Chapter 7

(1) Cum in apparandō ācerrimē esset occupātus, Karthāginiēnsēs bellum cum Rōmānīs composuērunt. Ille nihilō sētius exercituī posteā praefuit rēsque in Āfricā gessit ūsque ad P. Sulpicium C. Aurēlium cōnsulēs.

(2) Hīs enim magistrātibus lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs Rōmam vēnērunt, quī senātuī populōque Rōmānō grātiās agerent, quod cum iīs pācem fēcissent, ob eamque rem corōnā aureā eōs dōnārent, simulque peterent ut obsidēs eōrum Fregellīs essent captīvīque redderentur.

(3) Hīs ex senātūs cōnsultō respōnsum est: mūnus eōrum grātum acceptumque esse; obsidēs, quō locō rogārent, futūrōs; captīvōs nōn remissūrōs, quod Hannibalem, cuius operā susceptum bellum foret, inimīcissimum nōminī Rōmānō, etiam nunc cum imperiō apud exercitum habērent itemque frātrem ēius Māgōnem.

(4) Hōc respōnsō Karthāginiēnsēs cognitō, Hannibalem domum et Māgōnem revocārunt. Hūc ut rediit, rēx factus est, postquam praetor fuerat annō secundō et vīcēsimō. Ut enim Rōmae cōnsulēs, sīc Karthāgine quotannīs annuī bīnī rēgēs creābantur.

(5) In eō magistrātū parī dīligentiā sē Hannibal praebuit, ac fuerat in bellō. Namque effēcit, ex novīs vectīgālibus nōn sōlum ut esset pecūnia, quae Rōmānīs ex foedere penderētur, sed etiam superesset, quae in aerāriō repōnerētur.

(6) Deinde M. Claudiō L. Fūriō cōnsulibus, Rōmā lēgātī Karthāginem vēnērunt. Hōs Hannibal ratus suī exposcendī grātiā missōs, priusquam iīs senātus darētur, nāvem ascendit clam atque in Syriam ad Antiochum perfūgit.

(7) hāc rē palam factā Poenī nāvēs duās, quae eum comprehenderent, sī possent cōnsequī, mīsērunt, bona ēius pūblicārunt, domum ā fundāmentīs disiēcērunt, ipsum exsulem iūdicārunt.

Peace between Rome and Carthage. For a time Hannibal continues to fight, but then is elected to political office (1–4). Carthage begins a rapid recovery after Hannibal institutes a series of political and economic reforms (5). Hannibal is forced into exile (6). Carthage fails to arrest Hannibal. He is declared an outlaw (7).

(1) in apparandō [bellum]: gerund (AG §502), "in preparing [war]."

ācerrimē occupātus: "most actively engaged." Note how Nepos maintains the distinction between Hannibal and the Carthaginians.

bellum…composuērunt: an idiom, “to make a temporary truce” (6.4). The terms of the peace treaty were harsh. Carthage agreed to abandon all claims to territory outside of Africa, to pay a yearly indemnity of 200 talents for 50 years (a total of almost 260 tons of silver), to reduce its navy to ten warships (Scipio burned over 500 ships outside of Carthage’s harbor in a spectacular demonstration of Rome’s victory), and never to make war without Rome’s permission. It was the violation of this last term, under duress, that precipitated the Third Punic War (149–146 BC) and the destruction of Carthage.

Ille: i.e., Hannibal, subject of praefuit and gessit.

sētius: comparative of secus, "otherwise, differently"; usually with a negative (nihilō): "not at all differently" → "as if nothing happened." Hannibal retained command of the Carthaginian army, which continued to support him. Perhaps Carthage feared a reprise of the devastating "Mercenary War" if they moved against Hannibal.

nihilō: ablative of degree of difference.

praefuit: > praesum + dative, exercituī.

rēsque in Āfricā gessit: i.e., in Āfricā pugnāvit (8.4).

ūsque ad P. Sulpicium C. Aurēlium cōnsulēs: "even until the consulship of…"; i.e., in 200 BC. Rome subsequently demanded that Carthage recall all military commanders from Italy and adhere to the terms of the peace treaty. Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus was consul in 211 BC, when he defended Rome from a surprise attack by Hannibal. He led the first Roman fleet into the Aegean and captured Aegina in 210 BC. Dictator in 203, he was the last Roman to hold this position until Sulla in 82/81 BC. In 200, he commanded Roman forces in the Second Macedonian War. Gaius Aurelius Cotta was sent to reinforce the garrison at Ariminium after several Gallic tribes allied with Carthage sacked the town of Placentia in northern Italy and threatened Cremona.

(2) This complex sentence is manageable if read in sequence with careful attention to the parallel sequence of its clauses. Nepos begins with an ablative absolute that conveys the context (a) in which the main action occurs (b). He then explains why the Carthaginians undertook that action (c–h). [color-coded schematic of sentence structure]

(a) hīs enim magistrātibus, ablative absolute
(b) lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs Rōmam vēnērunt main clause
(c) quī senātuī populōque Rōmānō grātiās agerent, relative clause of purpose #1
(d) quod cum iīs pācem fēcissent, causal clause
(e) ob eamque rem corōnā aureā eōs dōnārent, relative clause of purpose #2
(f) simulque peterent relative clause of purpose #3
(g) ut obsidēs eōrum Fregellīs essent substantive purpose clause #1
(h) captīvīque redderentur. substantive purpose clause #2

Nepos, as he did in the long sentence in 2.2, uses the enclitic –que to signal the connections between parallel elements: –que in (e) and (f) link those clauses to the series of relative clauses of purpose that begins in (c); the –que in (h) links the two substantive purpose clauses in (g) and (h) that are introduced by peterent in (f). 

(a) hīs enim magistrātibus: ablative absolute, referring to the consuls of 200 BC mentioned in 6.1. Since Latin lacks the present or perfect participle of esse, an ablative absolute can consist of a noun and adjective or two nouns in the ablative, as here (AG §419a; similar constructions can be found in 2.3 and 12.2).

(b) Rōmam: accusative of place towards which.

(c) quī senātuī populōque Rōmānō grātiās agerent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, agerent, expressing the reason why the legātī Karthāginiēnsēs Rōmam vēnērunt (AG §531).

senātuī populōque Rōmānō: datives with the idiom, grātiās agerent, "gave thanks." Nepos' use of senātus populusque Rōmānus is anachronistic, since the Romans only began to use the phrase to refer to their state in the early first century BC.

(d) quod cum iīs pācem fēcissent: causal quod clause (AG §540).

cum iīs: i.e., the Carthaginians.

fēcissent: pluperfect subjunctive after quod, because it is part of what the Carthaginian delegates said to the Romans (i.e., "O Romans, we thank you for having made peace").

(e) ob eamque rem corōnā aureā eōs dōnārent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, dōnārent. Because ob eamque rem is equivalent to quam ob rem, the phrase can introduce a relative clause of purpose despite the absence of an explicit relative pronoun.

ob eamque rem: preposition + accusatives, referring to the making of peace in the preceding clause; –que links the entire clause to the relative clause of purpose (c).

eōs: i.e., the Romans.

dōnārent: governing the accusative, eōs, + ablative of item given, corōnā aureā. [image: golden crown]

(f) simulque peterent: relative clause of purpose with a subjunctive, introducing a clause that indicates what the lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs peterent.

(g) ut obsidēs eōrum Fregellīs essent: substantive purpose clause (AG §563), dependent on peterent.

eōrum: i.e., the Carthaginians; the reflexive pronoun suī would be more regular. Those signing a treaty often sent or exchanged hostages (obsidēs), whose lives would be forfeit if the treaty were broken.

Fregellīs: locative; the town of Fregellae, about halfway between Rome and Capua on the Via Latina, remained loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War.

(h) captīvīque redderentur: another substantive purpose clause, dependent on peterent. captīvī: i.e., the Carthaginians captured during the Second Punic War.

(3) hīs: i.e., lēgātī Karthāginiēnsēs.

ex senātūs cōnsultō: a senātūs cōnsultum is a formal decree of the senate.

respōnsum est: impersonal (note the neuter ending), "this was the response." It introduces three indirect statements:

a) mūnus + acceptumque esse

b) obsidēs + futūrōs [esse]

c) captīvōs + nōn remissūrōs [esse]

quō locō rogārent and cuius operā susceptum bellum foret and quod Hannibalem…habērent: subjunctives because they appear in subordinate clauses in indirect discourse (AG §580); rogārent and haberent are imperfect, indicating action contemporary with the past tense main verb, respōnsum est (AG §483); susceptum foret (= susceptum esset) is pluperfect, indicating action prior to the main verb.

quō locō: ablative of place.

quod Hannibalem…habērent: explains why the Romans will not release their prisoners of war (captīvōs).

Hannibalem: object of habērent, here in the sense of "use", whose plural subject must be Karthāginiēnsēs

cuius operā: "by whose efforts"; the Carthaginians had been attempting to disassociate themselves from Hannibal but the Romans remind them that they share responsibility for his actions.

inimīcissimum nōminī Rōmānō: inimīcus is used to describe someone with an active hatred of someone or something, "full of hate, hateful, hostile, unfriendly" (+ dative), rather than "hated"; therefore inimīcissimum must modify Hannibalem, rather than bellumnōminī Rōmānō: “to whatever is called Roman,” i.e., Roman dominion, nation, power.

itemque: "likewise, further"; itemque introduces an additional point of information.

(4) hōc respōnsō Karthāginiēnsēs cognitō: ablative absolute. Karthāginiēnsēs, the subject of revocārunt, is positioned within the ablative absolute to signal that it was the Carthaginians who understood the response of the Roman delegation.

revocā(vē)runt: syncopated perfect (AG §181).

domum: accusative of place to which, without a preposition (AG §427).

ut rediit: ut + indicative is strictly temporal, "when."

rēx: the Carthaginian title was suffes, or "judge." Two suffetes were elected annually to serve as the chief civilian officers of the Carthaginian government. They were akin to the Roman consuls, as Nepos explains in the next sentence. Hannibal was elected to this office in 196 BC.

annō secundō et vīcēsimō: ablative of time when. Hannibal had been general for 22 years.

ut enim Rōmae cōnsulēs, sīc Karthāgine: ut…sīc: correlatives, "(just) as…so..." (AG §323g). Rōmae and Karthāgine are locative.

quotannīs: adverb, "every year."

annuī: "annual," i.e. "for the duration of one year."

bīnī rēgēs: "two kings at a time, a pair of kings."

creābantur: creō, –āre is the technical term for electing public officials.

(5) parī…ac: adjectives and adverbs of likeness (such as parī) are often followed by ac, "as, just so" (AG §384 n. 2).

parī dīligentiā: ablative of quality (AG §415).

namque: the conjunction indicates that this sentence will justify or explain the preceding statement.

ex novīs vectīgālibus: ablative of source (AG §403). Nepos uses a common stylistic device of having the preposition (ex) repeat the prefix of the verb (ef–fēcit > ec > ex). Hannibal in fact avoided the imposition of new taxes by reducing waste and embezzlement. Understand as "by means of a reformed [system of] taxation."

nōn sōlum ut esset pecūnia…sed etiam superesset: correlatives, "not only…but also..." (6.4), establishing the parallel between the two result clauses with the subjunctive.

quae Rōmānīs ex foedere penderētur: relative clause of purpose (AG §540c); the antecedent is pecūnia. ex foedere: "in accordance with the treaty."

superesset: "there would remain" → "there would be a surplus (of money)"; the subject is pecūnia.

quae in aerāriō repōnerētur: relative clause of purpose (AG §540c).

(6) M. Claudiō L. Fūriō cōnsulibus: i.e., in 196 BC.

Rōmā: ablative of place from which (AG §427.1).

Karthāginem: accusative of place towards which (3.1).

hōs: i.e., legātōs Rōmānōs; note how the demonstrative appears first in the sentence, signaling how this sentence relates to the last.

ratus: > reor; the perfect participles of many deponent verbs are equivalent to English present active participles: "suspecting that…."

suī exposcendī grātiā: grātiā ("for the sake of") with a preceding genitive, suī exposcendī (AG §504b); exposcendī is a gerundive agreeing with the reflexive personal pronoun suī. When the gerund appears in a construction in which it would take an accusative—e.g. sē exposcendī grātiā, "for the sake of demanding him (Hannibal)"—Roman authors preferred using a gerundive (AG §503). Hoping to engineer Hannibal’s ouster, Hannibal’s domestic enemies had appealed to Rome indicating that the general had forged a secret alliance with Antiochus III. In Rome, Scipio Africanus deemed it beneath the dignity of the Roman people to entertain the scurrilous attack. His advice was not heeded and Rome began to move against Hannibal.

missōs [esse]: perfect passive participle agreeing with hōs in an indirect statement dependent on ratus.

priusquam iīs senātus darētur: darētur is subjunctive because it contains a logical connection to the main action of the sentence, nāvem ascendit (11.1).

senātus darētur: senātus dare is an idiom, "to give an audience to" + dative (iīs); senātus: the Carthaginian council of 300 aristocrats; Nepos continues to use the analogous Roman terms.

ad Antiochum: masculine, therefore King Antiochus III of the Seleucid Kingdom (see above 2.1) not the city of AntiochAntiochia, –ae f.

(7) hāc rē palam factā: ablative absolute, "when this (Hannibal’s flight) became known." Hannibal first fled to his personal fortress to the south of Carthage. He then sailed to the nearby Cercina Islands. There, he narrowly evaded arrest by the sailors of a Carthaginian ship by claiming he was on a diplomatic mission to Tyre. Hannibal invited the sailors to a banquet, requesting that they bring their sails as awnings against the scorching sun. While the sailors slept, Hannibal stole their sails and weighed anchor, sailing to Tyre, and from there to the court of Antiochus.

Poenī: i.e., Karthāginiēnsēs.

quae eum comprehenderent: relative clause of purpose expressing why the Poenī nāvēs mīsērunt (AG §531).

sī possent cōnsequī: Nepos wrote the subjunctive possent because its clause represents an action that is integral to the subjunctive clause on which it depends: the ships could not arrest Hannibal if they did not catch him first (AG §593).

bona ēius pūblicā(vē)runt: syncopated perfect (AG §181), as is iūdicā()runt. bona: in the plural, bonus can refer to "property," as in the English "goods."

domum ā fundāmentīs disiēcērunt: a common penalty inflicted on exiles, fallen tyrants, and other public enemies in antiquity. Clodius razed Cicero’s house when he was exiled in 58 BC.

(1) apparō –āre: prepare

sētius: less, in a lesser degree

praesum –esse –fuī: preside or take charge of (+dat.) ※

Sulpicius –ī m.: Sulpicius ※

Aurēlius –ī m.: Aurelius

(2) magistrātus magistrātūs m.: magistrate, elected official ※

quod: because ※

corōna –ae f.: crown

obses obsidis m./f.: hostages ※

Fregellae –ārum f.: Fregellae (town in Latium, near Rome)

captīvus –ī m.: captive, prisoner (of war) ※

(3) cōnsultum –ī n.: decree, resolution

respōnsum –ī n.: response, reply ※

remittō –mittere –mīsī –missum: send back

Māgo Māgōnis m.: Mago (brother of Hannibal) ※

(4) vīcēsimus –a –um: twentieth

quotannīs: every year

annuus –a –um: for a year, annual

bīnī –ae –a: in pairs

(5) dīligentia –ae f.: care, diligence

vectīgal vectīgālis n.: tax, levy

foedus foederis n.: treaty

aerārius –a –um: of or belonging to copper or bronze; aerarium -i n.: treasury

repōnō –pōnere –posuī –positum: place, deposit

(6) Fūrius –ī m.: Furius

exposcō –poscere –poposcī: demand

clam: secretly

Syria –ae f.: Syria ※

perfugiō –fugere –fūgī: flee

(7) palam: openly ※

Poenus –ī m.: Phoenician, Carthaginian ※

comprehendō –prehendere –prehendī –prehensum: seize, apprehend ※

pūblicō –āre: confiscate

fundāmentum –ī n.: foundation

disiciō –icere –iēcī –iectum: destroy, scatter

exsul exsulis m./f.: exile

Text Read Aloud
Maps and Images
Article Nav

Suggested Citation

Bret Mulligan, Nepos: Life of Hannibal. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-947822-01-6.