Chapter 13

(1) Sīc vir fortissimus, multīs variīsque perfūnctus labōribus, annō acquiēvit septuāgēsimō. Quibus cōnsulibus interierit, nōn convēnit. Namque Atticus M. Claudiō Marcellō Q. Fabiō Labeōne cōnsulibus mortuum in Annālī suō scrīptum relīquit, at Polybius L. Aemiliō Paulō Cn. Baebiō Tamphilō, Sulpicius autem Blithō P. Cornēliō Cethēgō M. Baebiō Tamphilō.

(2) Atque hic tantus vir tantīsque bellīs districtus nōn nihil temporis tribuit litterīs. Namque aliquot ēius librī sunt, Graecō sermōne cōnfectī, in iīs ad Rhodiōs dē Cn. Manliī Volsōnis in Āsiā rēbus gestīs.

(3) Huius bellī gesta multī memoriae prōdidērunt, sed ex iīs duo, quī cum eō in castrīs fuērunt simulque vīxērunt, quam diū fortūna passa est, Sīlēnus et Sōsylus Lacedaemonius. Atque hōc Sōsylō Hannibal litterārum Graecārum ūsus est doctōre.

(4) Sed nōs tempus est huius librī facere fīnem et Rōmānōrum explicāre imperātōrēs, quō facilius, collātīs utrōrumque factīs, quī virī praeferendī sint, possit iūdicārī.

The year of Hannibal's death is disputed (1). Nepos discusses his sources (2–3). The conclusion of the Life and the announcement of Nepos’ next project (4).

(1) perfūnctus: > perfungor + ablative, multīs variīsque labōribus.

annō acquiēvit septuāgēsimō: Hannibal was actually in his sixties. Like most traditional cultures, Romans routinely used round numbers even when a specific number might be discovered.

quibus cōnsulibus interierit: indirect question with nōn convēnit, "it is not agreed under which consuls...." The three dates given are 183, 182, and 181 BC.

M. Claudiō Marcellō Q. Fabiō Labeōne cōnsulibus: i.e., in 183 BC, the date given by Atticus (the historian and friend of Cicero) in his now-lost Liber annalis (in Annālī suō). This is the most likely date.

scrīptum relīquit: "left it written"→ "wrote." For the periphrasis, see 8.2.

Polybius: the famed Greek historian (c. 200–118 BC) gives the consuls of 182 BC.

Sulpicius Blithō: a contemporary of Nepos, he gives 181 BC as the date of Hannibal’s death; Blitho's history is lost.

(2) hic tantus: in this combination, favored by Roman authors, tantus is equivalent to magnus or another honorific.

temporis: partitive genitive with nōn nihil, "not no time" → "some time."

litterīs: dative of purpose; i.e., "literature" or "literary studies."

sunt: "there are" → "there survive."

in iīs: i.e., "among them."

ad Rhodiōs dē...gestīs: this is a title: "(Address) to the Rhodians...." They had joined Gnaeus Manilius Volso on campaign (rēbus gestīs) against the Galatians of Asia Minor (in Asiā) in 189 BC. The work does not survive.

(3) huius: i.e., Hannibal; huius does not agree with bellī, but instead limits the phrase bellī gesta.

bellī gesta: "the deeds of war," in contrast to literature, a pursuit of peace.

multī: subject of prōdidērunt.

memoriae: dative with prōdidērunt, "transmit (accusative, gesta) to (dative, memoriae)" ➝ "commemorate, put forth in writing."

quam diū fortūna passa est: "for as long as fortune allowed."

Sīlēnus et Sōsylus Lacedaemonius: precious little survives of the works by these authors, who were essential sources for subsequent historians, including Polybius and Livy. The history by Silenus, an ethnic Greek from Cale Acte in Sicily, was respected by Polybius and widely cited by Roman authors, including Cicero, who called his history "a thoroughly reliable authority on Hannibal’s life and achievements" (De divinatione 1.49). Sosylus the Spartan accompanied Hannibal on his campaign and composed a Hannibalica, a history of the Second Punic War in seven books. Polybius condemned it as "the common gossip of a barber’s shop" (3.20.5).

hōc Sōsylō: in apposition with doctōre.

litterārum Graecārum: objective genitive limiting doctōre, "teacher of Greek literature."

ūsus est: governs an ablative of means, doctōre (AG §410).

(4) nōs: i.e., Nepos; accusative subject of the indirect statement introduced by tempus est.

quō facilius...possit iūdicārī: relative clause of purpose, "by which…" (AG §531), on which the indirect question, quī virī praeferendī sint, depends.

collātīs utrōrumque factīs: ablative absolute. utrōrumque: "of both," i.e. "of the foreign and the Roman generals." Nepos' biographies of Roman generals are lost.

(1) perfungor –fungī –fūnctus sum: perform, endure 


acquiēscō –quiēscere –quiēvī –quiētum: die, repose in death 


septuāgēsimus –a –um: seventieth 


intereō –īre –iī –itum: perish, die 


Labeō Labeōnis m.: Labeo 


mortuus –a –um: dead 


annālis annālis m.: record of events, chronicle 


Polybius –ī m.: Polybius 


Baebius –ī m.: Baebius ※


Tamphilus –ī m.: Tamphilus ※


Blithō Blithōnis m.: Blitho 


Cethēgus –ī m.: Cethegus 


(2) distringō –stringere –strinxī –strictum: distract, be busy 


tribuō tribuere tribuī tribūtum: assign, grant


aliquot: several, some ※


Manlius –ī m.: Manlius 


Volsō Volsōnis m.: Volso 


(3) Sīlēnus –ī m.: Silenus 


Sōsylus –ī m.: Sosylus ※


Lacedaemonius –a –um: Spartan, Lacedaemonian 


doctor doctōris m.: teacher, instructor 


(4) explicō –āre: unfold, explain ※


praeferō –ferre –tulī –lātum: prefer 

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Suggested Citation

Bret Mulligan, Nepos: Life of Hannibal. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-947822-01-6. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/nepos-hannibal/chapter-13