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,
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).
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.
Lives: Pompey 2, 55; Caesar
30, 39, 44, 52-53, 55.
1.1-2, 6; 3.31-33,
36-38, 80-83, 90.
Cassius Dio, Roman
History: Civil Wars 2.60,
76, 87, 95-97, 100-101.
History of Rome [summary
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