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Ancient Historiography and its ContextsStudies in Honour of A. J. Woodman$
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Christina S. Kraus, John Marincola, and Christopher Pelling

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558681.001.0001

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Scipio the Matchmaker

Scipio the Matchmaker

(p.60) 3 Scipio the Matchmaker
Ancient Historiography and its Contexts

Jane D. Chaplin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores why Livy chose to shape Scipio Africanus' encounter with the Spanish maiden in Book 26 as a positive variant on the Lucretia narrative. Where the rape of Lucretia triggers the overthrow of the monarchy, Scipio's restrained behaviour towards the Spanish maiden leads to local alliances and military support. Comparison with Polybius illuminates Livy's emphasis on the connection between abstinence and diplomatic success. Further, the revisiting and amplification of the episode when Scipio rebukes Masinissa for trying to protect Sophoniba show the centrality of this theme to Livy's conception of Scipio. The chapter then uses the trials of the Scipios to consider the similarities and differences between Scipio and 1st-century warlords, and argues that Scipio's failure to capitalize on his extra-constitutional status distinguishes him from Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar, and explains his value for a reversal of Lucretia's story.

Keywords:   Lucretia, Masinissa, Polybius, Scipio Africanus, Sophoniba, warlords

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