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Scipio Africanus

Scipio Africanus

5.0 7
by B. H. Liddell Hart, Michael Grant (Foreword by), Basil Henry Liddell Hart

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Scipio Africanus (236–183 B.C.) was one of the most exciting and dynamic leaders in history. As commander he never lost a battle. Yet it is his adversary, Hannibal, who has lived on in the public memory, due mostly to his daring march through the Alps with his elephants. At the Battle of the Ticinus, Hannibal's initial encounter with Roman arms, young


Scipio Africanus (236–183 B.C.) was one of the most exciting and dynamic leaders in history. As commander he never lost a battle. Yet it is his adversary, Hannibal, who has lived on in the public memory, due mostly to his daring march through the Alps with his elephants. At the Battle of the Ticinus, Hannibal's initial encounter with Roman arms, young Scipio first tasted warfare, rescuing his dangerously wounded, encircled father, who was also the Roman commander. By nineteen Scipio was the equivalent of a staff colonel and in 210 B.C. he was placed in supreme command. In three years he destroyed Carthaginian power in Spain and, after being made consul, took his forces to Africa, where he conquered Carthage's great ally, Syphax. Two years later he clashed with Hannibal himself, annihilating his army in the decisive Battle of Zama. For this triumph and his other exploits in the Punic Wars, Scipio was awarded the title Africanus.In his fascinating portrait of this extraordinary commander, B. H. Liddell Hart writes, ”The age of generalship does not age, and it is because Scipio's battles are richer in stratagems and ruses—many still feasible today—than those of any other commander in history that they are an unfailing object lesson.” Not only military enthusiasts and historians but all those interested in outstanding men will find this magnificent study absorbing and gripping.

Editorial Reviews

Reprint of the great military historian's original of 1926--under the title Greater Than Napoleon--with a new foreword by Michael Grant. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Da Capo Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Da Capo Press ed
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Captain Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1895–1970) was one of the foremost military theorists of our time. His many books include Scipio Africanus, Lawrence of Arabia, The Rommel Papers, and Sherman (all available from Da Capo Press/ Perseus Books Group).

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Scipio Africanus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
CrazyLegs More than 1 year ago
Liddel Hart does a great job highlighting the impact Scipio has on the Punic Wars vs. Hannibal. Hart's goal is to show you that Scipio was as great of a military leader, statesman, and person as Caesar, Napolean, and Alexander (among others). Not much information is available to get into detail on his early life, but Hart does well in detailing each of Scipio's military ventures in layman's terms. If you are a military history buff or avid reader of Ancient Rome, this bio on Scipio is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have two favorite historuian, Theodore Dodge and Phillip Freemsn. The former focuses on military aspects of the generals biographis he writes, Phillip Focuses more on the person the the percision of battlefield tactics They both wrote books on the very same three generals, Hannibal, Juliu Caeser And Alaxander The Great THIS Aurthor Hart, is in between both of these aurthor.in his style, but he writes of th captain the other two ommit when Scipio Rivaled them all Scipio by my two favorite authors is only mentioned as having defeated hannibal at Zama. But Scipio did much more that may not only rival hannibal but exceed him I heard reading Theodore Dodge than some put scipio on par o greater than Hannibal. But Scipio was in his early twenties with the bare minum of troops the sente could offer, and made a feint march then changed his direction and stormed the enemy base. Then, highly outnumbered, he defeated carthaginians army after army. Then when he marched on africa, Scipio was even more highly outnumdered split his army into a bulk and then a small group, and simultaniously attacked both carthaginian camps by storm when this idea was unheard of, With the defensse of a fort with romans in gaul they heald off ten times their number behind there walls, scipio was a madman with the gods on his side. After reading the three great captains i mentioned earlier, I cannot belive I have never heard of scipio, his use of ambushes, encircling an army with his force whil infantry engaged then taking by the rear. Waiting for the tides to be right so legionaires could mount ladders to new carthage (the enemy base) and take them from where they though was imposiible to attack. I have given you a brief overview and have not gotten into the very details of his ingenious tactics and strategy, I you want to know the True story of Scipio and Hannibal at Zama and what brought scipio to that point You will have to read the masterpiece this author has written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, I loved this book. In reading it, one can clearly see that Scipio is a high caliber general and an honorable man. It is an easy and relaxing read. However, after reading the last chapter I was misled into believing that Scipio is far greater than Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar. Scipio is made to seem faultless. Scipio made clear mistakes. Although he decisively defeated Hasdrubal Barca at Baecula, he allowed Hasdrubal to escape and cross the Alps. The whole reason of having an army in Spain was for the purpose of keeping a second ¿Hannibal¿ out of Italy. Had Hasbrubal met with Hannibal, Rome surely would have suffered a second string of defeats, which may have destroyed her. Scipio also missed a key opportunity to take a defenseless Carthage, but he instead took Utica. Despite these errors, Scipio still proved to be an excellent tactician and a good strategist, as his enhancement of the Roman horse proved. Hannibal is underrated and misjudged by Liddell-Hart. Hannibal faced incredible odds. The first of which, he never had any infantry to match the Roman foot soldier. These were the best trained and disciplined of their day. Hannibal had to rely on mercenaries, which are not as dependable. Hannibal is criticized for not marching on Rome. After Cannae, Hannibal had around 40,000 men with no siege equipment or engineers. The garrison of Rome alone had alone 40,000 men. Rome also had additional armies to call up. A siege of Rome would have would have sharply ended the war in Rome¿s favor. Instead, Hannibal, with his depleted army, remained the scourge of Roman armies for another twelve years! He had a severe lack of support at home, while the Romans heavily outnumbered him. His failure at Zama was inevitable. The majority of his troops were green, the depletion of his once invincible cavalry, the might of the Roman foot soldier, and the foresight of Scipio bought about this defeat. Quickly now, Alexander! The armies of Darius were not barbarian hordes. The Greeks/ Macedonians called anyone who wasn¿t Greek a barbarian. These armies were well organized with some of the best cavalry known even after Alexander¿s battles. Alexander defeated the Persians with excellent tactics and strategy. The accusation about rejecting Parmenio¿s plan for a night attack is foolish. That very night Darius had prepared for one. Alexander faced tough enemies with brilliance. The battle of Hydaspes clearly shows this. With 14,000 men Alexander crushed Porus¿s veteran army of 50,000. Still, Alexander made mistakes as well, mainly in a few marches. In the end, this book is excellent, but the last chapter generalizes the flaws of other generals into giant black marks. If you read this book, read on and be objective. Still, I believe that in the end that Scipio should not be among the ¿greats¿. He did not fight enough battles or campaigns for this to happen. He was brilliant and a man to be admired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One the greatest military biographies of all time, B.H. Liddell Hart's Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon stands as a testament to the noblest strategist Rome ever produced. Scipio's consecutive victories over some of the greatest generals of the ancient world (Mago, Hasdrubal, and Hannibal) are usually reduced to a blurb when most historians describe the 2nd Punic War. More often than not, Scipio's name is never even mentioned. The description generally simply reads: 'Hannibal beaten back by Roman forces.' However, the man directly responsible for saving Roma is robbed of his prestigious honors because he never fell prey to the despotic tendencies that lesser victories roused in other Roman commanders (Caesar for instance.) Here is a great captain who never lost a single battle; a great captain who won more with supreme strategy than the likes of Caesar ever won with vanity and tyranny. Hart's well balanced biography of Scipio Africanus truly brings the former's place in history to light. It is a well-paced, economically written account of the first (and possibly only) great general in service of a republic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly enjoyable book. Very comprehensive in terms of describing the tactics and reasonings of scipio, as well as his diplomatic strategies. For anyone who has never heard or heard very little of scipio africanus and is questioning the title, the author gives a very convincing argument; in essence, 'It's not how much you win, but who you win against.' Truly a brilliant tactician and an adept diplomat, I'm glad the story of the man who beat hannibal could be told. Highly recommened for anyone interested in roman or military history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good read