Born into a powerful patrician family, the gens Cornelia, Scipio was highly trained in body and mind. He was a philhellene, fluent in Greek and Greek literature. He was an effective administrator and a military innovator. He took part in many battles against Hannibal in which the Romans were badly beaten. However, once put in command of his own forces, he never defeated. Strategically, he changed the course of the war with Carthage by taking Spain from the Carthaginians. Diplomatically he was able to detach the Numidian prince Massinissa, a key ally, from the Carthaginian orbit. Scipio defeated Hannibal at Zama, a battle that effectively ended the second Punic war.