The canvas depicts Sofonisba, Carthaginian noblewoman daughter of the general ‘Asdrubale di Gisbo,’ who was initially married with ‘Siface di Numidia, fierce enemy of Rome. At Siface’s death, Sofonisba married Massinissa, African King allied of Rome. When, after a sequence of events, Rome ordered to Messinissa to bring his wife at the ‘Urbe’ as a hostage, the woman, to not submit to this imposition, she preferred to drink a goblet of poison procured by Messinissa for her.