Total War: Rome IIEdit
Publius Scipio Cornelius Africanus is featured in Hannibal at the Gates Campaign Pack.
Born into the Scipio branch of Rome’s powerful Cornelia family in 236 BC, Scipio would come to be known by many names: Scipio Africanus, Scipio the Elder, Scipio The Great – but it would take a long war and many battles before he distinguished himself as the great hero of the Roman Republic.
Entering military service at a young age, he witnessed slaughter aplenty as Hannibal rampaged through Italy. Surviving the comprehensive Roman defeats at Ticinus, Trebia and Cannae, he learned much about Carthaginian tactics, often fighting alongside his father.
However, when his father and uncle fell in battle against Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal in 211 BC, everything changed. Scipio approached the Senate and stridently offered to lead an army into Iberia. Impressed by the young Scipio’s determination and noble bearing, they approved. In a surprise assault, Scipio captured Nova Carthago, and afterward conducted himself and his men with such humanitarian candour that he won many local supporters. Scipio had achieved the foothold he needed to ultimately conquer Iberia. At just 31 and with Iberia under his belt, Scipio was elected Consul and awarded the Sicilian garrison. This was something of a veiled insult from certain jealous, powerful senators, as a posting to Sicily was generally seen as a punishment. There, he found many veterans of prior Roman defeats at the hands of Carthage, and through his inspiring presence and force of will, mustered a compact but highly-motivated force, poised to strike into Africa and the Carthaginian homelands. Conservative elements of the Senate – perhaps fearful of Carthaginian reprisal – refused Scipio any military support, however. If he and his men crossed into Africa, they would do so with the Senate’s permission, but they would do so alone.
Landing near Utica, Scipio’s army naturally drew the attention of Carthage, by this time allied with Numidian forces under Massinissa. Scipio achieved a stunning ambush against a more balanced force, slaughtering an estimated 40,000 Carthaginian and Numidian troops. The tide was turning heavily in Rome’s favour, and Carthage knew it. Hannibal, languishing in stalemate after his Italian campaign ground to a halt, was recalled to Africa, and the stage was set for a showdown between two of history’s greatest generals.
The Battle of Zama saw Hannibal take a sledgehammer approach. His plan was simple: a massive frontal charge with war elephants would punch holes into the Roman lines, which the Carthaginian infantry would then exploit. However, Scipio’s counter was artful; the elephants encountered many traps, javelinmen, and trumpeters, who sowed fear and confusion among them, and his infantry carried out an elaborate manoeuvre, side-stepping the remaining elephants so they passed through channels in their ranks. Then, Scipio’s superior cavalry successfully countered Hannibal’s, and the field was clear for a straight-up clash of infantry. The fighting was long, fierce and bloody, and was only decided when the returning Roman cavalry re-entered the fray and smashed into the Carthaginian rear.
Scipio returned to Rome a hero, where he earned the name Africanus. In Rome’s most desperate hour, he had risen to conquer Iberia and challenge the might of Carthage. And in spite of great odds, and a lack of support or even belief from Rome, he conquered Hannibal himself. From the moment he commanded his first army, Scipio had not lost a single battle.
Total War: ArenaEdit
Scipio is one of the three selectable Roman commanders.
- Quick March
- Cavalry Charge
- Oath of Perseverance