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"Scipio Africanus - Greater Than Napoleon?" Topic

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24 Dec 2018 7:07 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian22 May 2018 7:52 p.m. PST

B.H. Liddell Hart so titled his 1926 book – do you agree?

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

Greater at what?

Winston Smith22 May 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

Let's put it this way.
Hannibal, when asked to name the greatest generals of all time, named Alexander, Pyrrhus, himself and Scipio Africanus. Not a peep about Napoleon.
Hannibal knew his business.

Finally, Scipio won. That's like counting Super Bowl rings to determine greatest quarterbacks.

nsolomon9922 May 2018 11:09 p.m. PST

Not a chance, not even close.

foxweasel22 May 2018 11:43 p.m. PST

He didn't end up defeated and exiled to a tiny island in the South Atlantic, he also knew better than to mess with the British and Russians. So by that reckoning, yes he was.

42flanker23 May 2018 12:02 a.m. PST

Isn't that like comparing aurantia with pommes de terre?

foxweasel23 May 2018 12:03 a.m. PST

Yes, but some people take this nonsense so seriously.

holdit23 May 2018 1:33 a.m. PST

"Greater at what?"

At being Scipio Africanus, of course. Napoleon was rubbish at being Scipio Africanus. On the other hand, Scipio Africanus wasn't very convincing as being Napoleon. He couldn't even manage being born in the right millenium.

In next week's question, who was better? Henry V or Rommel?

Trajanus23 May 2018 1:46 a.m. PST

Henry V of course. Rommel had to have people drive his armour around, Henry wore his own!

skinkmasterreturns23 May 2018 4:16 a.m. PST

Rommel never got his own play written by Shakespeare, either.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2018 4:44 a.m. PST

Sure he did, The similarities between Romeo and Juliet and Rommel's life are scary.

On the original question, Napoleon was a lot better at wiping out his "own" people the Scipio.

Napoleon went to North Africa, came home with like almost nothing of his army.

Scipio went to North Africa and came back with a bigger army then he started.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP23 May 2018 4:59 a.m. PST

Cupcakes are definitely greater than sixteen penny nails.

Marcus Brutus23 May 2018 5:31 a.m. PST

I think the topic is "as a general." I think Liddel Hart is correct. Africanus was undefeated in battle, defeated the greatest opponent of all time and was a master strategist. In some ways I see Africanus as similar to Wellington in style and approach. He also shared Wellington's political limitations and ended life in relative obscurity.

21eRegt23 May 2018 7:02 a.m. PST

They aren't called the Scipio Africanus Wars, so 'nuff said.

grecian195923 May 2018 7:56 a.m. PST

I must check out the Scorpio Africanus range by the Perry's …..
Ooops there is none just acres of Napoleonics
Move along nothing to see here!

holdit23 May 2018 8:18 a.m. PST

"They aren't called the Scipio Africanus Wars, so 'nuff said."

That guy Punic must have been pretty good, though…

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP23 May 2018 8:36 a.m. PST

Nothing points to your greatness more than history naming something after you … Quisling, Boycott, Molotov, Dahmer, Stalin, Manson, Dracula, Judas, Bathory, Guillotin, Chauvin (one of Napoleon's soliders), Ponzi, McCarthy, de Sade, Draco …

Winston Smith23 May 2018 9:00 a.m. PST

Publius Cornelius Scipio was nicknamed "Africanus" because he conquered Africa.

Get back to me when you dig up that Napoleon Bonaparte gloried in the name Napoleon Russiacanus. Or Napoleon Brittanicus.

Mad Malx23 May 2018 10:42 a.m. PST

At the risk of causing utter chaos and upsetting the Napoleon worshippers. He wasn't even the best at being Napoleon -unless of course he intended to squander lives, pick the wrong friends and wives and leave the balance of power in Europe a mess for the best part of the 19th century

USAFpilot In the TMP Dawghouse23 May 2018 10:43 a.m. PST

Ever hear of the Napoleonic Code? It still forms the basis of legal systems used by many countries around the world.

Korvessa23 May 2018 11:14 a.m. PST

I am very much an amateur and rather doubt anyone really cares what I think, much less be persuaded by it, but nonetheless here goes.
1) I never thought "he won" was all that convincing about who is best general. To use an American sports analogy, Dan Marino and Jim Kelley never won a suoerbowl, but are far better quarterbacks than many who did.
To use a history example, the Russians beat the Finns in World War II – but does anyone seriously think they had better generals than Mannerheim, Talvela or Siilasvuo?
2) Scipio spent most of his career fighting the "B-team"
Yes he won at Zama, but I think that had as much to do with getting most of the Numidians over to his side as any brilliant tactics on his part.
Hannibal's army wasn't what it had been. Could Scipio have beaten the army of Cannae? Who knows – I sure don't.
3) To me, a good general wins battles he should, but great ones win battles they aren't expected to.

Napoleon wasn't perfect, and to quote my pops, "he let his eyes get bigger than his stomach" but prior to about 1809 – he was the best ever.

42flanker23 May 2018 11:26 a.m. PST


Marcus Brutus23 May 2018 11:27 a.m. PST

There is no question that Napoleon dominated his era more than Scipio Africanus dominated his. That doesn't make Napoleon the superior general which is what Liddell Hart is arguing for. When it comes to both strategic concepts and tactical execution Africanus is probably the greatest general of all time. That is not taking anything away from Napoleon. But remember Napoleon was head of state and head of government which allowed him a latitude that Scipio did not enjoy.

williamb23 May 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

Scipio had a continent named after him %~D

Winston Smith23 May 2018 9:03 p.m. PST

Other way around, but still…

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 May 2018 11:10 p.m. PST

Scipio had a droid named after him. evil grin

foxweasel23 May 2018 11:33 p.m. PST

And a sport.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 2:45 a.m. PST

Liddel Hart should be taken with a very large salt pill.

Marcus Brutus24 May 2018 5:23 a.m. PST

Liddell Hart is actually one of the most insightful historians and military thinkers of the 20th century. Doesn't make him necessarily right on this one but he deserves a fair hearing. Having read the book I think he makes a strong case.

Mad Malx24 May 2018 3:08 p.m. PST

Has anyone ever watched the Intelligence Squared debate on "Napoleon the Great?" Try a search for it on You Tube. It's well worth watching.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 4:03 p.m. PST

Editor in Chief Bill for the win! laugh

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 9:35 p.m. PST

Well, at ability to conquer and pacify Spain they're about equals.

Marc at work25 May 2018 3:45 a.m. PST

Scipop had a make of potato starch snacks named after him

Napoleon's troops had more colourful uniforms, so that makes him better in my eyes.

Trajanus25 May 2018 10:02 a.m. PST

Parzival – You Creep! :o)

42flanker25 May 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

Scipop had a make of potato starch snacks named after him

Scipio Pringilius?

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2018 3:39 a.m. PST


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