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Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva

Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva

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UNC Opera brings Mozart to the Moon

As the culminating event of its Mozart on the Moon series, UNC Opera will perform "Scipio’s Dream" in Hill Hall’s Moeser Auditorium on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 3 p.m.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, UNC Opera is reimagining a classic.

As the culminating event of its Mozart on the Moon series, UNC Opera will perform “Scipio’s Dream” in Hill Hall’s Moeser Auditorium on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. Prior to these performances, UNC Opera will present a preview performance at 3:30 p.m. in Hill Hall 107 on NASA Day (Nov. 7) as part of University Research Week.

The original opera, “Il sogno di Scipione,” was written by Mozart with a libretto by Metastasio and is based on the essay, “The Dream of Scipio,” written by Cicero in 146 BCE. In Cicero’s story, Scipio Africanus, a Roman general, travels to Africa to meet an old friend of his grandfather, King Massinissa of Numidia. Their deep discussion of the differences between a monarchy and a republic inspires Scipio to have vivid dreams as he considers his future.

Though the story takes place in North Africa, Scipio’s journey throughout the plot occurs in a dream. UNC Opera director Marc Callahan uses this setting of a dream to put a unique spin on his group’s performance.

“We’re looking at the big ideas in this opera’s rather theoretical text and coming up with our own surrealist storylines to add a context that is unique to our students and our time – complimenting and reimagining the libretto. In a dream anything can happen,” Callahan said. “Much can be drawn from a title, and we are using this as license for infinite creative thinking for our design.”

In UNC Opera’s production, an all-female cast is featured even though not all of the character’s are female. In dreams, anyone can make an appearance and here we will see everything from astronauts to Mozart himself.

After all, anything can happen in a dream.

“Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva” is a painting depicting a scene from ancient Roman history by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

Collaboration with Ackland Art Museum

Callahan wanted his students to create some props, sets and costumes themselves.

So, through an Ackland Course Grant he won, his ensemble was able to spend three class periods in the Ackland Art Museum to learn about different topics in art history and brainstorm set ideas. The group received BeAm MakerSpace training, as well, allowing them to use the MakerSpaces on campus to produce objects for the performance.

“I had a lot of inspiration from television shows from the 1960s, like the Jetsons, and contemporary designers like those who work on Katy Perry’s music videos and on her concert tours,” Callahan said. “So, we’re looking at art that might be named ‘retro-futuristic.’ We’re looking very much back to the 1960s, the era of the space race and a dream of what the future might look like.”

UNC Opera held two preview performances of “Scipio’s Dream” at the Ackland on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.

Callahan coordinated the workshops and performances with Allison Lathrop, the museum’s head of public programs.

Lathrop, a 2011 graduate of the UNC Department of Music’s Ph.D. in musicology program, says it has been about 10 years since the last time UNC Opera performed at the Ackland.

She was a member of the group during its last performance at the museum.

“To be able to perform in front of a live audience, but without the full pressure … it was invaluable,” Lathrop said. “I got to get the nerves out and test the ideas that we’d been working on in our rehearsals. So, it’s really exciting to get to be able to do this again.”

Involvement in University Research Week

UNC Opera will also take part in University Research Week through its Mozart on the Moon series.

The ensemble will have its NASA Day Preview Performance for “Scipio’s Dream” on Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Hill Hall 107.

Robert Pleasants, associate director for student engagement in the Office for Undergraduate Research, is one of the primary organizers of University Research Week. Pleasants worked with the Department of Music to include UNC Opera in the week’s events.

“I think, unfortunately, a lot of times when students think of research, they think science,” Pleasants said. “They think STEM. They think laboratories … So, we were super pleased, in particular, that Mozart on the Moon was an opportunity to showcase the ways in which research can be used for things like performance.”

Students in UNC Opera are also excited to showcase in the week that raises awareness of the research done on campus.

“As artists, we are always trying to build upon or break away from traditions of the past, consciously, or subconsciously,” senior Melody Zhou said via email. “It’s always crucial to know the historical background of the composer, libretto, musical style, etc., and that’s done through research.”

The opera’s all-female cast, seen here in rehearsal, will use spaceman costumes, go-go boots, bright-colored wigs, disco balls and beach balls as part of the production. Photo by Samantha Yancey.

‘Scipio’s Dream’ exhibit

There will be artwork on display before UNC Opera’s performance of “Scipio’s Dream,” too.

A first-year seminar led by associate music professor Anne MacNeil, “Music on Stage and Screen,” will create an exhibit that will be displayed in Hill Hall’s rotunda prior to the showings on Nov. 16 and 17.

MacNeil gave her students the assignment to identify concepts in Cicero’s essay, “The Dream of Scipio.” Then, they had to sketch how the chosen concepts could be visualized.

“The third step in the process is to then take that design and make it into something 3-D — both 3-D and interactive — in a way that communicates to someone else the concept,” MacNeil said.

Her students also received trained MakerSpace training to be able to create their displays.

MacNeil said though she and her students are still discussing how to set up the exhibit, one side of the rotunda will likely represent fortune, while the other represents constancy. The pieces that represent the goddess Fortuna will show an Earth-centric view of the universe the ones that represent Constancy will represent a heliocentric view.

“One of our central focuses is not only explaining the concepts from Cicero’s text that are also in the opera,” MacNeil said, “but also introducing audience members to the story that they’re going to see in the opera.”

A production for opera lovers and newcomers alike

Callahan’s cast will use spaceman costumes, gogo boots, bright-colored wigs, disco balls, and beach balls as part of the production. Whereas traditional operas can be modest in the aesthetic of their sets and costumes, “Scipio’s Dream” is the opposite.

“We’re working with idea constancy as a hangover from the 1950s and 1960s, versus the cultural and risk-taking events of 1969,” Callahan said. “An exciting time for fortune and the next frontier.”

Regardless of if you’re an opera connoisseur or someone new to the art form, “Scipio’s Dream” has something that will grab your attention.

‘Mr. North Carolina’ closes the book after a 40-year career

Bob Anthony, curator of the North Carolina Collection, retired after 40 years of leadership, service and treating “everyone — co-workers, students, visitors — with empathy and tireless dedication.”

The other side of the podium

Music students in conducting classes gain valuable insight into this communicative art while improving their skills as musicians.

All too human

PlayMakers Repertory Company produced its 45th season virtually and with the theme “All Too Human,” which gave artists the opportunity to tap into their creativity and resiliency to explore our shared humanity in challenging times.

Masterpiece emerges from hiding Restoration: Beneath a humdrum Tiepolo painting, Walters conservators find a major work of art.

For decades, the huge Tiepolo painting hung in a prominent position at the top of the Walters Art Gallery's grand staircase. Despite its impressive size -- 9 feet by 16 feet -- it was largely ignored by visitors and art scholars.

Then, one day in 1993 the roof leaked right on it.

And the Tiepolo was launched on a restoration odyssey that would reclaim its original vibrant beauty and place it among the most important examples of the great 18th-century painter's early works.

The newly restored painting -- a colorful, dramatic work depicting an event in Roman history -- and its tale of redemption go on view today in the exhibit "Tiepolo Unveiled: The Restoration of a Masterpiece."

It's now possible to see the painting for the major work it is for the first time in living memory. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) was one of the greatest painters of the 18th century, and this is one of his largest early works (painted about 1720) and one of the largest paintings the Walters owns. But it had been repeatedly and badly restored earlier in its long life, obscuring most of what Tiepolo actually painted.

In his 1962 catalog of the works of Tiepolo, art scholar Antonio Morassi dismissed it as "a large and rather confused composition of his early period. Badly preserved, with repaints."

Today, with the restoration complete after 2 1/2 years of labor, the whole world's sitting up and taking notice.

George Knox, professor emeritus of art history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and one of the world's leading experts on Tiepolo, has written an article about it for the May issue of Apollo magazine in which he calls it "The great Tiepolo in the Walters Art Gallery."

In a recent interview, he classified it as "one of the half dozen major secular paintings painted by Tiepolo before he was 30."

Keith Christiansen, curator in the department of European paintings at New York's Metropolitan Museum, has invited the painting to be part of the major Tiepolo exhibit he's currently organizing there. In that show, he says, "I think there will be a big section devoted to the 10-year formation of Tiepolo, and the Baltimore picture will really prove to be a key work in this section."

Anthony Colantuono, who teaches 17th- and early 18th-century art history at the University of Maryland, calls it "an important Tiepolo painting, one of the few early Tiepolos in the United States, and there are not many early ones anyway."

The reason for all this acclaim is that the painting Tiepolo created has come to light for the first time in modern history. In the course of their work, senior conservator of paintings Eric Gordon and his colleagues found that 80 percent of Tiepolo's original painting had been covered by previous "restorations."

Employing every means available, from the latest X-ray techniques to comparison with preparatory works by Tiepolo, the conservators uncovered Tiepolo's painting and filled in the paint only where it had actually been lost from the original. Gordon says he can't estimate how much was lost from the original painting as a whole, but singling out one section of the work, he estimates that 8 percent of the original was lost.

Thus, it is no exaggeration for Gordon to say that thanks to the restoration, "It has become a Tiepolo.

"It has revealed the lively, energetic brush stroke, the exciting palette -- the juxtapositions of violet, green, orange, chartreuse -- and the theatricality."

Joaneath Spicer, Walters curator of renaissance and baroque art, agrees. "It was flat before, not only in the crimsons, but in the subtle passages of stonework. The subtlety and richness there sets the other areas off."

"The restoration was brilliantly done," says Colantuono. "This is **TC very, very important picture that unfortunately suffered great damage in the course of its history."

It also apparently suffered from being misnamed. When Henry Walters bought it in 1902 as part of the collection of Don Marcello Massarenti of Rome, it was called "Jugurtha before the Roman Consul." Later, experts Antonio Morassi and Federico Zeri agreed on the slightly different title "King Jugurtha Brought before Sulla."

But during the restoration, Spicer sought the opinion of current experts, and Knox has now suggested "Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva."

Both titles refer to events in Roman history. Knox puts forward the Scipio/Massiva suggestion for several reasons. Among the major ones, the young age of the two principals as depicted by Tiepolo conforms more closely with the ages of Scipio and Massiva when they met than with Jugurtha and Sulla at their meeting.

In 18th-century Venice, Scipio was a much more popular Roman hero than Sulla.

And Tiepolo also later executed a painting similar to the Walters one in a cycle of Scipio paintings in Milan, suggesting that this is also a Scipio treatment.

Colantuono tends to disagree with Knox's Scipio theory. In part because the Jugurtha title descended at least from the late 19th century, he thinks it may be the original. But because the painting does not correspond especially closely to any of the history texts so far proposed as the source, Colantuono also thinks the subject matter may be something else altogether.

Spicer admits that possibility, too. "I would not be totally shocked if we end up with something else," she says.

But, she adds, history paintings from Venice do not follow ancient historical accounts as closely as paintings from Rome do. "This might not be as accurate as a Roman picture would be. In Rome, when they were dealing with antiquity, you would have had quotations. In Venice, you have less the artifacts and more the ethos, an allusion to an heroic past."

So, barring convincing evidence to the contrary, the Scipio/Massiva theory prevails for now.

Whatever its title, the amount of the painting that has been literally dis-covered makes the exhibit's title "Tiepolo Unveiled" particularly appropriate.

The show, aside from the painting itself as centerpiece, contains detailed material on the restoration process and a group of other 18th-century works.

The painting will hang in its present location in the Walters' baroque gallery until it goes off this fall to be in the Met's show, opening in January. When it returns, later in 1997, it will take its old place at the top of the stairs on the second floor. "But we're going to upgrade the neighborhood," says Spicer.

"I want to change the wall coloring from the current pale yellow, improve the lighting, and change other works around it from ones that are not in the category of that painting to 17th- or 18th-century works of real character."

The Rise Of Rome And Its Association With Hercules

Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar after a model by Giambologna , mid-17 th Century, Florence, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rumblings from a fledgling city on the Tiber River began to reverberate around Italy as early as the 6th century BC. Rome was quietly moving its chess pieces in preparation for a calculated ascent to world domination.

One hundred years later, now a dynamic republic with international clout, it began to conquer the Italian Peninsula. And its intensified identification with Hercules at this time was no coincidence. New myths tying him integrally to the Roman foundation story were born. Such tales as Hercules being the father of Latinus, legendary progenitor of the Latin ethnic group, annexed Greek usage of him as a colonial legitimator for Roman ambitions.

But the extent of his adoption into Roman culture far surpassed simple storytelling. Toward the end of the 4th century, the cult of Hercules at the Forum Boarium was enshrined as national religion. Roman representations of the Greek god made every effort to distance him from associations with Melqart.

Photograph of Temple of Hercules Victor at the Forum Boarium by James Anderson , 1853, Rome, via The Paul J. Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Instead, they sought to depict Hercules in traditional form. The Romans fancied themselves descendants of the Trojan diaspora and successors of classical antiquity, taking the baton from the crumbling Greek world. So in Herculean spirit, they smashed their Samnite neighbors to the south followed by the Etruscans to the north. And once Italy had been subdued, they set their sights on Punic Sicily.

Carthage could no longer ignore the mounting Roman threat. The young civilization had proven its capabilities as a military aggressor and was poised for a quick climb to superpower status. The dusty Punic World, on the other hand, was long past its zenith of greatness. It knew there could only be one heir to the Herculean tradition in the western Mediterranean: the oncoming clash was inevitable.

The Carthaginians still had one competitive advantage harkening back to early Phoenician times — naval dominance. In this regard, the Romans certainly lacked. But it didn’t stop them from provoking the old Punic beast, and they’d soon face off with the might of Hercules-Melqart.

The Conqueror Of Spain

The Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, end of the 2nd century BCE, Photo by Jastrow, Via Wikimedia Commons

Over the next four years, Romans fought Carthaginian forces in Spain in a series of battles. In each of these engagements, Scipio employed the tactics he learned from Hannibal. In 208 BCE, in the battle of Baecula, Scipio used his signature pincer maneuver for the first time. Facing the numerically superior enemy, Scipio divided his main forces into two strong wings which fell upon the Carthaginian flanks. However, he failed to capture the enemy’s commander. Defeated, Hasdrubal and his remaining troops crossed the Pyrenees, planning to join his brother Hannibal. The Carthaginians arrived in Italy only to be destroyed by another Roman force, while Hasdrubal perished in the battle.

Coin depicting Scipio Africanus, after 111-112 BCE, Via the Art Institute Chicago

Scipio now had the upper hand in Spain, but Carthage still controlled two powerful armies. In 206 BCE, the Roman force, composed of around 45,000 men (half of them less disciplined troops) met the combined Carthaginian army at Ilipa, in southern Spain. The joint hostile force outnumbered the Romans, and its commanders, Hannibal’s brother Mago and another Hasdrubal felt confident of their victory.

However, they underestimated the sharp tactical mind of the Roman general. Instead of employing the usual order of battle, with the Roman heavy infantry in the center of the line, and the allied auxiliaries on its flanks, Scipio did the opposite. His Spanish allies formed the center bearing the shock of the advance of the heavily armed Carthaginian foot, while the heavy troops were placed on the ends of the line. As they approached the Carthaginians, the well-drilled Roman infantry advanced in a pincer movement, attacking less reliable enemy wings, and crushing their opponent. Only a sudden downpour saved the Carthaginian army from total annihilation. Both Mago and Hasdrubal were able to escape, but the Roman victory at Ilipa marked the end of the Carthaginian rule in Spain.

In four years, Scipio removed all Carthaginian forces from Spain although he had been outnumbered at every step. The Iberian Peninsula was on the way to becoming an exclusive Roman domain. But the fight was far from over.

African campaign

In 9796 , Scipio was unanimously elected to consulship at the age of 31. Scipio intended to go to Africa, but due to the envy of others in the Senate, he was not given any additional troops beyond the Sicilian garrison. Despite this resistance, Scipio gathered resources from clients and supporters in Rome and among the Italian communities this allowed him to muster a volunteer force of 30 warships and 7000 men. ⎙]

The forces stationed in Sicily at this time included a variety of forces. The Romans had for a long time used service in Sicily as a punishment, with the result that the garrison in Sicily contained survivors from many of the greatest Roman military fiascos in the war, such as the Battle of Cannae. Having served with these men at Cannae, Scipio was well aware that their disgrace was through no fault of their own. In addition, the Sicilian garrison also contained many of the troops who had participated in the Sicilian campaigns of Marcus Claudius Marcellus. From these men, Scipio was able to muster a highly motivated and very experienced force for his African invasion. ⎚] Scipio turned Sicily into a camp for training his army.

Scipio realized that the Carthaginian forces—especially the superior Numidian cavalry—would prove decisive against the largely infantry forces of the Roman legions. In addition, a large portion of Rome's cavalry were allies of questionable loyalty, or noble equites exempting themselves from being lowly foot soldiers. One anecdote tells of how Scipio pressed into service several hundred Sicilian nobles to create a cavalry force. The Sicilians were quite opposed to this servitude to a foreign occupier (Sicily being under Roman control only since the First Punic War), and protested vigorously. Scipio assented to their exemption from service providing they pay for a horse, equipment, and a replacement rider for the Roman army. In this way, Scipio created a trained nucleus of cavalry for his African campaign.

The Roman Senate sent a commission of inquiry to Sicily and found Scipio at the head of a well-equipped and trained fleet and army. Scipio pressed the Senate for permission to cross into Africa. Some of the Roman Senate, championed by Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator ("the Delayer"), opposed the mission. Fabius still feared Hannibal's power, and viewed any mission to Africa as dangerous and wasteful to the war effort. ⎛] Scipio was also harmed by some senators' disdain of his ideals, beliefs, and interests in unconventional areas such as Hellenophile tastes in art, luxuries, and philosophies. All Scipio could obtain was permission to cross over from Sicily to Africa if it appeared to be in the interests of Rome, but not financial or military support.

With the permission from the commissioners, Scipio sailed in 9797 and landed near Utica. Carthage, meanwhile, had secured the friendship of the Numidian Syphax, whose advance compelled Scipio to abandon the siege of Utica and dig in on the shore between there and Carthage. In 9798 , he destroyed the combined armies of the Carthaginians and Numidians by approaching by stealth and setting fire to their camp, where the combined army became panicked and fled, when they were mostly killed by Scipio's army. Though not a "battle," both Polybius and Livy estimate that the death toll in this single attack exceeded 40,000 Carthaginian and Numidian dead, and more captured.

Historians are roughly equal in their praise and condemnation for this act. Polybius said, "of all the brilliant exploits performed by Scipio this seems to me the most brilliant and more adventurous." On the other hand, one of Hannibal's principal biographers, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, goes so far as to suggest that this attack was out of cowardice and spares no more than a page upon the event in total, despite the fact that it secured the siege of Utica and effectively put Syphax out of the war. The irony of Dodge's accusations of Scipio's cowardice is that the attack showed traces of Hannibal's penchant for ambush.

Scipio quickly dispatched his two lieutenants, Laelius and Masinissa, to pursue Syphax. They ultimately dethroned Syphax, and ensured Prince Masinissa's coronation as King of the Numidians. Carthage, and especially Hannibal himself, had long relied upon these superb natural horsemen, who would now fight for Rome against Carthage.

War with Hannibal, the Battle of Zama

Now deserted by its allies and surrounded by a veteran and undefeated Roman army, Carthage began opening diplomatic channels for negotiation. At the same time, Hannibal Barca and his army were recalled to Carthage, and despite the moderate terms offered to Carthage by Scipio, Carthage suddenly suspended negotiations and again prepared for war. The army that Hannibal returned with is a subject of much debate. Advocates for Hannibal often claim that his army was mostly Italians pressed into service from southern Italy and that most of his elite veterans (and certainly cavalry) were spent. Scipio's advocates tend to be far more suspicious and believe the number of veteran forces to remain significant.

Hannibal did have a trained pool of soldiers who had fought in Italy, as well as eighty war elephants. Hannibal could boast a strength of around forty thousand: 36,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, compared to Scipio's 29,000 infantry and 6,100 cavalry. ⎝] The two generals met on a plain between Carthage and Utica on October 19, 9799 , at the final Battle of Zama. Despite mutual admiration, negotiations floundered due largely to Roman distrust of the Carthaginians as a result of the Carthaginian attack on Saguntum, the breach of protocols which ended the First Punic War (known as Punic Faith), and a perceived breach in contemporary military etiquette due to Hannibal's numerous ambushes.

Hannibal arranged his infantry in three phalangial lines designed to overlap the Roman lines. His strategy, so oft reliant upon subtle stratagems, was simple: a massive forward attack by the war elephants would create gaps in the Roman lines, which would be exploited by the infantry, supported by the cavalry.

Rather than arranging his forces in the traditional manipular lines, which put the hastati, principes, and triarii in succeeding lines parallel to the enemy's line, Scipio instead put the maniples in lines perpendicular to the enemy, a stratagem designed to counter the war elephants. When the Carthaginian elephants charged, they found well laid traps before the Roman position and were greeted by Roman trumpeters, which drove many back out of confusion and fear. In addition, many elephants were goaded harmlessly through the loose ranks by the velites and other skirmishers. Roman javelins were used to good effect, and the sharp traps caused further disorder among the elephants. Many of them were so distraught that they charged back into their own lines. The Roman infantry was greatly rattled by the elephants, but Massinissa's Numidian and Laelius' Roman cavalry began to drive the opposing cavalry off the field. Both cavalry commanders pursued their routing Carthaginian counterparts, leaving the Carthaginian and Roman infantries to engage one another. The resulting infantry clash was fierce and bloody, with neither side achieving local superiority. The Roman infantry had driven off the two front lines of the Carthaginian army, and in the respite took an opportunity to drink water. The Roman army was then drawn up in one long line (as opposed to the traditional three lines) in order to match the length of Hannibal's line. Scipio's army then marched towards Hannibal's veterans, who had not yet taken part in the battle. The final struggle was bitter and won only when the allied cavalry rallied and returned to the battle field. Charging the rear of Hannibal's army, they caused what many historians have called the "Roman Cannae".

Many Roman aristocrats, especially Cato, expected Scipio to raze that city to the ground after his victory. However, Scipio dictated extremely moderate terms in contrast to an immoderate Roman Senate. While the security of Rome was guaranteed by demands such as the surrender of the fleet, and a lasting tribute was to be paid, the strictures were sufficiently light for Carthage to regain its full prosperity. ⎞] With Scipio's consent, Hannibal was allowed to become the civic leader of Carthage, which the Cato family did not forget.

Return to Rome

Scipio was welcomed back to Rome in triumph with the agnomen of Africanus. He refused the many further honours which the people would have thrust upon him such as Consul for life and Dictator. In the year 9802 , Scipio was elected Censor and for some years afterwards he lived quietly and took no part in politics.

In 9808 , Scipio was one of the commissioners sent to Africa to settle a dispute between Massinissa and the Carthaginians, which the commission did not achieve. This may have been because Hannibal, in the service of Antiochus III of Syria, might have come to Carthage to gather support for a new attack on Italy. In 9811 , when the Romans declared war against Antiochus III, Publius offered to join his brother Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus if the Senate entrusted the chief command to him. The two brothers brought the war to a conclusion by a decisive victory at Magnesia in the same year.


Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus is Scipio Africanus great grandfather. Barbatus rose to preeminence as a patrician officer of the Roman Republic during the crucial period of the Third Samnite War, when Rome finally defeated a coalition of their neighbors: the Etruscans, the Umbrians, the Samnites, and their allies, the Gauls. The victory extended Rome's leadership and sovereignty over most of Italy.

Barbatus is one of the two elected Roman consuls in 298 BC. He led the Roman army to victory against the Etruscans near Volterra. A member of the noble Roman family of Scipiones, he was the father of Lucius Cornelius Scipio and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Asina

Prior to 298 BC war had already broken out between Rome and Etruria when the Etruscans decided to invade Rome in combination with some Gallic allies they had purchased.

The planned attack was a violation of a former treaty with Rome. The Gauls reneged and the Etruscans found themselves facing a Roman army under consul Titus Manlius who however died after a fall from his horse in a display of horsemanship. The election held to replace him made Marcus Valerius Corvus consul. He joined the army in Etruria and began to waste the country hoping to provoke the Etruscans to battle, which they refused.

The Etruscans attacked immediately before Volterra. A day-long battle brought no victory but in the night the Etruscans withdrew to their fortified cities leaving their camp and equipment to the Romans.

Ancient Cultural History


Rome was now the undisputed master of the Western Mediterranean, and turned her gaze from defeated Carthage to the Hellenistic world. Small Roman forces had already been engaged in the First Macedonian War, when, in 214 BC, a fleet under Marcus Valerius Laevinus had successfully thwarted Philip V from invading Illyria with his newly built fleet. The rest of the war was carried out mostly by Rome's allies, the Aetolian League and later the Kingdom of Pergamon, but a combined Roman-Pergamene fleet of ca. 60 ships patrolled the Aegean until the war's end in 205 BC. The war ended in an effective stalemate, and was renewed in 201 BC, when Philip V invaded Asia Minor. A naval battle off Chios ended in a costly victory for the Pergamene–Rhodian alliance, but the Macedonian fleet lost many warships, including its flagship, a deceres. Soon after, Pergamon and Rhodes appealed to Rome for help, and the Republic was drawn into the Second Macedonian War.

Rome, still embroiled in the Punic War, was not interested in expanding her possessions, but rather in thwarting the growth of Philip's V power in Greece. In view of the massive Roman naval superiority, the war was fought on land, with the Macedonian fleet, already weakened at Chios, not daring to venture out of its anchorage at Demetrias.After the crushing Roman victory at Cynoscephalae, the terms imposed on Macedon were harsh, and included the complete disbandment of her navy.

Almost immediately following the defeat of Macedon, Rome became embroiled in a war with the Seleucid Empire. This war too was decided mainly on land, although the combined Roman–Rhodian Navy also achieved victories over the Seleucids at Myonessus and Eurymedon. These victories, which were invariably concluded with the imposition of peace treaties that prohibited the maintenance of anything but token naval forces, spelled the disappearance of the Hellenistic royal navies, leaving Rome and her allies unchallenged at sea

Ancient Cultural History


The Barcids family founded several Carthaginian cities in the Iberian peninsula, some of which still exist today. Note for example Mahón and Qart Hadast (more famous under the Latin translation of its name: "Carthago Nova" or New Carthage) which currently bears the name of Cartagena in modern-day Spain. The name is also commonly given as an etymology for Barcelona

During the 3rd century BC, the Barcids comprised one of the leading families in the ruling oligarchy of Carthage. Realizing that the expansion of the Roman Republic into the Mediterranean Sea threatened the mercantile power of Carthage, they fought in the First Punic War (264–241 BC) and prepared themselves for the Second Punic War (218–201 BC). The patriarch, Hamilcar Barca (275–228 BC), served as a Carthaginian general in the First Punic War (264–241 BC) and in the subsequent Mercenary War (240–238 BC). Reputedly, he made his eldest son Hannibal swear a sacred oath upon an altar of the gods "to never be a friend of Rome". After the Roman victory, he expanded the colonial possessions in Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal), where he drowned crossing a river. The Barcid (Romanized: Barqa) family was a notable family in the ancient city of Carthage many of its members were fierce enemies of the Roman Republic. "Barcid" is an adjectival form coined by historians ("Ramesside" and "Abbasid") the actual byname was Barca or Barcas, which means lightning. See ברק‎ Baraq in Canaanite and Hebrew, برق, barq in Arabic, berqa in Maltese, and similar words in other Semitic languages.

Hamilcar Barca and his wife (name unknown) had six children. Their three sons each became famous military leaders in their own right.
Their three daughters married Barcid family allies.

His eldest daughter (name unknown) married Bomilcar, and became the mother of Hanno.

His 2nd-eldest daughter (name unknown), married Hasdrubal the Fair.

Hasdrubal the Fair (c. 270–221 BC), Hamilcar's son-in-law, followed Hamilcar in his campaign against the governing aristocracy at Carthage at the close of the First Punic War, and in his subsequent career of conquest in Hispania. After Hamilcar's death (228 BC), Hasdrubal succeeded him in the command and extended the newly acquired empire by skillful diplomacy. He consolidated it with the foundation of Carthago Nova, establishing it as the capital of the new province in Hispania. By a treaty with Rome he fixed the Ebro as the boundary between the two powers. He was killed by a Celtic assassin.

His youngest daughter (name unknown) married Naravas, a Numidian chieftain. Her supposed name Salammbo is in fact the title of a book written by Gustave Flaubert .

Hannibal (247–182 BC) oldest son of Hamilcar Barca, one of the best and most famous generals of classical antiquity, and arguably the greatest enemy of the Roman Republic. He won the famous Battle of Cannae (216 BC) but lost the crucial Battle of Zama (202 BC). Hannibal achieved popular fame for his crossing of the Alps with 60,000 soldiers and 38 elephants.

Hasdrubal (245–207 BC), the second son of Hamilcar Barca, defended the Carthaginian cities in Hispania as Hannibal departed to Italy in 218 BC. While leading reinforcements for his brother Hannibal in 207 BC, he was defeated and killed in the decisive Battle of the Metaurus.

Mago (also spelled Magon) (243–203 BC), the third son of Hamilcar Barca, was present at most of the battles of his famous brother and played a key role in many of them, often commanding the forces that made the "decisive push".

Ancient Cultural History


Almost immediately following the defeat of Macedon, Rome became embroiled in a war with the Seleucid Empire. This war too was decided mainly on land, although the combined Roman Rhodian Navy also achieved victories over the Seleucids at Myonessus and Eurymedon. These victories, which were invariably concluded with the imposition of peace treaties that prohibited the maintenance of anything but token naval forces, spelled the disappearance of the Hellenistic royal navies, leaving Rome and her allies unchallenged at sea. Coupled with the final destruction of Carthage, and the end of Macedon's independence, by the latter half of the 2nd century BC, Roman control over all of what was later to be dubbed Mare Nostrum ("our sea") had been established. Subsequently, the Roman navy was drastically reduced, depending on its Socii Navales (Pergamon and Rhode)

As the 3rd century dawned, the Roman Empire was at its peak. In the Mediterranean, peace had reigned for over two centuries, as piracy had been wiped out and no outside naval threats occurred. As a result, complacency had set in: naval tactics and technology were neglected, and the Roman naval system had become moribund. After 230 however and for fifty years, the situation changed dramatically. The so-called "Crisis of the Third Century" ushered a period of internal turmoil, and the same period saw a renewed series of seaborne assaults, which the imperial fleets proved unable to stem. In the West, Picts and Irish ships raided Britain, while the Saxons raided the North Sea, forcing the Romans to abandon Frisia. In the East, the Goths and other tribes from modern Ukraine raided in great numbers over the Black Sea. These invasions began during the rule of Trebonianus Gallus, when for the first time Germanic tribes built up their own powerful fleet in the Black Sea. Via two surprise attacks (256) on Roman naval bases in
the Caucasus and near the Danube, numerous ships fell into the hands of the Germans, whereupon the raids were extended as far as the Aegean Sea Byzantium, Athens, Sparta and other towns were plundered and the responsible provincial fleets were heavily debilitated. It was not until the attackers made a tactical error, that their onrush could be stopped.

In 267–270 another, much fiercer series of attacks took place. A fleet composed of Heruli and other tribes raided the coasts of Thrace and the Pontus. Defeated off Byzantium by general Venerianus, the barbarians fled into the Aegean, and ravaged many islands and coastal cities, including Athens and Corinth. As they retreated northwards over land, they were defeated by Emperor Gallienus at Nestos. However, this was merely the prelude to an even larger invasion that was launched in 268/269: several tribes banded together (the Historia Augusta mentions Scythians, Greuthungi, Tervingi, Gepids, Peucini, Celts and Heruli) and allegedly 2,000 ships and 325,000 men strong, raided the Thracian shore, attacked Byzantium and continued raiding the Aegean as far as Crete, while the main force approached Thessalonica. Emperor Claudius II however was able to defeat them at the Battle of Naissus, ending the Gothic threat for the time being.

Barbarian raids also increased along the Rhine frontier and in the North Sea. Eutropius mentions that during the 280s, the sea along the coasts of the provinces of Belgica and Armorica was "infested with Franks and Saxons". To counter them, Maximian appointed Carausius as commander of the British Fleet. However, Carausius rose up in late 286 and seceded from the Empire with Britannia and parts of the northern Gallic coast. With a single blow Roman control of the channel and the North Sea was lost, and emperor Maximinus was forced to create a completely new Northern Fleet, but in lack of training it was almost immediately destroyed in a storm. Only in 293, under Caesar Constantius Chlorus did Rome regain the Gallic coast. A new fleet was constructed in order to cross the Channel, and in 296, with a concentric attack on Londinium the insurgent province was retaken

Scipio Africanus

But peace did not last long between Rome and Carthage. Some years after the end of the first Punic War the Carthaginians attacked and took possession of a town in Spain, the people of which were friends and allies of Rome. This caused the second Punic War, which began B . C . 218.

One of the great soldiers of this war was Publius Cornelius Scipio. In the latter part of his life he was called Scipio Africanus, on account of the great victories which he won in Africa.

Scipio was a brave soldier from his youth. When only seventeen years old he fought in a battle and saved his father's life. He was always gallant and heroic in war, so he soon became noted in the Roman army and rose to high rank. And although he was a member of a noble family, he was well liked by the plebeians and they elected him "ædile."

The ædiles were magistrates or judges. They were also superintendents of public buildings and of the games and shows of which the Roman people were so fond.

When Scipio was about twenty-seven years of age, he was appointed to command the Roman army that was fighting the Carthaginians in Spain. Carthage had conquered some parts of Spain, and Rome had conquered other parts, and the two nations were often at war about places in that country.

When Scipio went to Spain many of the people there were against him, but they soon became his friends. Whenever he took a city he allowed the chiefs who were captured to go free, and he gave presents to many of them. He always showed great respect to women and children who were taken prisoners. In those times it was the cruel custom to make slaves of women who were found in towns that had been taken in war. But Scipio never did this in Spain. He always let the women go free.

One day a beautiful Spanish girl who had been taken prisoner was brought before him. She seemed very much frightened, but Scipio spoke kindly to her and told her that no one should harm her. While speaking with her he learned that a young man who was her lover had also been taken prisoner by the Roman soldiers. He sent for the young man and said to him:

"Take your sweetheart and go. I set you both free. Go and be happy and in future be friends of Rome."

And so by many acts of kindness Scipio gained the friendship of the Spaniards. After a while they began to join the Romans and gave them great help in their war against the Carthaginians.

When his services were no longer needed in Spain, Scipio returned to Rome. He got a great reception in the city. There was a grand parade in his honor. He brought home an immense quantity of silver, which he obtained from the rich Spanish mines and from the cities he had taken. The silver was put into the Roman treasury to pay the expenses of the war.

Soon after he returned from Spain Scipio was elected consul. The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, was then in Italy with a large army. This Hannibal was one of the greatest generals of ancient times. When he was but nine years old his father, who was also a great general, made him take an oath that he would hate Rome and the Romans forever. Then he took the boy with him to Spain and gave him a thorough training as a soldier.

When his father died Hannibal became commander of the Carthaginian army in Spain. He was then little more than twenty-one years old. He fought well in Spain for some time and was well liked by his soldiers. Suddenly he resolved to make war on the Romans in their own country and to go by land to Italy. So he got ready an immense army and set out on his march. In passing through France he had to cross the broad River Rhone. This was not easy to do, for there was no bridge. He got his men over in boats, but he had a number of elephants in his army and they were too big and heavy to be taken across in that way. The boats were small and the elephants were afraid to go into them. Hannibal therefore got rafts or floats, made of trunks of trees tied together, and in these the elephants were carried over.

After crossing the Rhone Hannibal marched over the Alps into Italy. He and his army suffered many hardships in making their way over those snow-covered mountains. He had often to fight fierce tribes that came to oppose him, but he defeated them all, and after being defeated many of them joined his army and brought him provisions for his soldiers.

Very soon Roman armies were sent against Hannibal, but he defeated them in many battles. Once his army got into a place near high hills where he could not march further except through one narrow pass between the hills. The Roman general, Quintus Fabius, sent four thousand of his troops to take possession of this pass, and he posted the rest of his army on the hills close by.


Hannibal saw that he was in a trap, but he found a way of escaping. He caused vine branches to be tied to the horns of a large number of the oxen that were with his army. Then he ordered his men to set the branches on fire in the middle of the night and to drive the oxen up the hills.

As soon as the animals felt the pain they rushed madly about and set fire to the shrubs and bushes they met on the way. The Romans at the pass thought that the Carthaginians were escaping by torchlight. So they hastily quit their posts and hurried towards the hills to help their comrades. Then Hannibal, seeing the pass free, marched his army out and so escaped from the trap.

Quintus Fabius was very slow and cautious in his movements. The Romans had been defeated so often that he thought the best plan was to harass Hannibal in every possible way, but not to venture to fight him in a great battle until he should be sure of winning. For this reason the Romans gave Fabius the name of Cunctator, which means delayer , and so the plan of extreme delay or caution in any undertaking is often called a Fabian policy.

But in spite of the caution of Fabius Hannibal gained many great victories. His greatest victory was at the battle of Cannæ, in the south of Italy. Here he defeated and destroyed a Roman army of seventy thousand men. And for several years after this battle Hannibal remained in Italy doing the Romans all the harm he could.

At last Scipio thought it was time to follow the plan of Regulus. So he said to the Senate:

"We have acted too long as if we were afraid of Hannibal and Carthage. We defend ourselves bravely when we are attacked, and so far we have saved Rome from destruction but we do not make any attacks on our enemies. We certainly ought to do this, for our armies are strong and fully ready to meet the Carthaginians."

Scipio then proposed that an army led by himself should go to Africa and carry on war there. He believed that if this were done Hannibal would have to go to Africa to defend Carthage.

Perhaps on account of what had happened to Regulus, the Senate did not like Scipio's plan. Nevertheless, it gave him permission to go to Africa, but would not give him an army. Scipio then raised a splendid army of volunteers and sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to Africa.

Scipio tried for some time to obtain the aid of Syphax, a powerful king of Numidia, in Africa. But Syphax decided to join the Carthaginians. So Scipio found two great armies ready to fight him. One was the army of Carthage, with thirty-three thousand men, commanded by Hasdrubal Gisco, and the other was the army of Numidia, with sixty thousand men, commanded by King Syphax.

But Scipio found in Africa one strong friend, and that was a Numidian prince named Masinissa. This prince had a host of supporters among his countrymen and was therefore able to bring a large force of good soldiers to the aid of the Romans. He was of great service to Scipio in many ways.

When everything was ready the Roman army, with Masinissa's force, encamped about six miles from the camps of the enemy. Scipio sent spies among the Carthaginians and the soldiers of King Syphax, and from them he learned that both armies were lodged in huts made of stakes and covered with reeds and dried leaves. He resolved to set those huts on fire.

So one very dark night the Roman army left its camp and marched silently to the plain occupied by the enemy. Then a division of the Romans went to the encampment of the Numidians and a soldier crept cautiously from the Roman lines and set one of the huts on fire. The fire spread rapidly, and in a few minutes the whole camp was in flames.

The Numidian soldiers, suddenly awakened by the fire, fled from the burning huts without their weapons and made frantic efforts to escape from the camp. Hundreds of them were knocked down and trampled to death in the rush and confusion hundreds more lost their lives in the fire. Those who got to the open country were attacked by the Romans and killed. The ground was covered with the bodies of the slain. King Syphax and a few horsemen managed to escape, but the rest of the vast Numidian army was destroyed.

In the meantime the Carthaginians had been aroused by the noise in the camp of the Numidians. They thought that the fire had been caused by an accident, and some of them ran forward to assist the Numidians. But the greater number stood in a confused throng, without their arms, outside their camp, looking at the fire with terror.

While they were in this helpless state the Carthaginians were suddenly attacked by the Romans with Scipio at their head. Many were killed, and the others were driven back into their camp, which was immediately set on fire in a number of places. Then there was a frightful scene. Thousands of Carthaginians, struggling to escape the fire, were slain by the Romans, while thousands more perished in the flames. Hasdrubal Gisco, the commander, and some of his officers escaped, but only a few of the others. In less than an hour there was little left of the Carthaginian army.

Scipio now began to march towards the great, rich city of Carthage. He captured a number of towns and a great deal of treasure. In a few weeks, however, the Carthaginians were able to form another army of thirty thousand men, and then they came boldly forth to meet Scipio.

A fierce battle followed. The Romans were driven back for a time, but with wonderful courage they charged the Carthaginians again and again and at last totally defeated them.

The Carthaginians now sent a message to Italy requesting Hannibal to come to the relief of his country. The renowned general did not want to leave Italy, for he hoped to be able to take Rome but he thought it best to obey the call of Carthage, so he sailed for Africa with his army.

After arriving in Africa Hannibal led his army to a wide plain near Zama, a town not far from Carthage. Here he awaited the Romans.

Hannibal had great admiration for Scipio, and he desired to see him before engaging in battle. So he sent a messenger to Scipio requesting an interview. The request was granted, and the two generals met.

They greeted each other cordially, and each complimented the other on his victories and greatness as a soldier. Then Hannibal proposed terms of peace to Scipio.

"We will give Spain and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia to Rome. Then we will divide the sea with you. What more would you have? Rome and Carthage would then be the two great nations of the world."

Scipio thought it was too late to make terms.

"We must fight it out," said he, "until one side or the other is vanquished."

The generals then parted, and the next day the two armies were drawn up in battle array. On each side there were about thirty thousand men, but Hannibal had a herd of fighting elephants.

The battle was long and severe. Both armies fought heroically, and there was terrible slaughter. But Hannibal's elephants were of little use to him, as the Romans frightened them by blowing trumpets and hurling balls of fire at them. At a moment when the lines of the Carthaginians were breaking, a strong force of Roman horsemen came up suddenly in the rear and overpowered all before it. This won the battle for the Romans. When Hannibal saw that the battle was lost he fled from the field with a few friends (202 B . C .).

Scipio was now master of Carthage. He compelled the Carthaginians to pay him a vast amount in gold and silver and to give up some of their towns and lands. He also compelled them to destroy their great fleet of warships and to promise not to make war in future upon any people without the permission of the Romans.

When Scipio returned to Rome he entered the city at the head of a grand procession. The greatest honors were paid to him, and he was called Scipio Africanus.

Some years afterwards Scipio met Hannibal at the court of the king of Syria. The two generals had a friendly conversation and Scipio asked Hannibal who he thought was the greatest general that ever lived. Hannibal answered:

"Who was the second?" asked Scipio.

"But what would you have said," asked Scipio, "if you had conquered me?"

"I should then have said," replied Hannibal, "that I was greater than Alexander, greater than Pyrrhus, and greater than all other generals."

Commander in the Second Punic War

Though Scipio took a civilian position in 213 B.C., he returned to fighting after his father and uncle were killed in battle. In 211 B.C., Scipio was given the command of Rome&aposs forces in Spain. Two years later, he took the city of Carthago Nova (New Carthage), the center of Carthaginian power in Spain. This gave Scipio access to a new cache of weapons and supplies.

At the Battle of Baecula in 208 B.C., Scipio defeated Hasdrubal (Hannibal&aposs brother), who escaped to Italy with some of his troops. The next year, Scipio convinced the local population in Spain to forswear Carthage and pledge their allegiance to Rome. In 206 B.C., Scipio defeated the remaining Carthaginian forces in Spain, which placed Spain under Roman control.

Time Travel • Ancient Rome

Phoenician settlers from Tyre established Gades, now Cadiz, in 1104 B.C., and in the 7 th century they added a connected port. According to legend, Hercules himself founded the city after defeating Geryon, a three-headed monster. It was the tenth of his famous twelve labors. The Carthaginians took the city when they invaded Spain during the 2 nd Punic War. Hannibal even made sacrifices in the great temple of Melqart, the Tyrian equivalent of Hercules, asking for the hero’s blessing before undertaking his crossing of the Alps. After Scipio took Carthago Nova in 209 B.C., Gades became the main port of operations for the Carthaginians. It was near Gades in 206 B.C. that two great generals met face to face for the first time.

An Errant Nephew

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva – Walters by Walters Art Museum s licensed under CC0

Following the defeat at Carthago Nova, Hasdrubal Barca returned to Carthage to raise more troops, leaving Masinissa in sole control of cavalry operations in Spain. For the next two years, Masinissa waged a largely successful guerilla war against Scipio. Though he could not hope to achieve total victory, he greatly hampered Scipio’s progress. The two generals grew to respect one another’s skills, and a chance encounter helped Scipio earn even greater regard from the young Numidian warlord. Following a skirmish, the Romans learned that one of their Numidian prisoners was of royal blood. They brought the frightened boy before Scipio, and explained that he was Massiva, the orphaned nephew of Masinissa himself. He had joined the campaign to Spain, but Masinissa would not allow the boy to participate in a battle.

On that day, however, without his uncle’s knowledge, Massiva had found weapons and snuck into the action. He had been captured when his horse fell and the impact threw him from the animal. Scipio made no demands or conditions, but merely asked whether the boy would like to return to his uncle. Massiva burst into tears, replying in the affirmative, and Scipio not only sent him safely back with his own cavalry escort for as far as he wished, but gave him a gold ring, purple-bordered tunic, and a beautiful horse, adorned with the finest tack. Masinissa was overjoyed to find his nephew unharmed, and deeply grateful to Scipio for his return.

The Battle of Ilipa

In the spring of 206 B.C., Hasdrubal Barca returned from Africa with reinforcements. The Carthaginians, together with their Numidian allies, marched from Gades with a force of around 70,000 men. They outnumber the Romans by about 20,000. The two armies encamped near Ilipa, and spent the next few days lining up for battle without engaging. Each day Scipio had his men take their time and line up after the Carthaginians. He always placed his Roman legions in the center of his line and his Spanish allies on the two wings. When he was convinced that the Carthaginians had taken the bait, Scipio ordered his men fed and prepared before daylight, then lined up for battle close to the Carthaginian camp, with his line swapped, Romans on the wings and allies in the center. Taken by surprise, the Carthaginians rushed to form up.

Ilipa1 by Citypeek s licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

They placed their best soldiers in the center and their allies on the outside, believing that Scipio had arranged his army as before. By the time they realized their mistake, it was too late to reform. Their soldiers had also not had breakfast, a fact Scipio exploited by drawing the battle out longer. Eventually he sent in in his wings to attack quickly, holding the center back. The highly trained Roman soldiers overwhelmed the less experienced Iberians. Meanwhile the best Carthaginian soldiers were unable to aid their comrades for fear of the lagging Roman center. The Carthaginian line crumbled, and a sudden heavy fall of rain enabled them to reach shelter in their camp. All through the night, the Spanish allies deserted to the Roman cause, and in the morning, the Romans attacked the surviving Carthaginian infantry, leaving only 6,000 alive.

New Friendships

Scipio next marched for Gades, where the remaining Carthaginian forces were gathering. Upon hearing of Scipio’s impending arrival, Masinissa was determined to meet him. He told the Carthaginian general Mago that he and his soldiers needed to go on a sortie to condition their horses and plunder supplies, and he sent three of his Numidians to request an audience with Scipio. The two men met in mutual admiration. Masinissa began with thanks for the return of his nephew, going on to say that he had been looking for a chance to express his gratitude in person ever since that day. He was impressed by Scipio’s abilities on the battlefield, disillusioned with his former allies, and felt sure that he could be of service to Scipio in Africa, and help ensure a quick defeat of Carthage.

Cádiz by Kordas is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Scipio “watched him and listened to him with great pleasure. He knew that Masinissa was the master-spirit in all the enemy’s cavalry, and the youth’s whole bearing showed high courage” (Livy). The two young generals quickly developed a mutual affection, and ended the meeting by pledging loyalty to one another. Masinissa returned to Gades, but soon sailed for Africa, having received word that his father, the king, had died. Mago made one ill-fated attempt to recapture Carthago Nova by sea, and when he returned to Gades, found that the people had revolted, and held the gates shut against him. They welcomed Scipio and the Romans. Carthage had lost its hold on Spain, and Scipio returned to Rome to seek approval for an African campaign. Meanwhile, Masinissa faced his own trials back in Numidia, as he fought to retain his royal inheritance.

This article was written for Time Travel Rome by Marian Vermeulen.

Sources: Livy, History of Rome Polybius, The Histories

What to See Here?

Already by the fourth century, when the writer Avienus visited the site, Gades lay in ruins. But despite its early destruction and subsequent redevelopment, ancient traces still remain. You can still see vestiges of the ancient city wall. But Cádiz’s most famous ancient site is its Roman theatre, one of the largest in the Roman world.

It was built by the first century aristocrat Lucius Cornelius Balbus and designed to hold 20,000 spectators. It is also one of the few provincial theatres described in the ancient literature, mentioned by both Cicero and the contemporary geographer Strabo. A statue of the eminent Roman citizen responsible for building it still stands in the centre to this day.

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