Chapter 10

(1) Sīc cōnservātīs suīs rēbus, Poenus, illūsīs Crētēnsibus omnibus, ad Prūsiam in Pontum pervēnit. Apud quem eōdem animō fuit ergā Italiam neque aliud quicquam ēgit quam rēgem armāvit et exercuit adversus Rōmānōs.

(2) Quem cum vidēret domesticīs opibus minus esse rōbustum, conciliābat cēterōs rēgēs, adiungēbat bellicōsās nātiōnēs. Dissidēbat ab eō Pergamēnus rēx Eumenēs, Rōmānīs amīcissimus, bellumque inter eōs gerēbātur et marī et terrā.

(3) Sed utrobīque Eumenēs plūs valēbat propter Rōmānōrum societātem. Quō magis cupiēbat eum Hannibal opprimī; quem sī remōvisset, faciliōra sibi cētera fore arbitrābātur. Ad hunc interficiendum tālem iniit ratiōnem.

(4) Classe paucīs diēbus erant dēcrētūrī. Superābātur nāvium multitūdine; dolō erat pugnandum, cum pār nōn esset armīs. Imperāvit quam plūrimās venēnātās serpentēs vīvās colligī eāsque in vāsa fīctilia conicī.

(5) Hārum cum effēcisset magnam multitūdinem, diē ipsō, quō factūrus erat nāvāle proelium, classiāriōs convocat iīsque praecipit, omnēs ut in ūnam Eumenis rēgis concurrant nāvem, ā cēterīs tantum satis habeant sē dēfendere. Id illōs facile serpentium multitūdine cōnsecūtūrōs.

(6) Rēx autem in quā nāve veherētur, ut scīrent, sē factūrum. Quem sī aut cēpissent aut interfēcissent, magnō iīs pollicētur praemiō fore.

Hannibal arrives at the court of Prusias, King of Bithynia (1), and prepares to fight Eumenes II, an ally of Rome (2–3). He devises a novel biological weapon for use against Eumenes' superior fleet (4–6). The episode with Eumenes is the most detailed in the Life (10.4–11.6).

(1) cōnservātīs suīs rēbus and illūsīs Crētēnsibus omnibus: Nepos begins this section with two consecutive ablative absolutes. Poenus: i.e., Hannibal. illūsīs: > illudō, –ere, not ille, illa, illud.

Prūsiam: Prusias I "The Lame" (c. 243–182 BC), the king of Bithynia, a kingdom on the southern shore of the Black Sea. It is unclear why Prusias would be in the neighboring kingdom of Pontus when Hannibal met him (in Pontum). [image: coin depicting Prusias I]

apud quem: i.e., Prusias; a connective relative (AG §308f).

eōdem animō: ablative of quality (AG §415; see 2.5), "of the same mind."

neque aliud quicquam…quam: "and (ēgit) nothing other than"; Hannibal is the subject of the sentence.

(2) quem cum: note that the subordinating cum is postponed after the connective relative, which refers to Prusias.

domesticīs opibus: ablative of specification (AG §418; 1.1), indicating the respect in which Prusias was minus rōbustum, "too weak."

dissidēbat ab eō Pergamēnus rēx Eumenēs, Rōmānīs amīcissimus: Eumenes II (197–159 BC), the king of Pergamon (Pergamēnus rēx) was a staunch ally of Rome (Rōmānīs amīcissimus; on the meaning of amīcitiā, see 2.4). After Antiochus’ defeat at Magnesia, the Romans granted Eumenes extensive territory in Asia Minor, bringing him into conflict with Prusias. [Map: Hellenistic Kingdoms, c. 188 BC]

ab eō: i.e., Prusias.

et marī et terrā: correlatively, "both…and..."; these ablatives of place are more commonly rendered as terrā marīque.

(3) utrobīque: adverb, "on both parts" or "on both sides," i.e., et marī et terrā.

quō: connective relative (AG §308f; 8.4, 9.1); "for this reason," i.e., propter Rōmānōrum societātem.

Hannibal: nominative subject of cupiēbat despite its position within the indirect statement (eum…opprimī). Roman authors often juxtapose names and pronouns.

quem: a connective relative; its antecedent is eum, i.e., Eumenes.

sī remōvisset: pluperfect subjunctive not because Hannibal’s assessment of the situation is incorrect but because the protasis appears in indirect speech. Nepos uses the subjunctive because Hannibal originally thought (arbitrābātur): "if I eliminate Eumenes (removerit, future perfect), everything else will be…" When Nepos reports the future perfect, removerit is rendered as the pluperfect subjunctive, remōvisset (AG §589).

ad hunc interficiendum: ad + gerundive, expressing purpose, "to kill him" (AG §506).

tālem iniit ratiōnem: "he devised the following plan."

(4) classe: ablative of means.

erant dēcrētūrī: future active periphrastic (AG §195) > decernō, "they were about to fight."

superābātur: subject is Hannibal; "he was surpassed by" → "he was inferior to," with an ablative of specification, (nāvium) multitūdine.

dolō erat pugnandum: the neuter indicates that this is the impersonal gerundive (AG §500.3).

cum pār nōn esset armīs: causal cum clause, "because...." armīs: ablative of specification.

quam plūrimās: "as many as possible" (quam + superlative), subject of the passive infinitives, colligī…que…conicī.

imperāvit: imperō is typically followed by ut + subjunctive; here, imperāvit introduces an indirect statement: [eōs] colligī…–queconicī.

in vāsa fīctilia: "into earthenware vessels"; vāsa is neuter plural. [Image: Cicak, Snakes on a Boat]

(5) hārum cum effēcisset magnam multitūdinem: circumstantial cum clause. effēcisset: pluperfect subjunctive in secondary sequence after historical presents, convocat and praecipit (AG §485e). hārum: i.e., venēnātās serpentēs vīvās.

diē ipsō: ablative of time when.

factūrus erat: compare to erant dēcrētūrī (10.4).

convocat...que...praecipit: historical presents to convey a sense of lively narrative (AG §469; see 4.3).

iīsque: dative with praecipit, introducing a substantive purpose clause, omnēs ut…concurrant…tantum…habeant sē dēfendere (AG §563, sometimes called a jussive noun clause).

omnēs ut...concurrant: the word order is unusual; again Nepos has positioned a word before the subordinating conjunction for emphasis.

in ūnam...nāvem: an example of hysterologia, or the insertion of words that interrupts the syntactic flow of the sentence; it emphasizes the order that everyone (omnēs) attack only Eumenes’ ship (ūnam...nāvem).

concurrant: present subjunctive depending on praecipit.

ā cēterīs: "against all the other nāvibus."

tantum satis habeant: "they should consider it enough to..." → "they should be satisfied to...." Because tantus conveys only the idea of relative greatness, it may also denote a small amount, "just enough."

id: the demonstrative refers to the sense of what came before, i.e., sē dēfendere by means of snakes.

illōs…cōnsecūtūrōs [esse]: depends on an implied verb of speaking (e.g., dīxit, 12.3), "Hannibal said that they would accomplish this...”; cōnsequor regularly has a sense of "follow up, overtake, attain" but here must mean "attain, accomplish"; cf. Nepos, Life of Themistocles 6.3, where Nepos observes that Athenians "attained universal glory" (tantam gloriam...erant consecuti) by their victories over the Persians.

(6) rēx: subject of veherētur in the indirect question introduced by the interrogative adjective quā; it has been displaced before its relative clause for additional emphasis.

ut [classiāriī] scīrent: result clause.

sē factūrum [esse]: depends on an implied verb of speaking, like illōs…consecūtūrōs (10.5).

magnō iīs pollicētur praemiō fore: a double dative construction dependent on pollicētur, "he promises that it will be a (source of) great reward for them" (AG §382). magnō…praemiō: dative of purpose with fore = futūrum esse); iīs: dative of reference with fore.

(1) cōnservō –āre: retain, maintain, preserve ※

illūdō –lūdere –lūsī –lūsum: deceive, mock, trick

Crētēnsis Crētēnse: Cretan ※

Prūsias –ae m.: Prusias (king of Bithynia) ※

Pontus –ī m.: Pontus (kingdom in northeastern Asia Minor)

ergā: towards, in relation to (+acc.) ※

armō –āre: arm, equip with weapons ※

(2) domesticus –a –um: personal, private, domestic

rōbustus –a –um: strong

conciliō –āre: unite, win over

adiungō –iungere –iūnxī –iūnctum: join to, connect, add ※

bellicōsus –a –um: warlike, fierce

nātiō nātiōnis f.: people, nation, race ※

dissideō –sidēre –sēdī –sessum: disagree, quarrel

Pergamēnus –a –um: of Pergamum (a kingdom in Asia Minor) ※

Eumenēs Eumenis m.: Eumenes (II, king of Pergamum in Asia Minor) ※

(3) utrobīque: on both sides

societās societātis f.: alliance

opprimō –primere –pressī –pressum: crush, overpower ※

removeō –movēre –mōvī –mōtum: remove, dismiss ※

ineō –īre –iī –itum: go into, begin, undertake

(4) venēnō –āre: poison

serpēns serpentis f.: snake ※

vīvus –a –um: alive, living ※

vāsum –ī n.: vase, container ※

fīctilis fīctile: made of clay, earthen ※

coniciō –icere –iēcī –iectum: cast, fling, toss ※

(5) nāvālis nāvāle: naval

classiārius –ī m.: mariner; (pl.) naval forces, marines

convocō –āre: call together, assemble

concurrō –currere –currī –cursum: join battle with

(6) polliceor –licērī –licitus sum: promise

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Suggested Citation

Bret Mulligan, Nepos: Life of Hannibal. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-947822-01-6. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/index.php/nepos-hannibal/chapter-10