Scipio Africanus the Younger was born in 185 CE. His full name is: Publius Cornelius Scipio Emilian African Younger (Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor). He became famous as the ultimate vanquisher of Carthage in the Third Punic War. A spokesman for old Roman ideals, a supporter of Hellenistic culture, a stoic and an excellent speaker at the same time.
He was the second son of Lucius Aemilius Paulus who was a victorious commander from under Pydna (168 BCE), and his first wife Papiria. He was adopted by the son of Scipio the African Elder. As a seventeen-year-old boy, he fought alongside his father in the Battle of Pydna. His wife was Sempronia, sister of Tiberius and Gaius Gracch.
In 151 BCE, at the age of 34, he fought in Spain as a military tribune. After Rome declared war, he came to Africa as an officer in 149 BCE. There he deserved the consul in 147 BCE. The Third Punic War had lasted for the third year. Appian of Alexandria in “Roman History” described the Carthaginians’ preparations for war:
Quickly all minds were filled with courage from this transformation. All the sacred places, the temples, and every other unoccupied space, were turned into workshops, where men and women worked together day and night without pause, taking their food by turns on a fixed schedule. Each day they made 100 shields, 300 swords, 1,000 missiles for catapults, 500 darts and javelins, and as many catapults as they could. For strings to bend them the women cut off their hair for want of other fibers.
– Appian of Alexandria, Roman history, XIX.93
Scipio the Younger immediately started to act vigorously. A brilliant attack in 146 BCE rushed into the city and took it. Scipio wanted to keep Carthage, but at the request of the senate, he demolished the city for example for other enemies. This ended the 4-year period of the 3rd Punic War. After returning to Rome, he triumphed and was nicknamed “Africanus”. In 134 BCE he became a consul again. In the same year, he went to Spain as a commander in the war against Numacea. He won it in 133 BCE. In the same year, he triumphed in Rome and received another nickname “Numantibus”.
In 142 BCE became a censor. He was a lover and patron of Greek culture and philosophy. He was friends with Terentius, the poet Lucilius, the historian Polybius and the philosopher Panaitios were around him. Together with other prominent figures of Rome, he created the circle of Scipio.
In 129 BCE he lost support because he opposed the agrarian reforms of Tiberius Gracchus.
He died suddenly in 129 BCE, and his death remains unexplained, it is believed that he was murdered by supporters of the Gracchi.
Scipio was an opponent of the agricultural reforms of the Grakch brothers, consisting in granting plots of agricultural land to the commoners. Like his foster father, he was a supporter and promoter of Greek culture. The Carthaginian state, reborn after the Second Punic War, disappeared from the maps, opening the way for further Roman expansion in Africa. His shares in Spain increased Roman ownership in the province. He was one of the founders of the later powerful Roman Empire.