5 Maccabees Chapter 12 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


Cotton H.Sir : 

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P. 311 – 315 Book 5 B.C. 163 [PDF: 361/365 of p.524]

CHAPTER 12.

(i) An account of the beginning of the power of the Romans, and of the enlargement of their empire.

1 At this same time, of which we have been speaking, the affairs of the Romans began to be exalted : that the great and good God might fulfil that which Daniel the prophet [to whom be peace1)Foot note p. 312 a. This same expression occurs in the Samaritan Chronicle: and it is remarked by Hottinger, that this formula of blessing is constantly added by the Arabian writers, after mentioning the name of any prophet. (Hotlingeri Exercitationes Antimoriniance, 4to. 1644. p. 05, 06.). ] had foretold2)Foot note p. 312 b. Namely, in ch. xi. of his prophecy. concerning the fourth empire. There was also at this time a certain most 2 munificent king in Africa, whose name was Annibal3)Foot note p. 312 c. For confirmation or correction of this whole account, respecting the beginning and enlargement of the power of Rome, the reader who is desirous of particular information, will, of course, refer to the approved Roman historians.. And the royal seat of his empire was Carthage. He determined to take possession of the kingdom of the Romans : wherefore they united 3 to oppose him, and wars were multiplied between them, so that they fought eighteen4)Foot note p. 313 d. In fact, the engagements between the contending powers were far more numerous than is here stated ; the author of the book perhaps considered alone those battles which were attended by important results. battles in the space of ten years ; and they were not able to drive him out of their country, by reason of his innumerable army and people. They determined 4 therefore to raise a large force selected from their bravest troops and armies, and to attack Annibal in war, and to persevere until they should turn away his forces from them. Which thing truly 5 they did : and they placed at the head of their armies two most renowned men ; the name of one was AEmilius, and of the other Varro. Who 6 meeting Annibal engaged with him ; and there were slain of their army ninety thousand men; and of Annibal’s army forty thousand men were slain. AEmilius also was killed in that battle5)Foot note p. 313 e. The battle mentioned is that of Canine, well known to have been attended by the most disastrous results to the Romans; the consuls AEmilius Paulus and Terentius Varro being defeated with immense loss, and the former falling on the field of battle. p. 313 7 But Varro fled into a certain very large and strong city called Venusia : him Annibal did not pursue ; but he marched to Rome, to take it, and 8 there to remain. So he lay before it for eight days, and began to build houses opposite to it; 9 which when the citizens saw, they deliberated on entering into a peace and treaty with him, and on surrendering the country.

10 But there was among them a certain young man named Scipio, (for the Romans at that time were without a king, and the entire administration of their affairs was committed to three hundred and twenty6)Foot note p. 313 f. See 3 Mace. viii. 15. and the note there. men, over whom presided a 11 person who was called senior7)Foot note p. 313 g. His title was princeps senatus, a post of great dignity and honour, but unaccompanied by any extraordinary power. or elder.) Scipio therefore comes to these, and persuaded them not to trust to Annibal nor to submission to him. To whom they answered, that they did not trust him, 12 but that they were unable to resist him. To whom he said ; the country of Africa is wholly destitute of soldiers, because that they are all here with Annibal : give me therefore a troop of chosen 13 men, that I may go into Africa : and I will perform such feats in it, that when tidings of them shall reach him, perhaps he will quit you, and you will be freed from him, and will be in peace: and having retrieved and strengthened your resources, if he should prepare to return, you will be able to oppose him. 14 And the advice of Scipio appeared to them to p. 314 be right ; and they committed to him thirty thousand of their bravest men. And he proceeded 15 into Africa. And Asdrubal the brother of Annibal met him, and fought with him ; whom Scipio defeated8)Foot note p. 314 h. It will be immediately perceived that there is considerable incorrectness in this narrative : Hasdrubal was defeated and slain, not in Africa, but in Italy; and not by Scipio, but by the two consuls Marcus Livius and Claudius Nero., and cut off his head, and took it, with the rest of the prey, and returned to Rome. And mounting upon the rampart, he called to 16 Annibal, and said : How will you be able to prevail against this our country, when you are not able to expel me from your own land, to which I have gone : I have destroyed it, and have killed your brother, and have brought away his head. Then he threw the head to him. Which being 17 brought to Annibal and recognised by him, he was increased in fury and anger against the people, and sware that he would not depart till he had taken Rome.

But the citizens, to withdraw him from them, 18 and keep him in check, took counsel to send back Scipio to besiege and attack Carthage. And 19 Scipio returned with his army into Africa : and they pitched their camp around Carthage, and besieged it with a most active siege. Wherefore the 20 inhabitants wrote to Annibal, saying, You are coveting a foreign country, which you know not whether you will be able to win or not : but there has come to your own country one who is endeavouring to gain possession of it. Wherefore, if you 21 delay coming, we will surrender to him the country, and will give up your family and all your p. 315 substance and your treasures ; that we and our property may go unhurt. 22 Now when this letter was brought to him, he departed from Rome ; and hastened till he came 23 into Africa : and Scipio went forward and met him, and fought a most fierce battle with him three times, and there were slain fifty thousand of 24 his men. But Annibal, being put to flight, retired into the land of Egypt9)Foot note p. 315 i. Here again is an error of the author : Hannibal did not fly into Egypt, but sailed for Tyrus to Antiochus, king of Syria ; whom not finding there he followed, till he joined him at Antioch.; whom Scipio pursued, and took him prisoner10)Foot note p. 315 k. This part of the narrative again is incorrect. Hannibal was not taken prisoner by Scipio ; nor did he die in Africa ; but on being likely to be delivered up to the Romans by Prusias, king of Bithynia, at whose court he had taken shelter after the defeat of his friend Antiochus, he took poison, rather than fall into the hands of his old inveterate enemies., and returned to 25 Africa. And when he was there, Annibal disdained to be seen by the Africans ; wherefore he took poison and died. 26 And Scipio won the country of Africa, and possessed himself of all the goods, and servants, and 27 treasures of Annibal. By which means the fame of the Romans was magnified, and their power from that time began to receive increase.


Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF


References   [ + ]

1. Foot note p. 312 a. This same expression occurs in the Samaritan Chronicle: and it is remarked by Hottinger, that this formula of blessing is constantly added by the Arabian writers, after mentioning the name of any prophet. (Hotlingeri Exercitationes Antimoriniance, 4to. 1644. p. 05, 06.).
2. Foot note p. 312 b. Namely, in ch. xi. of his prophecy.
3. Foot note p. 312 c. For confirmation or correction of this whole account, respecting the beginning and enlargement of the power of Rome, the reader who is desirous of particular information, will, of course, refer to the approved Roman historians.
4. Foot note p. 313 d. In fact, the engagements between the contending powers were far more numerous than is here stated ; the author of the book perhaps considered alone those battles which were attended by important results.
5. Foot note p. 313 e. The battle mentioned is that of Canine, well known to have been attended by the most disastrous results to the Romans; the consuls AEmilius Paulus and Terentius Varro being defeated with immense loss, and the former falling on the field of battle.
6. Foot note p. 313 f. See 3 Mace. viii. 15. and the note there.
7. Foot note p. 313 g. His title was princeps senatus, a post of great dignity and honour, but unaccompanied by any extraordinary power.
8. Foot note p. 314 h. It will be immediately perceived that there is considerable incorrectness in this narrative : Hasdrubal was defeated and slain, not in Africa, but in Italy; and not by Scipio, but by the two consuls Marcus Livius and Claudius Nero.
9. Foot note p. 315 i. Here again is an error of the author : Hannibal did not fly into Egypt, but sailed for Tyrus to Antiochus, king of Syria ; whom not finding there he followed, till he joined him at Antioch.
10. Foot note p. 315 k. This part of the narrative again is incorrect. Hannibal was not taken prisoner by Scipio ; nor did he die in Africa ; but on being likely to be delivered up to the Romans by Prusias, king of Bithynia, at whose court he had taken shelter after the defeat of his friend Antiochus, he took poison, rather than fall into the hands of his old inveterate enemies.

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