Scipio and Hannibal

Scipio and Hannibal

Scipio is an example of the typical Roman character and culture through the way he portrays his dominance and power. Though he is new to his soldiers, he has no trouble building his credentials and earning his armies’ trust because by right he possesses that power as the Roman general. Scipio motivates his armies by making a point that they, the Romans, are the top dogs and their enemies are weak and can be easily defeated. Hannibal, the Carthaginians military commander, despises the Romans for abusing that power and is willing to go to extreme lengths to end it.

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Both, Scipio and Hannibal, are similar in the sense that they bring up their enemies’ weaknesses to induce their armies. Scipio mentions to his soldiers that their enemies have lost two thirds of their infantry and cavalry in their passage over the Alps so to mark the advantage that they have over them. The Alps is regarded as the force of nature and by this, they consider the Gods are on their side. Hannibal, on the other hand, mentions that their opponents’ general is a stranger to his own soldiers, meaning they are not yet a powerful force.

Hannibal clearly seems closer with his men than Scipio is with his, and Hannibal sees this as the advantage on his side. Scipio shows a more dictatorial behavior with his soldiers and regards the reason for going into battle as their main responsibility towards their nation. At the end of his speech, Scipio reminded his armies, “the senate and people of Rome are watching our exploits today,” so they will remember the glories they’ll attain when returning home with victory.

Hannibal, however, seems to be more approachable with his men and encourages them to fight for the sake of their own freedom and for justice. His words, “we are smarting from a sense of injustice and humiliation” reflects how he wants his men to stand up for all the cruelty and wrongs that the Romans had caused to them. Scipio seems to show more arrogance in his speech as compared to Hannibal since he believes that the Romans have far more advantages than the Carthaginians.

Power and dominance is the main drive for Scipio to battle, while Hannibal uses hatred and revenge as his motivation. For Hannibal’s speech, Livy writes, “everything that the Romans now possess, which they have won through so many triumphs, all that they have amassed, will become yours, together with those who own it,” to show that the Carthaginians are driven by wealth to achieve victory. Although it may be true to some level, it still reflects how Livy is partly bias towards the Romans because he is, fter all, a Roman historian. It is also reasonable to say that Livy includes both Scipio’s and Hannibal’s speech in his writing so to glorify Rome. Scipio and his soldiers are regarded as the hero since they are standing up for their nation while Hannibal and his soldiers are the enemies that they need to fight. Moreover, the speeches can be seen as an indirect attempt for Livy to bring out a more dramatic and interesting effect in his telling of the Roman history.


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