Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": THE PRAYER OF SCIPIO AFRICANUS


(Livy, 'History of Rome,'XXIX, 27, 1-4)

As the great expedition was about to sail from Sicily to attack Carthage in 204 B.C., Scipio Africanus, on his flagship, offered the following prayer, for a successful voyage.

'Ye gods and goddesses, who inhabit the seas and the lands, I supplicate and beseech you that whatever has been done under my command, or is being done, or will later be done, may turn out to my advantage and to the advantage of the people and the commons of Rome, the allies, and the Latins who by land or sea or on rivers follow me, [accepting] the leadership, the authority, and the auspices of the Roman people; that you will support them and aid them with your help; that you will grant that, preserved in safety and victorious over the enemy, arrayed in booty and laden with spoils, you will bring them back with me in triumph to our homes; that you will grant us the power to take revenge upon our enemies and foes; and that you will grant to me and the Roman people the power to enforce upon the Carthaginians what they have planned to do against our city, as an example of [divine] punishment.'


Translation by Frederick C. Grant, in his Ancient Roman Religion, Library of Religion paperbook series (New York, 1957), P. 159

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