Metellus Scipio  [suicide 46 BCE]

Wealthy leader of Rome's conservative nobility, who became father-in-law & chief ally of Pompey in his conflict with Julius Caesar.  By birth Scipio Nasica was a descendent of Scipio Africanus, who had defeated Hannibal to end the second Punic War (218-202 BCE). By adoption, he was son of the dictator Sulla's ally, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, who had been a leader in the civil wars with the populist Marius (89-80 BCE). Though not a patrician, Scipio's wealth & family connections gave him political influence beyond his native abilities.  

In 53 BCE Pompey married Metellus Scipio's daughter Cornelia, the widow of the son of his fellow triumvir Crassus, & insisted the Senate appoint his new father-in-law his fellow consul for the following year, in spite of the fact that the latter had been indicted for bribery.  Scipio used his term in office to erect numerous statues of his illustrious ancestors. Three years later (49 BCE) he got the Senate to issue the ultimatum that Caesar disband his army before crossing the Rubicon River or be branded a public enemy.  When Caesar defied that order, civil war erupted.  Scipio became governor of Syria, whose inhabitants he taxed heavily to fund his campaigns. On Pompey's orders, he intervened in the feud between Hasmonean factions in Judea & executed Alexander, the oldest son of Aristobulus II (49 BCE).  

Caesar routed Scipio's forces at the battle of Pharsalus (48 BCE) but failed to capture him. Following Pompey's murder, Scipio & other republican loyalists rallied the remaining forces opposed to Caesar in north Africa.  At Thapsus [Tunisia] Caesar routed Scipio again (46 BCE). He escaped again only to die a few months later  in a naval battle near Hippo.

References:  Josephus, Antiquities 14.125, 142, 185.
                   Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Pompey 2, 55; Caesar 30, 39, 44, 52-53, 55.
                   Caesar, Civil War 1.1-2, 6; 3.31-33, 36-38, 80-83, 90.
                   Cassius Dio, Roman History 40.51, 41.51, 43.2-9, 13.
                   Appian, Roman History: Civil Wars 2.60, 76, 87, 95-97, 100-101.
                   Livy, History of Rome [summary of book 113-114].

Other resources on line:

Silver denarius minted in north Africa during the last year of Metellus Scipio's life bears an archaic image of Jupiter on the face, wreathed by the proconsul's adoptive name: Q[uintus] Metel[lus] Pius. The image of an elephant  on the reverse is flanked by the governor's birth name--Scipio-- & military rank Imp[erator], invoking the memory of his illustrious ancestor: Scipio Africanus.

For high resolution images of this and other coins of Scipio, see Browsing Roman Imperatorial Coins of Scipio in David Surber's comprehensive ancient coins website: Wildwinds.

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