Africa is an epic poem in Latin hexameters by the 14th century Italian poet Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca). It tells the story of the Second Punic War, in which the Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy, but Roman forces were eventually victorious after an invasion of north Africa led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the epic poem's hero.
Africa and De viris illustribus were partially inspired by Petrarch's visit to Rome in 1337. According to Bergin and Wilson (p. ix). It seems very likely that the inspirational vision of the Eternal City must have been the immediate spur to the design of the Africa and probably De viris illustribus as well. After returning from his grand tour, the first sections of Africa were written in the valley of Vaucluse. Petrarch recalls
The fact that he abandoned it early on is not entirely correct since it was far along when he received two invitations (from Rome and from Paris) in September 1340 each asking him to accept the crown as poet laureate. A preliminary form of the poem was completed in time for the laurel coronation April 8, 1341 (Easter Sunday).