Chapter 8

(1) At Hannibal annō tertiō, postquam domō profūgerat, L. Cornēliō Q. Minuciō cōnsulibus, cum quīnque nāvibus Āfricam accessit in fīnibus Cȳrēnaeōrum, sī forte Karthāginiēnsēs ad bellum Antiochī spē fīdūciāque indūcere posset, cui iam persuāserat, ut cum exercitibus in Italiam proficīscerētur. Hūc Māgōnem frātrem excīvit.

(2) Id ubi Poenī rēscīvērunt, Māgōnem eādem, quā frātrem, absentem affēcērunt poenā. Illī, dēspērātīs rēbus, cum solvissent nāvēs ac vēla ventīs dedissent, Hannibal ad Antiochum pervēnit. Dē Māgōnis interitū duplex memoria prōdita est. Namque aliī naufragiō, aliī ā servulīs ipsīus interfectum eum scrīptum relīquērunt.

(3) Antiochus autem, sī tam in agendō bellō cōnsiliīs ēius pārēre voluisset, quam in suscipiendō īnstituerat, propius Tiberī quam Thermopylīs dē summā imperiī dīmicāsset. Quem etsī multa stultē cōnārī vidēbat, tamen nūllā dēseruit in rē.

(4) Praefuit paucīs nāvibus, quās ex Syriā iūssus erat in Āsiam dūcere, iīsque adversus Rhodiōrum classem in Pamphȳliō marī cōnflīxit. Quō cum multitūdine adversāriōrum suī superārentur, ipse, quō cornū rem gessit, fuit superior.

    Hannibal renews his attempts to rally Carthage against Rome (1). The Death of Mago (2). Nepos condemns Antiochus for ignoring Hannibal's advice (3). The navy of Rhodes defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Eurymedon, 190 BC (4).

    (1) At Hannibal...arcessit...: This long sentence is intelligible if read in sequence with careful attention to how each clause builds on the last. Nepos begins with the subject and then specifies the time of the action (using three different temporal clauses) before revealing the action and the purpose for that action. [color-coded schematic of sentence structure]

    L. Cornēliō Q. Minuciō cōnsulibus: i.e., in 193 BC; Lucius Cornelius Merula and Quintus Minucius Thermus were fighting Gallic tribes in northern Italy.

    in fīnibus Cȳrēnaeōrum: Cyrene was a province of Ptolemaic Egypt, to the east of Carthage’s territory in North Africa.

    sī forte...posset: an indirect question dependent on an implied verb of inquiry (AG §576a), "Hannibal...landed in Africa [to see] whether/if perhaps he could...."

    spē fīdūciāque: ablatives of cause, "because of their hope and confidence in Antiochus" (Antiochī, objective genitive).

    cui iam persuāserat: the antecedent of cui is Antiochī; Nepos told the story of how Hannibal convinced Antiochus to attack the Romans in 2.1–2.3. Hannibal did not, however, succeed in convincing the king to send an army to Italy.

    ut…proficīscerētur: substantive purpose clause (AG §563), with Antiochus as its subject; the sudden switching of subjects within a complex sentence is typical of Latin. Here, since Hannibal must persuade someone else (i.e., Antiochus), the new subject is understood.

    hūc: i.e., in fīnibus Cȳrēnaeōrum.

    (2) Māgōnem eādem, quā frātrem, absentem affēcērunt poenā: note the separation of nouns from their adjectives, eādem…poenā and Māgōnem…absentem.

    poenā: ablative of price, which is used to indicate an indefinite penalty or the exact amount of a fine (AG §416).

    illī: i.e., Hannibal and Mago.

    dēspērātīs rēbus: ablative absolute, with causal sense.

    cum solvissent nāvēs ac vēla ventīs dedissent: circumstantial cum clause describing actions that precede the action of the main verb, pervēnit (AG §546). solvissent nāvēs: "release the ships" → "weigh anchor." This sentence provides a good illustration of the factors that a Roman author weighed when determining the order of words in a sentence. The subordinating conjunction cum would naturally come at the start of the sentence. But because the action of the ablative absolute, dēspērātīs rēbus, must precede that of the cum clause—the situation must be hopeless before Hannibal and Mago decide to flee—Nepos places the ablative absolute before cum. Because Nepos likes to begin sentences with connectives and demonstratives, illī, although it is part of the cum clause, appears first, followed by the ablative absolute, and then the rest of the cum clause.

    duplex memoria: "double memory"; i.e., there were two accounts of Mago's death.

    aliī…aliī: a correlative construction, "some…others...."

    ā servulīs: ablative of personal agent. Other sources indicate that Mago was wounded while fighting the Romans in Cisalpine Gaul and died of his wounds en route to Carthage in 203 BC.

    scrīptum relīquērunt: literally, "leave behind a written record"—compare the English expression "leave a paper trail"—a common periphrasis equivalent to scrīpsērunt (13.1), introducing an indirect statement with eum as its accusative subject and the infinitive, interfectum [esse].

    (3) tam…pārēre voluisset, quam…īnstituerat: tam and quam are correlatives (AG §323; 9.4) in the protasis of a past contrary to fact conditional.

    in agendō bellō: gerundive, see note on 7.6.

    pārēre: takes the dative, cōnsiliīs.

    voluisset: subjunctive in the protasis of a past contrary to fact conditional, "if he had been willing (but he was not)" (9.1).

    in suscipiendō [bellō]: gerundive, parallel with in agendō bellō.

    īnstituerat: pluperfect indicative because Antiochus had in fact appointed Hannibal to lead the campaign.

    propius Tiberī quam Thermopylīs: propius can take the dative (Tiberī, Thermopylīs), although the accusative is more common. Antiochus was defeated by the Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC and compelled to withdraw to Asia.

    dē summā imperiī: “for world domination”; summā imperiī usually refers to supreme military command (3.1), but can, as here, refer to geopolitical supremacy between states. This phrase was common in prose writers of the late Republic and early Empire. In Caesar, summā imperiī always refers to supreme military command, as it does all but one instance in Livy. But Velleius Paterculus speaks of geopolitical supremacy (summa imperiī) passing ad populum Rōmānum after they defeat Macedon and Carthage (1.6.6). Nepos likewise speaks of Athenians wresting control of the seas (summa imperiī maritimī) from the Spartans in his Life of Aristides (2.2).

    quem: connective relative; its antecedent is Antiochus; it serves as the accusative subject of the deponent infinitive, cōnārī.

    vidēbat: Hannibal is the subject.

    nūllā…in rē: nūllā is separated from its noun and preposition, in rē, for emphasis.

    (4) praefuit: > praesum + dative, paucīs nāvibus (7.1, 8.4).

    iīsque [nāvibus]: ablative of means.

    in Āsiam: i.e., Asia Minor (i.e., roughly modern day Turkey).

    adversus: preposition + accusative, classem (Rhodiōrum). Rhodes was a powerful Greek state, known for its superior navy.

    in Pamphȳliō marī: Pamphylia is a region between Lycia and Cilicia in southwest Asia Minor. The naval battle was fought near Eurymedon in 190 BC.

    quō: connective relative, referring to the battle mentioned in the previous sentence.

    cum multitūdine adversāriōrum suī superārentur: concessive cum clause (AG §549).

    suī: nominative plural, "his (Hannibal’s) troops"; a common idiom.

    quō cornū: locative ablative, "on the flank [i.e., the section of the battle line] where."

    (1) profugiō –fugere –fūgī: flee

    quīnque: five ※

    Cȳrēnaeus –ī m.: inhabitant of Cyrene (a city in north Africa)

    fīdūcia –ae f.: trust, confidence

    indūcō –dūcere –dūxī –ductum: lead in, entice ※

    persuādeō –suādēre –suāsī –suāsum: persuade

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

    exciō –īre –īvī –itum: dispatch, call, incite

    (2) rēscīscō –scīscere –scīvī –scītum: find out, get to know

    absēns absentis: absent ※

    dēspērō –āre: be hopeless, give up

    vēlum –ī n.: sail

    interitus interitūs m.: ruin, destruction

    duplex duplicis: double

    naufragium –ī n.: shipwreck

    servulus –ī m.: young slave

    (3) Tiberis Tiberis m./f.: Tiber River

    Thermopylae –ārum f.: Thermopylae

    summa –ae f.: top, summit ※

    dīmicō –āre –āvī/uī –ātus: fight

    etsī: although ※

    stultus –a –um: foolish

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

    Āsia –ae f.: Asia ※

    Rhodius –a –um: of Rhodes (island in eastern Mediterranean) ※

    Pamphȳlius –a –um: of Pamphylia (region in southern Asia Minor)

    cōnflīgo –flīgere –flīxī –flictus: clash, fight ※

    adversārius –a –um: opposite, hostile, contrary ※

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    Suggested Citation

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