leading military historians. A comprehensive, original and important work of scholarship and military biography that is certain to become the definitive work on Scipio.”—Steve Weingartner, editor of the Cantigny Military History Series and author of Chariots Like a Whirlwind

“Written in a fluid narrative style making it accessible to general readers as well as historians.”—Book News, Inc.

"Worth reading."—Ancient Warfare

“The prolific Gabriel . . . has specialized in writing well-researched, readable works on ancient military history as well as a number of very good military biographies. This worthy tome adds to both categories. . . . Overall, this biography is a well-crafted, much-needed examination of the Roman Republic’s most gifted commander.”—Choice

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