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(sĭp`ēō), ancient Roman family of the Cornelian gens. They were patricians. During the 3d and 2d cent. B.C. they were distinguished by their love of Greek culture and learning. Their wealth and extravagance were detested by the family of Cato the Elder, who worked hard to ruin them. Cnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, d. 211 B.C., consul in 222, was sent to Spain (218) to destroy the supply lines of HannibalHannibal
, b. 247 B.C., d. 183 or 182 B.C. Carthaginian general, an implacable and formidable enemy of Rome. Although knowledge of him is based primarily on the reports of his enemies, Hannibal appears to have been both just and merciful. He is renowned for his tactical genius.
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, who was invading Italy. He and his brother Publius defeated Hasdrubal (215) and captured Saguntum (212). They were killed in separate engagements. Publius Cornelius Scipio, d. c.211 B.C., brother of Calvus, was consul in 218. He tried vainly to intercept Hannibal in Gaul, then rushed back to Italy, where he failed to hold the enemy at the Ticino River. He fought (against his judgment) at Trebbia, where Hannibal won (218) his great victory. The next year he joined Calvus in Spain. Publius was the father of the conqueror of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus MajorScipio Africanus Major
(Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus) , 236–183 B.C., Roman general, the conqueror of Hannibal in the Punic Wars. He was the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio, and from a very early age he considered himself to have divine inspiration.
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. Africanus Major's wife was the sister of Aemilius Paullus, his daughter CorneliaCornelia
, fl. 2d cent. B.C., Roman matron, daughter of Scipio Africanus Major. She was the wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and mother of the Gracchi. She refused to remarry after her husband's death, devoting herself to her children, whom she educated well and inspired
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 was the mother of the Gracchi, and his eldest son was the adoptive father of Scipio Africanus MinorScipio Africanus Minor
(Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus), c.185–129 B.C., Roman general, destroyer of Carthage. He was the son of Aemilius Paullus, under whom he fought at Pydna.
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. Africanus Minor was the son of Aemilius Paullus. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio, d. c.132 B.C., consul in 138, and pontifex maximus, was a son of Africanus Major's daughter; despite the family connections he led the mob of senators that murdered Tiberius Gracchus. He left Rome to escape popular hatred. A descendant of Nasica Serapio was adopted by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (see under MetellusMetellus
, ancient Roman family of the plebeian gens Caecilia. Lucius Caecilius Metellus, d. c.221 B.C., consul (251 B.C.), fought in the First Punic War. He was pontifex maximus (from 243) and was said to have been blinded (241) in rescuing the Palladium from the burning
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) and named Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio, d. 46 B.C. He early became a leader of the senatorial conservatives and was allied with PompeyPompey
(Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus) , 106 B.C.–48 B.C., Roman general, the rival of Julius Caesar. Sometimes called Pompey the Great, he was the son of Cnaeus Pompeius Strabo (consul in 89 B.C.), a commander of equivocal reputation.
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 from 53 B.C., when he ran against Milo for the consulship. In 52, Pompey made Scipio his colleague in the consulship, and Scipio threw all his influence against Julius CaesarCaesar, Julius
(Caius Julius Caesar), 100? B.C.–44 B.C., Roman statesman and general. Rise to Power

Although he was born into the Julian gens, one of the oldest patrician families in Rome, Caesar was always a member of the democratic or popular party.
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. He backed the measure in the senate of 49, designed to wrest the army from Caesar. In 49 B.C.–48 B.C. he was governor of Syria, where he displayed a rapacity unusual even in the Roman Empire. He commanded the center at Pharsalus and fled after the battle to Africa. He fought Caesar and lost at Thapsus and took to the sea to escape. He was met by a fleet under one of Caesar's lieutenants, and, foreseeing capture, he stabbed himself.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Rome, a branch of the patrician Cornelius family that produced several prominent military commanders and statesmen.

Scipio Africanus (Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, known as Scipio the Elder). Born circa 235 B.C.; died circa 183 B.C. General in the Second Punic War.

As a military tribune, Scipio fought at Cannae in 216 B.C. He became aedilis curulis in 213 B.C. In 207 B.C. he defeated the Carthaginian commander Hasdrubal in Spain. In 205 B.C. he was elected consul. He defeated Hannibal’s army near Zama in 202 B.C.

Scipio played a prominent role in Roman politics. He became censor and princeps senatus in 199 B.C and was again elected consul in 194 B.C. A well-educated man, he favored Greek culture.

Scipio Asiaticus (Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus). Brother of Scipio Africanus.

Scipio Asiaticus became consul in 190 B.C He defeated the Seleucid king Antiochus III in the battle of Magnesia in 190 B.C

Scipio Aemilianus Africanus (Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, known as Scipio the Younger). Born circa 185 B.C.; died 129 B.C. Military commander and statesman; adopted grandson of Scipio Africanus.

In 146 B.C., while serving as consul, Scipio Aemilianus Africa nus captured Carthage and razed it to the ground, ending the Third Punic War. In 133 B.C., again serving as consul, he crushed the rebellion of Numantia in Spain. Despite family ties, Scipio was hostile to the agrarian reforms of the Gracchi. Scipio is traditionally depicted as an avid admirer of Greek culture; he organized the Scipionic Circle, a group of writers that sought to promote the adoption of Greek learning and art in Rome. He is said to have supported strengthening the state by distributing state lands to Italici who lived as tenant farmers.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Gil Blas’ secretary; shares his imprisonment. [Fr. Lit.: Gil Blas]
See: Loyalty
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. full name Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major. 237--183 bc, Roman general. He commanded the Roman invasion of Carthage in the Second Punic War, defeating Hannibal at Zama (202)
2. full name Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor. ?185--129 bc, Roman statesman and general; the grandson by adoption of Scipio Africanus Major. He commanded an army against Carthage in the last Punic War and razed the city to the ground (146). He became the leader (132) of the opposition in Rome to popular reforms
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