Quintus Fabius Pictor

Quintus Fabius Pictor (born c. 270 BC, fl. about 200 BC)[1] was the earliest Roman historiographer and is considered the first of the annalists. He was a member of the Senate, and a member of the gens Fabia.


Fabius was the son of Gaius Fabius Pictor, consul in 269 BC. His cognomen Pictor (Latin for "painter") had been acquired by his grandfather G. Fabius Pictor, who is the earliest Roman painter known to us.

Q. Fabius Pictor led Roman forces against the Gauls in 225 BC. In 216 BC, during the Second Punic War, he was appointed to travel to the oracle at Delphi in Greece to seek guidance after the disastrous Roman defeat to Hannibal at Cannae.


Fabius wrote a history of Rome in Greek; it has not survived but is partially known through quotations and allusions in later authors. It is not certain whether the work was annalistic, recounting events year by year, although citation of his work by other historians implies that it was.[2]

He used the records of his own and other important Roman families as sources and drew on the writings of the Greek historians Diocles of Peparethus, who allegedly wrote an early history of Rome, and Timaeus, who had written about Rome in his history of the Western Greeks.

His history began with the arrival of the legendary Trojan refugee Aeneas in Latium. He dated the founding of Rome to be in the "first year of the eighth Olympiad" or 747 BC.[3] His work ended with his own recollections of the Second Punic War, although it is unclear whether he survived long enough to record it entirely. His account was highly partisan towards Rome, blaming the war on Carthage and particularly on the Barca family of Hamilcar and Hannibal.


Fabius was used as a source by Gellius and Quadrigarius,[2] Plutarch,[4] Polybius, Livy, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Despite his use of Fabius's history, Polybius complained about the quality of his work, saying that Fabius had been biased towards the Romans and inconsistent.[5] Cicero references a Latin translation of Fabius's work.

An anonymous Account of the Roman History of Fabius Pictor was published in 1749,[6] claiming that a manuscript in the "Carthaginian language" had been discovered in the ruins of Herculaneum near Pompeii. In fact, it was a political satire on English religion and politics at the time.[7]


  1. ^ Frier, Bruce W., Libri Annales Pontificum Maximorum University of Michigan Press, 2nd edition 1999, p. 231
  2. ^ a b Frier, Bruce W. (1979), Libri Annales Pontificum Maximorum: The Origins of the Annalistic Tradition, Papers & Monographs of the American Academy in Rome, No. XXVII, Rome: American Academy, p. 260.
  3. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, I.74.
  4. ^ Plut., Parallel Lives: The Life of Romulus.
  5. ^ Polybius, 1.14–15
  6. ^ Some Account of the Roman History of Fabius Pictor from a Manuscript Lately Discover'd in Herculaneum, the Underground City near Naples, in a Letter from an English Gentleman Residing at Naples to His Friend at London, London: M. Cooper, 1749.
  7. ^ Moormann, Eric M. (2015), Pompeii's Ashes: The Reception of the Cities Buried by Vesuvius in Literature, Music, and Drama, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 335-336.

Further reading

  • Du Rieu, Willem Nikolaas. Disputatio de Gente Fabia; Accedunt Fabiorum Pictorum et Serviliani Fragmenta. Lugduni Batavorum: Van der Hoek, 1856.
  • Cornell, T. J. (ed.) The Fragments of the Roman Historians, 3 volumes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

External links

1st millennium BC

The 1st millennium BC is the period of time between from the year 1000 BC to 1 BC (10th to 1st centuries BC; in astronomy: JD 1356182.5 – 1721425.5).

It encompasses the Iron Age in the Old World and sees the transition from the Ancient Near East to classical antiquity.

World population roughly doubled over the course of the millennium,

from about 100 million to about 200–250 million.

210s BC

This article concerns the period 219 BC – 210 BC.

== Events ==

=== 219 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Egypt ======

Following the defection of one of Ptolemy IV's leading commanders, Egypt's Syrian territories are seriously threatened by Antiochus III, thus initiating the Fourth Syrian War. When the Seleucid ruler captures the important eastern Mediterranean sea ports of Seleucia-in-Pieria, Tyre, and Ptolemais, Ptolemy IV's advisor, Sosibius, and the Ptolemaic court enter into delaying negotiations with the enemy, while the Ptolemaic army is reorganized and intensively drilled.

The former King of Sparta, Cleomenes III, escapes from his Egyptian prison and, after failing to raise a revolt in Alexandria, takes his own life.

====== Roman Republic ======

The Romans extend their area of domination around the head of the Adriatic Sea as far as the peninsula of Histria by the conquest of peoples who dwell to the east of the Veneti. Thus, with the exception of Liguria and the upper valley of the Po River, all Italy south of the Alps is brought within the Roman sphere.

====== Carthage ======

Hannibal lays siege to Saguntum thus initiating the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. Saguntum is an independent Iberian Peninsula city south of the Ebro River. In the treaty between Rome and Carthage concluded in 226 BC, the Ebro had been set as the northern limit of Carthaginian influence in the Iberian Peninsula. Saguntum is south of the Ebro, but the Romans have "friendship" with the city and regard the Carthaginian attack on it as an act of war. The siege of Saguntum lasts eight months, and in it Hannibal is severely wounded. The Romans, who send envoys to Carthage in protest, demand the surrender of Hannibal.

====== Greece ======

The Roman Senate sends the consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus to Illyria with an army. On discovering Rome's intent, the Illyrian leader Demetrius of Pharos puts to death those Illyrians who oppose his rule, fortifies Dimale and goes to Pharos. After a seven-day siege by the Roman fleet under Lucius Aemilius Paulus, Dimale is taken by direct assault. From Dimale, the Roman navy heads to Pharos, where the Roman forces rout the Illyrians. Demetrius flees to Macedonia, where he becomes a trusted councilor at the court of King Philip V.

The Cretan city of Kydonia joins the Aetolian alliance.

====== China ======

Qin Shi Huang orders his generals to capture present-day Guangdong and Guangxi.

=== 218 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Carthage ======

A Carthaginian army under Hannibal attacks Rome's Spanish allies. Roman inactivity encourages Hannibal to embark on a daring campaign: the conquest of Spain as far north as the Pyrenees, a clear violation of the Ebro River treaty of the First Punic War. Hasdrubal, the second son of Hamilcar Barca, is left in command of Spain when his brother Hannibal begins his campaign.

Hannibal sets out with around 40,000 men and 50 elephants from New Carthage (Cartagena) to northern Spain and then into the Pyrenees where his army meets with stiff resistance from the Pyrenean tribes. This opposition and the desertion of some of his Spanish troops greatly diminishes his numbers, but he reaches the Rhône River facing little resistance from the tribes of southern Gaul.

After crossing the Rhône River and meeting with friendly Gallic leaders headed by the northern Italian Boii, whose knowledge of the Alpine passes are of assistance to Hannibal, the Carthaginians cross the Durance River. Hannibal's army approaches the Alps either by the Col de Grimone or the Col de Cabre, then through the basin of the Durance descending into the territory of the hostile Taurini, where Hannibal storms their chief town (modern Turin).

====== Roman Republic ======

A Roman army under the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio is transported by sea to Massilia (modern Marseille) to prevent Hannibal from advancing on Italy. As Scipio moves northward along the right bank of the Rhône, he learns that Hannibal has already crossed the river. Realizing that Hannibal probably plans to cross the Alps, Scipio returns to northern Italy to await him. However, he still sends an army into Spain under his elder brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus to deal with the Carthaginian forces still there.

A second Roman army, under the other consul, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, assembles in Sicily to embark for Northern Africa.

A Roman army under Scipio rushes to the Po River to protect the recently founded Roman colonies of Placentia (modern Piacenza) and Cremona. Hannibal's forces meet the army of Scipio on the plains west of the Ticino River in the Battle of Ticinus, and Hannibal's Numidian cavalry prevails over the Romans. Scipio is severely wounded, and the Romans withdraw to Placentia.

The Roman Senate, appalled by the early setback at Ticinus, orders Tiberius Sempronius Longus to travel from Sicily to reinforce Publius Cornelius Scipio's troops.

December 18 – The combined Roman armies under Tiberius Sempronius Longus and Scipio meet Hannibal on the left bank of the Trebia River south of Placentia and are soundly defeated in the Battle of the Trebia.

Hannibal's victory over the Romans brings both the Gauls and the Ligurians to Hannibal's side, so his army is considerably augmented by Celtic recruits.

Melita (Malta) is incorporated into the Roman Republic.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Negotiations between the new Egyptian King Ptolemy IV and the Seleucid King Antiochus III collapse, and Antiochus III renews his advance, overrunning Ptolemy's forward defences. Antiochus III gains territory in Lebanon, Palestine and Phoenicia.

=== 217 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

Gaius Flaminius is re-elected consul with Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, in what is considered to be a rebuke of the Senate's prosecution of the war. Flaminius raises new legions and marches north to meet the Carthaginian general Hannibal.

Hannibal advances to the Arno River and then outmanoeuvres the army of Gaius Flaminius at Arretium and reaches Faesulae (modern Fiesole) and Perugia.

June 24 – On the northern shore of Lake Trasimene, in Umbria, Hannibal's troops all but annihilate Gaius Flaminius' army in the Battle of Trasimene, killing thousands (including Flaminius) and driving others to drown in the lake. Reinforcements of about 4,000 cavalry from Ariminum under the praetor, Gaius Centenius, are intercepted before they arrive and are also destroyed. The Carthaginian troops then march on Rome.

Gaius Flaminius' supporters in the Senate begin to lose power to the more aristocratic factions as the Romans fear Hannibal is about to besiege their city. The Senate appoint Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus as dictator.

Quintus Fabius Maximus begins his strategy of "delay". This involves avoiding a set battle with the Carthaginians and creating a "scorched earth" area around Hannibal's army. Manoeuvring among the hills, where Hannibal's cavalry is ineffective, Fabius cuts off his enemy's supplies and harasses Hannibal’s forces incessantly. Fabius gains the name Cunctator (The Delayer) for this strategy.

Hannibal ravages Apulia and Campania; meanwhile the delaying tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus' army allows only skirmishes to occur between the two armies.

Fabius' delaying policy becomes increasingly unpopular in Rome, and Fabius is compelled to return to Rome to defend his actions under the guise of observing some religious obligations. Marcus Minucius Rufus, the master of horse, is left in command and manages to catch the Carthaginians off guard near their camp in Geronium and inflicts severe losses on them in a large skirmish. This "victory" causes the Romans, disgruntled with Fabius, to elevate Minucius to the equal rank of dictator with Fabius.

Minucius takes command of half the army and camps separately from Fabius near Geronium. Hannibal, informed of this development, lays an elaborate trap, which draws out Minucius and his army and then Hannibal attacks it from all sides. The timely arrival of Fabius with the other half of the army enables Minucius to escape after a severe mauling. After the battle, Minucius turns over his army to Fabius and resumes the duties of Master of Horse.

====== Egypt ======

June 22 – Egyptian native hoplites under Ptolemy IV crushes the Seleucid army under Antiochus III in the Battle of Raphia near Gaza. The realization of their military importance leads to demands by native Egyptians for greater privileges and so to the development of racial difficulties which will weaken the Ptolemy dynasty in the future.

Although holding the initiative after the Battle of Raphia, Ptolemy IV, on his chief minister Sosibius' advice, negotiates a peace, and the Seleucid army withdraws from Coele Syria. Antiochus III gives up all his conquests except the city of Seleucia-in-Pieria.

====== Greece ======

Philip V of Macedon, continuing his war with the Aetolian League laid siege to Phthiotic Thebes, captured it and sold the inhabitants into slavery.

Learning of Hannibal's victory over the Romans at Lake Trasimene and seeing a chance to recover his Illyrian kingdom from the Romans, Demetrius of Pharos immediately advises Philip V to make peace with the Aetolians, and turn his attentions toward Illyria and Italy. Philip, at once begins negotiations with the Aetolians. At a conference on the coast near Naupactus, Philip meets the Aetolian leaders and a peace treaty is concluded, ending the three-year-long "Social War".

====== Spain ======

Publius Cornelius Scipio is sent with reinforcements by Rome to Spain as proconsul. In a naval battle on the Ebro River at Tarraco, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal's fleet is largely destroyed by a daring surprise Roman attack led by Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus. As a result, the Romans are able to strengthen their hold on the Ebro River region.

=== 216 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, moves his forces southward through Italy and seizes the large army supply depot at Cannae on the Aufidus River.

August 2 – The Battle of Cannae (east of Naples) ends in victory for Hannibal whose 40,000-man army defeats a Roman force of 70,000 led by consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus (who is killed in the battle) and Gaius Terentius Varro. Probably in excess of 50.000 troops are killed, making this perhaps the deadliest one-day battle in all history.

A loan of money and supplies for the Roman army in Sicily is sought and obtained from Hiero II of Syracuse.

The Roman historian Quintus Fabius Pictor is sent to Delphi in Greece to consult the Oracle for advice about what Rome should do after its defeat in the Battle of Cannae.

Following Hannibal's victory, many regions begin to defect from Rome, while others are conquered by Hannibal's forces. In Apulia, Lucania, Samnium and in Bruttium, Hannibal finds many supporters.

The city of Capua switches sides to join Hannibal and the Carthaginian army winters there.

After the defeat at Cannae, Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, commands the remnants of the Roman army at Canusium and saves the city of Nola and southern Campania from occupation by Hannibal.

A Roman force of 25,000 led by Lucius Postumius Albinus is ambushed by Gauls near Litana and almost completely wiped out.

====== Spain ======

Hasdrubal is ordered by the Carthaginian government to march to Italy.

Roman forces in Spain led by Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and Publius Cornelius Scipio successfully thwart Hasdrubal's attempt to march to Italy.

====== Syracuse ======

The Carthaginian fleet ravages the territory of The Kingdom of Syracuse.

====== Greece ======

Philip V of Macedon, still resenting Rome's interference in Illyrian politics, seizes his opportunity to invade Illyria. Ambassadors from Philip V visit Hannibal at his headquarters in Italy. These actions mark the beginning of the First Macedonian War between Rome and Macedonia.

====== Egypt ======

A revolt of the Egyptian peasants is put down by Ptolemy IV.

=== 215 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Carthage ======

The Carthaginians fail to recapture Sardinia.

====== Spain ======

The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, is denied any reinforcements from Spain for his forces now based in Italy by the activities of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, who, in a battle at Dertosa near the Ebro River effectively stop the Carthaginian general, Hasdrubal's attempt to break through to Italy.

====== Roman Republic ======

The Roman law, Lex Oppia, is instituted by Gaius Oppius, a tribune of the plebs during the consulship of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. The Lex Oppia is the first of a series of sumptuary laws introduced in Rome. It not only restricts women's wealth, but also their displaying it.

The Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, again repulses an attack by Hannibal on the city of Nola.

Hannibal's forces occupy the cities of Heraclea and Thurii. However, Hannibal is unable to prevent the Romans from besieging Capua.

====== Greece ======

Philip V of Macedon and Hannibal negotiate an alliance under which they pledge mutual support and defence. Specifically, they agree to support each other against Rome, and that Hannibal shall have the right to make peace with Rome, but that any peace would include Philip and that Rome would be forced to give up control of Corcyra, Apollonia, Epidamnus, Pharos, Dimale, Parthini and Atintania and to restore to Demetrius of Pharos all his lands currently controlled by Rome.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

The Seleucid king, Antiochus III, crosses the Taurus, uniting his forces with Attalus of Pergamum and, in one campaign, deprives his rebel general, Achaeus, of all his dominions and takes Sardis (with the exception of the citadel).

=== 214 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Carthage ======

Carthage persuades Syracuse to revolt against Rome and ally itself with Carthage instead.

====== Roman Republic ======

Roman legions led by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus defeat Hanno's Carthaginian forces in a battle near Beneventum, thus denying Hannibal much needed reinforcements.

The Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who is in Sicily at the time of the revolt of Syracuse, leads an army which storms Leontini and besieges Syracuse. With the help of Archimedes' ideas and inventions, the Syracusans repel his attacks by sea.

The censors Publius Furius Philus and Marcus Atilius Regulus condemn and degrade (i.e. lose rank in Roman society and politics) two groups of Romans of high rank, including senators and equestrians. The first group are those Roman officers captured by Hannibal's forces in the Battle of Cannae who have come as Carthaginian hostages to Rome to plead for their ransom (and those of their fellow prisoners), and who then refuse to return to Carthaginian captivity when the Senate refuses to ransom any prisoners. The second group are those Romans who have advocated surrender to Carthage after the Battle of Cannae, or who have made plans to flee Rome and offer their services in Greece, Egypt, or Asia Minor.

====== Greece ======

Philip V of Macedon attempts an invasion of Illyria by sea with a fleet of 120 craft. He captures Oricum and, sailing up the Aous (modern Vjosë) river, he besieges Apollonia.

Upon receiving word from Oricum of Philip V's actions in Illyria, Roman propraetor Marcus Valerius Laevinus crosses the Adriatic with his fleet and army. Landing at Oricum, Laevinus is able to retake the town with little fighting.

Laevinus sends 2,000 men under the command of Quintus Naevius Crista, to Apollonia. Catching Philip's forces by surprise, Quintus Naevius Crista attacks and routs their camp. Philip V is able to escape back to Macedonia, after burning his fleet and leaving many thousands of his men dead or as prisoners of the Romans.

====== Asia ======

Panyu (present-day Guangzhou, or Canton) is established as a city.

Qin Shi Huang orders general Ren Xiao (任囂), commanding 200,000 troops, to conquer the kingdoms in present-day northern Vietnam.

The Qin armies defeat an army of 300,000 Xiongnu/Hun cavalrymen and expand their territories along the north basin of the Yellow River.

=== 213 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Seleucid Empire ======

In alliance with Attalus I of Pergamum, Antiochus III finally captures the rebel king of Anatolia, Achaeus, in his capital, Sardis, after a siege of two years. Antiochus III then has Achaeus executed.

====== Roman Republic ======

Casilinum and Arpi are recovered by the Romans from Hannibal.

====== Sicily ======

Archimedes's war machines repel the Roman army that is invading Syracuse.

====== China ======

Emperor Qin Shi Huang orders all Confucian writings destroyed in the burning of books and burying of scholars.

=== 212 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

After being stopped twice by the Romans in his attempts to invade Illyria by sea, and constrained by the Roman commander Marcus Valerius Laevinus' fleet in the Adriatic, Philip V of Macedon keeps his activities in Illyria land based. Keeping clear of the coast, he takes the inland towns of Atintania, Dimale and Lissus and subdues the Greek tribe of the Dassaretae and the Illyrian tribes of the Parthini and the Ardiaei.

====== Thrace ======

Tylis is destroyed by the Thracians.

====== Carthage ======

Syphax, king of the western Numidian tribe, the Masaesyli, concludes an alliance with the Romans and they send military advisers to help Syphax train his soldiers. He then attacks the eastern Numidians (the Massylii) ruled by Gala, who is an ally of the Carthaginians. The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal travels to northern Africa from Spain to stamp out the uprising by the Numidians.

====== Spain ======

The Roman generals Publius Cornelius Scipio and his elder brother, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, capture Saguntum (modern Sagunto) from the Carthaginians.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Antiochus III leaves for a campaign in Asia, where he will reach as far as India and mostly manage to recover the areas conquered earlier by Alexander the Great.

Having recovered the central part of Anatolia from the usurper Achaeus, Antiochus III turns his forces to recover the outlying provinces to the north and east of the Seleucid kingdom.

Antiochus III gives his sister Antiochia in marriage to King Xerxes of Armenia, who acknowledges Antiochus III's suzerainty and pays him tribute.

====== Roman Republic ======

Publius Licinius Crassus Dives is elected "pontifex maximus" over more distinguished candidates, despite never having held any major offices. He will hold this position until his death.

The Roman soldiers billeted in Tarentum so alienate the citizens of the city that conspirators admit the Carthaginian general Hannibal to the city. The conspirators then defeat the Roman contingent in it. Hannibal keeps control of his troops so that looting is limited to Roman houses. The citadel in Tarentum remains under Roman control, which denies Hannibal the use of the harbour.

The Roman consuls, Appius Claudius Pulcher and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, besiege Capua with eight legions. Hanno the Elder moves to Beneventum to try to help the inhabitants of Capua, but he is defeated by the Romans.

The Capuans then send an appeal for help to Hannibal. In response, Hannibal sends 2,000 Numidian cavalry as reinforcements to Capua. The combined Carthaginian forces defeat the Roman force led by Flaccus and Pulcher, the latter of whom will soon die of wounds he has sustained.

The Battle of the Silarus is fought between Hannibal's army and a Roman force led by praetor Marcus Centenius Penula. The Carthaginians are victorious, effectively destroying Centenius Penula's army.

The Battle of Herdonia is fought between Hannibal's Carthaginian army and Roman forces who are laying siege to Herdonia led by praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus, brother of the consul, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. The Roman army is destroyed, leaving Apulia free of Romans for the year.

After a two years' siege, Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, gradually forces his way into Syracuse and takes it in the face of strong Carthaginian reinforcements and despite the use of engines of war designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes (such as the Claw of Archimedes).

Although Marcellus wishes to spare the lives of the Syracusans, he is unable to prevent the sack of the city by his soldiers, which includes the killing of Archimedes. Marcellus carries off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which is to become common.

=== 211 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Antiochus III's sister arranges for the removal of Armenia's king Xerxes, whom she has recently married. Antiochus III then divides the country into two satrapies.

====== Carthage ======

The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal Barca returns to Spain after his victory over the rebellious Numidians. He then manages to turn the tide against the Romans in Spain, with the Roman generals Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus killed in separate battles—Publius on the upper Baetis (Guadalquivir) and Gnaeus in the hinterland of Carthago Nova (Cartagena). The Carthaginians recover all their territory south of the Ebro.

====== Roman Republic ======

With the capture of Syracuse, the Romans are able to pacify all of Sicily.

The Romans besiege the town of Capua (which is allied with Hannibal). The town eventually falls to the Romans and its citizens are punished by them. The town's nobility are put to the sword, its territory is confiscated and its municipal organisation is dissolved.

Hannibal marches northwards on the city of Rome in a belated and unsuccessful effort to capture the city.

Rome faces the burdens of inflation and the danger of famine, caused by the disturbed conditions in Italy and Sicily and the withdrawal of so many men from farming. The situation is only relieved by an urgent appeal by the Romans to the King of Egypt, Ptolemy IV, from whom grain is purchased at three times the usual price.

====== Greece ======

The Roman commander Marcus Valerius Laevinus explores the possibility of an alliance with the Aetolian League as the Aetolians are once again ready to consider taking up arms against their traditional enemy, Macedonia. A treaty is signed to counter Philip V of Macedon who is allied to Hannibal. Under the treaty, the Aetolians are to conduct operations on land, the Romans at sea. Also, Rome will keep any slaves and other booty taken and Aetolia will receive control of any territory acquired.

====== Parthia ======

Arsaces II succeeds his father Arsaces I as King of Parthia.

=== 210 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

Following the death of his father, Publius Cornelius Scipio, and his uncle, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, at the hands of the Carthaginians, the young Publius Cornelius Scipio takes over command of the Roman troops in Spain. His appointment reflects the Roman Senate's dissatisfaction with the cautious strategy of the propraetor, Gaius Claudius Nero, then commander in Spain north of the Ebro.

The famine and inflation facing Rome is eased with the pacification by the Romans of Sicily.

The Carthaginian general Hannibal proves his superiority in tactics by inflicting a severe defeat at Herdonia in Apulia upon a proconsular army, slaying the consul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus Maximus.

The Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus is elected consul for the fourth time and takes Salapia in Apulia, which has revolted and joined forces with Hannibal.

The Spanish language evolved from Vulgar Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans during the Second Punic War.

====== Egypt ======

Arsinoe III, wife and sister of King Ptolemy IV gives birth to the future Ptolemy V Epiphanes. Thereafter, she is sequestered in the palace, while Ptolemy's depraved male and female favourites ruin both the king and his government of Egypt. Although Arsinoe III disapproves of the sordid state of the court, she is unable to exert any influence.

====== Greece ======

After allying with Hannibal, Philip V of Macedon attacks the Roman positions in Illyria, but fails to take Corcyra or Apollonia, which are protected by the Roman fleet. Rome's command of the sea prevents his lending any effective aid to his Carthaginian ally in Italy. The Aetolians, Sparta and King Attalus of Pergamum join the Romans in the war against Philip V. This coalition is so strong that Philip V has to stop attacking Roman territory.

====== China ======

Qin Er Shi becomes Emperor of the Qin Dynasty of China.

The Terracotta Army in the mausoleum of Emperor Shihuangdi, Lintong, Shaanxi, is made (Qin Dynasty) (approximate date).

216 BC

Year 216 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Varro and Paullus (or, less frequently, year 538 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 216 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (; Greek: Αἰνείας, Aineías, possibly derived from Greek αἰνή meaning "praised") was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of Troy (both being grandsons of Ilus, founder of Troy), making Aeneas a second cousin to Priam's children (such as Hector and Paris). He is a character in Greek mythology and is mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology, most extensively in Virgil's Aeneid, where he is cast as an ancestor of Romulus and Remus. He became the first true hero of Rome. Snorri Sturluson identifies him with the Norse Æsir Vidarr.

Ancient literature

Before the spread of writing, oral literature did not always survive well, though some texts and fragments have persisted. August Nitschke sees some fairy tales as literary survivals dating back to Ice Age and Stone Age narrators.

Annales (Ennius)

Annales (Latin: [anˈnaː.leːs]; Annals) is the name of a highly fragmentary Latin epic poem written by the Roman poet Ennius in the 2nd century BC. While only snippets of the work survive today, the poem's influence on Latin literature was significant. Although written in Latin, stylistically it borrows from the Greek poetic tradition, particularly the works of Homer, and is written in dactylic hexameter. The poem was significantly larger than others from the period, and eventually comprised 18 books.

The subject of the poem is the early history of the Roman state. It is thought to be based mostly on Greek records and the work of Quintus Fabius Pictor. Initially viewed as an important cultural work, it fell out of use sometime in the 4th century AD. No manuscripts survived through the Middle Ages. When interest in the work was revived during the Renaissance period the poem was largely reconstructed from quotations contained in other works. Subsequent academic study of the poem has confirmed its significance for its period.

Battle of Cannae

The Battle of Cannae () was a major battle of the Second Punic War that took place on 2 August 216 BC in Apulia, in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage, under Hannibal, surrounded and decisively defeated a larger army of the Roman Republic under the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. It is regarded both as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history and as one of the worst defeats in Roman history.

Having recovered from their losses at Trebia (218 BC) and Lake Trasimene (217 BC), the Romans decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, with approximately 86,000 Roman and allied troops. They massed their heavy infantry in a deeper formation than usual, while Hannibal used the double-envelopment tactic and surrounded his enemy, trapping the majority of the Roman army, who were then slaughtered. The loss of life on the Roman side was one of the most lethal single day's fighting in history; Adrian Goldsworthy equates the death toll at Cannae to "the massed slaughter of the British Army on the first day of the Somme offensive in 1916." Only about 15,000 Romans, most of whom were from the garrisons of the camps and had not taken part in the battle, escaped death. Following the defeat, Capua and several other Italian city-states defected from the Roman Republic to Carthage.

As news of this defeat reached Rome, the city was gripped in panic. Authorities resorted to extraordinary measures, which included consulting the Sibylline Oracles, dispatching a delegation led by Quintus Fabius Pictor to consult the Delphic oracle in Greece, and burying four people alive as a sacrifice to their Gods. To raise two new legions, the authorities lowered the draft age and enlisted criminals, debtors and even slaves. Despite the extreme loss of men and equipment, and a second massive defeat later that same year at Silva Litana, the Romans refused to surrender to Hannibal. His offer to ransom survivors was brusquely refused. With grim determination the Romans fought for 14 more years until they achieved victory at the Battle of Zama.

Although for most of the following decades the battle was seen solely as a major Roman disaster, by modern times Cannae acquired a mythic quality, and is often used as an example of the perfect defeat of an enemy army. It was studied by German strategists prior to World War II, and General Norman Schwartzkopf claimed to have drawn inspiration from Hannibal's success for his devastatingly effective land offensive in the First Gulf War.

Battle of Lake Trasimene

The Battle of Lake Trasimene (21 June 217 BC) was a major battle in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians under Hannibal defeated the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius. Hannibal's victory over the Roman army at Lake Trasimene remains, in terms of the number of men involved, the largest ambush in military history. In the prelude to the battle, Hannibal also achieved the earliest known example of a strategic turning movement.

Bird ringing

Bird ringing or bird banding is the attachment of a small, individually numbered metal or plastic tag to the leg or wing of a wild bird to enable individual identification. This helps in keeping track of the movements of the bird and its life history. It is common to take measurements and examine conditions of feather molt, subcutaneous fat, age indications and sex during capture for ringing. The subsequent recapture or recovery of the bird can provide information on migration, longevity, mortality, population, territoriality, feeding behavior, and other aspects that are studied by ornithologists. Other methods of marking birds may also be used to allow for field based identification that does not require capture.

Diocles of Peparethus

Diocles of Peparethus (Greek: Διοκλῆς; fl. late 4th – early 3rd century BC) was a historian from the Greek island of Peparethus. His works are lost, but they included histories of Persia and Rome: Quintus Fabius Pictor and Plutarch acknowledge their debts to the latter as a source for their histories of early Rome, its native traditions and ancestral Greek connections. Fabius' work survives only as a brief but historically significant catalogue summary. Plutarch seems to have relied on Fabius' history but acknowledges Diocles as its basis and authority. Diocles' own sources are unknown. He may have had access to Roman sources and traditions on which he foisted Greek interpretations and interpolations.

Little else is known of Diocles. He appears to have been a figure of note, well travelled, and abstemious; Athenaeus cites Demetrius of Scepsis to attest that Diocles "drank cold water to the day of his death".


A flamen was a priest of the ancient Roman religion who was assigned to one of fifteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic. The most important three were the flamines maiores (or "major priests"), who served the important Roman gods Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. The remaining twelve were the flamines minores ("lesser priests"). Two of the minores cultivated deities whose names are now unknown; among the others are deities about whom little is known other than the name. During the Imperial era, the cult of a deified emperor (divus) also had a flamen.

The fifteen Republican flamens were part of the Pontifical College which administered state-sponsored religion. When the office of flamen was vacant, a pontifex could serve as a temporary replacement, although only the Pontifex Maximus is known to have substituted for the Flamen Dialis, one of the flamines maiores.

Founding of Rome

The tale of the Founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves as the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf as infants in the 8th century BC. Another account, set earlier in time, claims that the Roman people are descended from Trojan War hero Aeneas, who escaped to Italy after the war, and whose son, Iulus, was the ancestor of the family of Julius Caesar. The archaeological evidence of human occupation of the area of modern-day Rome, Italy dates from about 14,000 years ago.

Gaius Fabius Pictor

Gaius (or Caius) Fabius Pictor made some of the earliest Roman paintings that have survived. At least some of his works were painted in 304 BC. No tradition of Roman painting exists earlier than the time of Fabius, nor does his example appear to have been followed by any of his contemporaries; for an interval of nearly a hundred and fifty years occurs before any mention is made of another Roman painter.

Fabius, called Pictor, a Roman artist, descended from the celebrated family of the Fabii, painted principally at Rome. Pictor was the grandfather of the Roman historian Quintus Fabius Pictor. In 304 BC, Pictor decorated the Temple of Salus on the Quirinal Hill, with a representation (presumably) of the battle gained by Bubulcus over the Samnites. His paintings were preserved until the reign of the Emperor Gaius, when the temple was destroyed by fire. They were probably held in little estimation, as Pliny, to whom they must have been known, neither acquaints us with the subjects, nor commends the execution.

The art of painting in its rude and early forms was general in Italy, but was founded on the Etruscan style, which never advanced beyond a flat polychromatic treatment. In regards to the fine arts, Rome owes all to Greece, but in painting never acquired the individuality in which it did in the other arts. Painting was then little respected by the Romans, and that the title of Pictor was not considered as an honourable distinction, but rather intended to stigmatize the illustrious character who had degraded his dignity by the practice of an art which was held in no consideration, may be inferred from a passage of Cicero, in the first book of his Tusculan Disputations: "An censemus si Fabio nobilissimo homini laudatum esset quod pingeret, non multos etiam apud nos Polycletos et Parrhasios fuisse." (That is: "Do we imagine that if it had been considered commendable in Fabius, a man of the highest rank, to paint, we should not have had many Polycleti and Parrbasii.")

Old Latin

Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin, refers to the Latin language in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of Classical Latin. (In New and Contemporary Latin, this language is called prisca Latinitas ("ancient Latin") rather than vetus Latina ("old Latin"), as vetus Latina is used to refer to a set of Biblical texts written in Late Latin.) It is ultimately descended from the Proto-Italic language.

The use of "old", "early" and "archaic" has been standard in publications of Old Latin writings since at least the 18th century. The definition is not arbitrary, but the terms refer to writings with spelling conventions and word forms not generally found in works written under the Roman Empire. This article presents some of the major differences.

The earliest known specimen of the Latin language appears on the Praeneste fibula. A new analysis performed in 2011 declared it to be genuine "beyond any reasonable doubt" and dating from the Orientalizing period, in the first half of the seventh century BC.

Quintus (disambiguation)

Quintus may refer to:

Quintus, a Latin praenomen in ancient Rome

Quintus, a given name and a surname in various languages

Rhea Silvia

Rhea Silvia (also written as Rea Silvia), and also known as Ilia , was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita Libri of Livy and in fragments from Ennius, Annales and Quintus Fabius Pictor.


Romulus () was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the mythical Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

Romulus and Remus

In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus () are twin brothers, whose story tells the events that led to the founding of the city of Rome and the Roman Kingdom by Romulus. The killing of Remus by his brother, and other tales from their story, have inspired artists throughout the ages. Since ancient times, the image of the twins being suckled by a she-wolf has been a symbol of the city of Rome and the Roman people. Although the tale takes place before the founding of Rome around 750 BC, the earliest known written account of the myth is from the late 3rd century BC. Possible historical basis for the story, as well as whether the twins' myth was an original part of Roman myth or a later development, is a subject of ongoing debate.

She-wolf (Roman mythology)

In the Roman foundation myth, it was a she-wolf that nursed and sheltered the twins Romulus and Remus after they were abandoned in the wild by order of King Amulius of Alba Longa. She cared for the infants at her den, a cave known as the Lupercal, until they were discovered by a shepherd, Faustulus. Romulus would later become the founder and first king of Rome. The image of the she-wolf suckling the twins has been a symbol of Rome since ancient times and is one of the most recognizable icons of ancient mythology.

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