The great captains of antiquity were not given to melancholic introspection. They were a hardened lot, largely inured to the carnage and suffering they caused. However, the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus or sometimes referred to as Scipio Africanus the Younger (185-129 BC) may be an exception to that description.
In the spring of 146 BC, once mighty Carthage fell in the Third and final Punic War to Scipio's troops. Observing the city in its death throes, he began to weep and quoted a line from the ILLIAD: "The day will come in which our sacred Troy, and Priam, and the people over whom the spear-bearing Priam rules, shall perish all." Polybius was at Scipio's side when he spoke Homer's words and asked what the consul meant by them. Scipio, believing Carthage's doom was the ultimate fate of all great nations and empires, expressed his fear that Rome would one day suffer a similar fate.
Scipio's prediction would require half of a millennium to come to fruition with the fifth century collapse and fall of the Western Roman empire. Is history about to repeat itself?