King Philip II of Macedon conquered almost all of mainland Greece, except for Sparta, who, despite their greatly decreased power from their height after the Peloponnesian War, still possessed a martial reputation and their historical independent spirit. Wanting to conquer them without a fight, he sent to the ephors the following message: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your lands, I will burn your farms, slay your people, and raze your villages.” To which the Spartans replied, “If.”
King Philip let them be.
Scipio Africanus, together with his brother, Lucius Cornelius Scipio, were sent by Rome against King Antiochus, and defeated him at the Battle of Magnesia. Upon his return, he was called upon by tribunes to render an account of the booty taken in the war.
He reached into his toga and pulled out his account book. “Here is the account of all the money and booty taken. I have brought it to be publicly read and deposited in the treasury, but, senators, I will now not do this nor thusly degrade myself. I will not render an account of four million sesterces to a treasury which I have personally enriched by two hundred million sesterces. When I returned from Africa, I brought back nothing but my cognomen. I was not made greedy by Punic wealth nor by brother by Asian, but each of us has more begrudgers than money.”
Scipio Africanus, victor of Zama, conqueror of Carthage, defeater of Hannibal, and savior of Rome, was once accused by Marcus Naevius, a tribune of the people, of making an easy peace with King Antiochus of the Seleucid Empire in exchange for a bribe. Scipio bothered not to even address such accusations, but instead stood up, and before the Roman people reminded them, “I recall, my fellow citizens, that this is the day on which in Africa in a mighty battle I conquered Hannibal the Carthaginian, the most bitter enemy of your power, and won for you a splendid peace and a glorious victory. Let us then not be ungrateful to the gods, but, I suggest, let us leave this worthless man, and go at once to render thanks to Jupiter, best and greatest.”
At this, the entire assembly followed Scipio to the Capitol and then to his home with the joy and gratitude befitting such a celebration.