Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth McCahill

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Carlon

Third Advisor

Paul Bookbinder


B.H. Liddell Hart’s biography of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus continues to be of interest to historians of antiquity because it is an example of a very late transitional work in the realm of historiography. This thesis will examine the work in its historical and historiographical context and will argue that the biography shows numerous examples of ancient models of biographical writing, while also paying homage to the scientific methods of historical writing common in Liddell Hart’s day. Furthermore, it will argue that the work is an attempt to redress what the author believed to be an historical injustice of the highest degree: the elevation of Hannibal, the ultimately defeated Carthaginian general of the Second Punic War, as a symbol for good generalship, over Scipio, the severely underrated victor, in the grand historical narrative. More than simply a plea for setting the historical record straight, however, Liddell Hart aims to set Scipio up as an exemplum of the perfect general, which he defines as one who lives up to four preeminent virtues: technical, tactical, moral, and political.


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