In Livy’s portrayal of Scipio Africanus we might expect a conventional exemplum. However, Scipio’s exemplum is anything but uncomplicated. Livy shows Scipio outwardly as an exemplar of Roman conduct, but inwardly his character might be suspect. Scipio was implicated in the disgraceful events that took place at Locri, which his political enemies used to attack him and Livy recalls the criticism of his character in the Senate by Fabius, who demanded that his imperium be revoked. Moreover, Scipio, Fabius said, was living in Sicily a life of profligacy, debauched by Greek customs. The delegation sent to Sicily to investigate, however, found the situation nothing like what Fabius had claimed. Although things turned out well for Scipio, the criticisms, some of which, Livy writes, were valid while others were not true, inevitably raise questions about his character. In my paper I discuss how Livy presents Scipio as a complex fusion of virtue and vice.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

Event details

  • The seminars take place at 4pm, in the Michie Building (09), Room 536
  • Seminars are also on Zoom. Send an email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( for the link.
  • Upcoming seminars can be found here.
  • Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events. Masks are no longer required at UQ locations - however, UQ strongly encourages mask wearing when physical distancing is not possible. UQ strongly encourages all campus attendees to be up to date with vaccinations. And finally, those who are feeling unwell, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 7 days or have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 7 days, are asked not to attend this seminar.
  • For those attending in person, if you would like to join us for drinks and/or dinner afterwards at UQ’s St. Lucy's from 5:15 pm, please RSVP by email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( by 9am on the day of the seminar.
  • Please also contact Duncan Keenan-Jones should you have questions about the event.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at