Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cornelius Nepos, Life of Hamilcar (part 2).

Here is part two of Nepos’ Life of Hamilcar.

Summary: Hamilcar goes to Spain as commander. He takes Hannibal with him and Hasdrubal, with whom he is said by some to have a sexual relationship. After the death of Hamilcar, Hasdrubal takes over the command of the army.

[3] Rebus his ex sententia peractis, fidenti animo atque infesto Romanis, quo facilius causam bellandi reperiret, effecit, ut imperator cum exercitu in Hispaniam mitteretur, eoque secum duxit filium Hannibalem annorum novem. 2 Erat praeterea cum eo adulescens illustris, formosus, Hasdrubal; quem nonnulli diligi turpius, quam par erat, ab Hamilcare loquebantur. Non enim maledici tanto viro deesse poterant. Quo factum est, ut a praefecto morum Hasdrubal cum eo vetaretur esse. Huic ille filiam suam in matrimonium dedit, quod moribus eorum non poterat interdici socero genero. 3 De hoc ideo mentionem fecimus, quod Hamilcare occiso ille exercitui praefuit resque magnas gessit et princeps largitione vetustos pervertit mores Carthaginiensium eiusdemque post mortem Hannibal ab exercitu accepit imperium.

Rebus his ex sententia peractis: abl. abs.  ex sententia `according to his plans’
fidenti animo atque infesto Romanis: with his mind confident and hostile towards the Romans
quo facilius causam bellandi reperiret, effecit, ut imperator cum exercitu in Hispaniam mitteretur = effecit, ut imperator cum exercitu in Hispaniam mitteretur, quo facilius causam bellandi reperiret
reperio repperi  repertum: to seek
imperator: predicate
quem nonnulli diligi turpius, quam par erat, ab Hamilcare loquebantur: whom some say to be loved by Hamilcar in a more shameful way, than was proper
maledici: slanderous people
praefectus morum: guardian of public morals
in matrimonium do:  to give in marriage
poterat interdici socero genero: it could not be forbidden to a father-in-law (socer) to be with his son-in-law (gener)
mentionem facio: to mention
Hamilcare occiso: after the death of Hamilcar (occido occidi occisum: to slay, kill)
largitio –ionis (f.): bribery
vetus veteris: old, ancient

Summary: Hamilcar is successful in Spain, but is killed before he is able to fight against the Romans again. He has filled his son Hannibal with so much hatred against the Romans, that this seems to be the reason for the Second Punic war.

[4] At Hamilcar posteaquam mare transiit in Hispaniamque venit, magnas res secunda gessit fortuna; maximas bellicosissimasque gentes subegit; equis, armis, viris, pecunia totam locupletavit Africam. 2 Hic cum in Italiam bellum inferre meditaretur, nono anno, postquam in Hispaniam venerat, in proelio pugnans adversus Vettones occisus est. 3 Huius perpetuum odium erga Romanos maxime concitasse videtur secundum bellum Poenicum. Namque Hannibal, filius eius, assiduis patris obtestationibus eo est perductus, ut interire quam Romanos non experiri mallet.

posteaquam = postquam
secunda fortuna: with good luck
locupleto: to fill
bellum infero in: wage war against
Vettones: tribe in Lusitania, Spain
concito: incite
secundum bellum Poenicum: 218-201 BC
assiduus: constant
obtestatio –ionis (f.): instigation
inter-eo: to perish, die
experior expertus sum: (here) to measure strength with

Translation by John Selby Watson, MA (1889)

III. These objects being executed according to his desire, he then, by dint of a spirit confident and incensed against the Romans, contrived, in order more easily to find a pretext for going to war with them, to be sent as commander-in-chief with an army into Spain, and took with him thither his son Hannibal, then nine years old. There also accompanied him a young man named Hasdrubal, a person of high birth and great beauty, who, as some said, was beloved by Hamilcar with less regard to his character than was becoming; for so great a man could not fail to have slanderers. Hence it happened that Hasdrubal was forbidden by the censor of public morals  to associate with him; but Hamilcar then gave him his daughter in marriage, because, according to their usages, a son-in-law could not be interdicted the society of his father-in-law. We have inserted this notice of Hasdrubal, because, after Hamilcar was killed, he took the command of the army, and achieved great exploits; and he was also the first that corrupted the ancient manners of the Carthaginians by bribery. After his death Hannibal received the command from the army.

IV. Hamilcar, however, after he had crossed the sea, and arrived in Spain, executed some great undertakings with excellent success; he subdued some very powerful and warlike nations, and supplied all Africa with horses, arms, men, and money. But as he was meditating to carry the war into Italy, in the ninth year after his arrival in Spain, he was killed in a battle with the Vettones.

His constant hatred to the Romans seems to have been the chief cause of producing the second Punic war; for Hannibal, his son, was so wrought upon by the continual instigations of his father, that he would have chosen to die rather than not make trial of the Romans.  

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