Tag Archives: scipio africanus


The Pentagon is working on practical battlefield lasers. The Army is working on a truck mounted laser that will kill incoming mortar rounds, the Air Force is working on an airplane mounted laser that will kill incoming missiles, and the Navy is working on a ship mounted laser to kill incoming sea skimmers. Battlefield lasers are the new wonder weapon, but it will take soldiers to win. It has always taken soldiers, and always will.





Past green trees newly leaved, new green fields on either side, we marched. Distant white farmhouses, distant dogs barking nervously, cloaks against the misty Spring rain, we marched. North Africa the rumor, Zama the town. We didn’t care. We marched. And sang. Sang because we were young, sang because we were immortal, sang because we were Scipio’s boys.


All the silver’s for Centurions

The gold is for Triarii

And all the sweet young women are

For Publius Cornelius


Publius Cornelius Scipio. We would die, and they would call him Scipio Africanus. We marched, to the sea and the waiting ships.


The long swells laid many of us low, but finally, blessedly, we reached the bay and the river. Alexandria at last. We formed up on the quay, a bit unsteadily, still weak from the seasickness. Fifers leading, we marched up King Street, past capering boys and waving and cheering men and women. Braddock was but waiting on us, it was said, before pushing off for the great western forests. Fort Pitt was the rumor, and that meant a long campaign for the Forty-fourth Regiment of Foot, but that was all right, we were young and immortal. The long sea voyage and the longer campaign was a hardship on the married men, but for the rest of us women were a luxury of camp. But that was all right too, for we all loved the same woman, and her name was Brown Bess.


In the forest clearing we made camp, fires flaring into light, the smell of bacon on the cool night air. We thought of home, and of the coming days. The Cilician Gates was the rumor, then south along the coast to Aleppo, where was waiting King Muwatalli and the rest of the army. The weather, thanks to Tarhunna the Weather God, has been fair. Crown Prince Hattusili has told us the Pharaoh Ramses has left Damascus and is marching north, that the fight, when it comes, will be a hard one, for the Mizziri are accomplished warriors. We lay on our blankets, and in the growing dark came a voice, singing softly, an army song, a song a man sings when far from home and family, a song that reminds him of why it is he fights, why it is he dies. Welling up from the darkened field, the voices of the Tuhkanti regiment joined the lone voice, singing of home. Across the fields it spread, to the other regiments, sitting in the dark by their dying fires, until the night was filled with the sadness of young men thinking of mothers and sisters, wives and sweethearts, seeing their fathers in the fields, hearing the crickets and the birds and the wind in the plaintive leaves.


Hatti, beautiful Hatti,

Will I see thee once again?

Will I see the morning sun?

Will I see the evening star?

Hatti, beautiful Hatti,

I can see thee now.


The last line trailed away, the last notes faded on the soft evening air, until in the distance, from the direction of the Golden Aspens, another ubati took up the song, and once again the sad voices filled the night.


Hatti,beautiful Hatti,

I can see the fields aglow,

I can see the mountain snow,

I can see thee now.


We sang the final chorus, all of us, the entirety of the Kussara Division, our voices swelling on the final line. I can see thee now. The last sad notes faded into the night, and we rolled ourselves into our blankets and our thoughts, knowing that sleep will make us whole, knowing that tomorrow we’ll be soldiers again.


The coast road to Aleppo was clear, the Mizzri still far to the south. Rumor was if we hurried we would reach Kadesh before the Mizziri. The sea sounded very near at hand, and through a break in the trees we could see a beach.


Curiously, the beach looked peaceful. Boats coming ashore as if on a summer outing, no machine guns, no mortars, no arty. Equipment rolling off and onto the beach, long files of men trudging up the beach to the exits, not a shot fired.  It was surreal. I found the beachmaster, and he stuck out his hand. “Welcome to Okinawa,” he grinned. Inland, clear in the distance, lay a range of hills.


Purple hills shimmered in the heat hazy distance, the day growing hot. The muted sounds of birdsong and insect hum swirled around us. Across the field, drawn up in battle array, waited the Carthaginians. We raised our shields, and at the order, advanced.



Publius Cornelius Obamanus

The Iranians have just announced they intend to increase their uranium refinement capacity to the point where they will be capable of producing one nuclear bomb a day, and seem much amused at Barack Obama’s threat to really get tough this time. And Iran has just seized five British yachtsmen and will no doubt try them for espionage as they are trying the four American hikers who strayed into Iranian territory in the Kurdish mountains not so long ago. Barbarians threaten the very life of the West, and we tremble at the thought of resisting, fearing the dark, the unknown, creating a world where the crazies believe they can win, that the West will never fight, a timidity on our part that only invites a nuclear attack and the desolation the inevitable response will bring. Acting now to solve the problem of the savages acquiring nuclear weapons would save the world the nuclear holocaust that is surely coming, but we are impotent, bound hand and foot by constraints of our own making. Where is our Scipio Africanus? Where is our Cato? Cannot we delenda est these people? 



Publius Cornelius Obamanus

Sat thoughtful on his throne

For though the world seemed ominous

Stout legions he did own

The problem was he did not think

The law allowed he used them

The raving hordes would raise a stink

And claim that he’d abused them

Barbarians were at the gates

A’pounding at the portals

Hurling camel dung and dates

As well as sneers and chortles

With slings and arrows falling fast

Obamanus sat quiet

He knew the slings would never last

And nukes? They’d never try it

He played it cool until the day

The missiles started flyin’

And at which point he stood to say

I’m one damn mad Hawaiian

As mushroom clouds rose overhead

He finally launched his legions

And laid to waste with many dead

The allahfested regions

With sadness he did contemplate

The world and all its ruin

And knew the lawyers would not wait

To file the papers suin’

Him for the reckless use of force

Accused of going Roman

And so he sighed with great remorse

And stared into the gloamin’

That once held all the world he knew

Including his great nation

Where not a tree or flower grew

For all was desolation

Alone, berobed and laurel wreathed

He wandered through the White House

And knew the future he bequeathed

Was glowing like a lighthouse