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Tomb of the Scipios (Sepulcrum Scipionum) in Rome
General view of the tomb architecture.3rd-2nd centuries B.C.

The patrician gens Cornelia was one of Romes most prominent, and contained many families. Of these, the most famous were the Scipiones, the conquerors of Spain and Carthage. 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.

The close relationships of the several Cornelii and Aemilii is typical of the Roman aristocratic order. There were 30 consuls in the Cornelii gens over a 200 year period. Scipio's father, uncle, and father-in-law have been mentioned. His wife was Aemilia, daughter of Aemilius Paullus. One of his daughters, Cornelia, married Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, who was with him in Asia in 190 B.C., and thus was mother to the two famous Gracchi brothers. This T. S. Gracchus was the son of the T. S. Gracchus who was master of the horse after Cannae, victor over Hanno in 214, and proconsul killed at Lucania in 212. Scipio's other daughter, also Cornelia, married Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, who was son of our Scipio's first cousin (Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica) the man declared by the Senate to be "the best man in Rome", in 204 to fulfill the requirement of the oracle at Delphi that "the best man" be the one to welcome the sacred image of Cybele, which the Romans in their desperation had obtained from King Attalus of Pergamum. His eldest son, Publicus Cornelius Scipio, adopted the younger of the first two sons of his mother's brother, Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (victor at Pynda), the conqueror of Macedon, and this Scipio - Aemilianus, Publius Cornelius, the Younger (185 - 129) was the final destroyer of Carthage in the Third Punic War, gaining the surname Africanus as well. He married Sempronia, sister of the Gracchi.

      Lucius Cornelius Scipio BARBATUS      
LUCIUS Cornelius Scipio
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio CALVUS
PUBLIUS Cornelius Scipio
Publius Cornelius Scipio NASICA Publius Cornelius ScipioNasica CORCULUM   Publius Cornelius Scipio AFRICANUS THE ELDER   Lucius Cornelius Scipio ASIAGENES
        Publius CORNELIUS Scipio    
        Publius Cornelius Scipio AEMILIANUS Africanus the Younger    


From the sepulchre of the Scipio family Appian Way Early 3rd century B.C. Vatican Museum, Rome


Consul in 298 BCE, possibly Censor in 280 BCE. According to Livy he subjected Lucania, and his sarcophagus records the capture of the Samnium cities of Cisauna and Taurasia.

LUCIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO Son of BARBATUS, he was curule aedile, then consul in in 259 BCE and censor in 258 BCE. As consul he used the new Roman fleet to attack the Carthaginians naval bases is Italy. He captured Aleria and assaulted the island of Corsica. The fasti triumphales assign him a triumph unrecorded elsewhere.

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO Son of Lucius Scipio and brother of CALVUS, father of the brothers AFRICANUS (The Elder) and ASIAGENES. Consul in 218 BCE, he was sent to Spain to fight Hannibal. Delayed by a Gallic uprising and unable to prevent Hannibal from crossing the Rhone R.,he retreated to Italy. At the Trebia River near Piacenza, he was defeated by Hannibal and lost half the Roman army. He rejoined his brother, CALVUS, whom he had sent to Spain, and together they defeated Hasdrubal south of the Ebro river in216 BCE, preventing him from reinforcing Hannibal in Italy. Operating in Spain for the next several years, he recaptured Saguntum in 212. In 211, he was pursued and killed in battle against superior Carthaginian forces near Nova Carthago (Cartagena).

GNAEUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO CALVUS Son of Lucius Scipio, brother of Publius Scipio, uncle of AFRICANUS THE ELDER, father of P. Scipio Nasica. Consul in 222 BCE, he defeated the Insubres and captured Mediolanum (Milan). following Hannibal's crossing of the Rhone R., he was sent to Spain by his brother to occupy the Carthaginian forces and prevent reinforcement of Hannibal, took control of the area north of the Ebro River. As proconsul in 217, he defeated a Carthaginian fleet at the mouth of the Ebro, and raided southwards to Carthago Nova (Cartagena) and Ebsus (Ibiza). Joined by his brother, the two captured Saguntum and defeated Hasdrubal south of the Ebro. Following the death of Publius in 211, Gnaeus attemted to retreat and was killed near Ilourgeia near Carthago Nova.

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO NASICA Son of CALVUS, curule aedile in 197, and praetor in 194, when he operated in Spain. As consul of 191 he defeated the Boii, for which he celebrated a triumph, despite objections

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO AFRICANUS THE ELDER Son of PUBLIUS Scipio, nephew of CALVUS, brother of Scipio ASIGENES. Born in 234?-236? BCE, he reputedly saved his father's life at the battle of Ticinius in 218, and as military triune, to have rallied the Romans after their defeat by Hannibal at Cannae. Curule aedile in 213, he was given proconsular imperium and sent to Spain by the Popular Assembly, the first man so commissioned without first having been praetor or consul. Using innovative tatics, he captured Carthago Nova (Cartagena) and by 206 had subdued most of Carthaginian Spain. Elected consul for the year 205 BCE, he crossed to Africa in 205 despite senatorial opposition and after operations that included a truce, defeated Hannibal (who had returned to from Italy to defend the his home) in 202 at the battle of Zama. Returning to Rome, Scipio celebrated a triumph and received the cognomen 'Africanus', meaning 'conqueror of Africa', the first Roman so honored. Now the dominating presence in Roman politics, he was elected censor in in 199, consul a second time in 194, and became princeps senatus. He joined his brother (subsequently ASIAGENES) in operations against Antiochus of Syria following campaigns as consul in northern Italy. Senatorial opponents, including Cato the Elder, forced his retirement in 184 BCE and he died the following year.

LUCIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO ASIAGENES Son of Publius Scipio, brother of AFRICANUS. He served under his brother in Spain, Sicily, and Africa. Probably curule aedile in 195 BCE, and praetor in Sicily in 193. Elected consul for 190, he received the command against Antiochus III of Syria; AFRICANUS served as his legate. He defeated Antiochus and returned to Rome and triumphed, and was given the cognomen 'ASIAGENES'.

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO NASICA CORCULUM Son of NASICA, son in law of AFRICANUS THE ELDER, Corculum served at Pydna in 168 BCE. He was elected consul for 162, but after departing for his province was recalled and forced to give up his office. He was censor in 159 and consul for the second time in 155, when he ended the Dalmatian war and celebrated a triumph. He was against the third Punic war, opposing Cato the Elder. He was appointed princeps senatus in 147 and 142, and became pontifex maximus in 150 after many years in that college.

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO Son of AFRICANUS THE ELDER, praetor peregrinus in 174 BCE, but expelled from the senate by the censors later that year.

PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO AEMILIANUS AFRICANUS THE YOUNGER c.185-129 B.C. Son Lucius Aemilius Paulus, and adopted by Publius CORNELIUS Scipio (he eldest son of Scipio Africanus Major) and earned a great reputation as a patron of Greek literature and of Roman writers, notably Terence and Laelius, and he was the lifelong friend of Polybius, his protégé. As consul (147) he went to Africa and terminated the Third Punic War with the capture and destruction of Carthage. On his return to Rome he attempted to destroy the Gracchan reforms. A great public quarrel arose, and Scipio was found dead in his bed. No inquiry was made, and it was generally said that he was murdered by someone of the Gracchan party.

(Based on the Oxford Classical Dictionary)

Genealogical appendix:

The Cornelii were indeed a great military family. Here is the full list as far as I have found them.

1. Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (nd)- consul in 298 BC defeated the Samnites at Sentinum. His son is #2

2. Lucius Cornelius Scipio (nd) curule aedile, Consul in 259 BC Captured Corsica, Censor in 258. He had 2 sons, #4 and #5.

3. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio #2's cousin, Consul in 260 BC., killed at sea.

4. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus (died 211) son of #2, brother of 5, Consul 222 BC., Routed Insubres - Legate Spain 217 - 211 killed in action, his son is #7.

5. Publius Cornelius Scipio (d. 211), son of #2, brother of 4, (married Pomponia), Consul in 218, defeated at Trebia by Hannibal, Proconsul Spain 217 - 211. killed in action, his son is #8.

6. Publius Cornelius Scipio Asina, cousin of #'s 4 and 5, - consul in 221

7. Publius Corenlius Scipio Nasica (b. 227), son of #4, Curule Aedile 197 - Praetor Spain 194 - Consul 191 - failed in election to Censor in 189 and 184, his son is #13.

8. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, (b 236/7 d. 183) first son of #5, (married Aemilia Tertia daughter of Lucius Aemilius Paullus (# 10) (d 216)), Curule Aedile - Military Tribune 210 - Consul 203 - Censor 199 - Legate to brother Asiaticus (# 9) 190, his sons are #'s 14 and 15, and his daughters are Cornelia, wife of #13, and Cornelia, wife of # 17.

9. Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (date don't know), 2nd son of #5, legate to (# 8) Africanus 207-2 - Curule Aedile 197 - Praetor Sicily 193 - Consul 190 - Degraded by Cato in 184 - titular commander of forces in Asia against Antiochus III, tactical command of army was Cnaeus Domitius, victory at Magnesia in Dec 190.

10. Lucius Aemilius Paullus (d 216), Consul 219 defeated Demetrius in Illyria, Embassy to Carthage 218 - Consul 216 - killed at Cannae. His son is #11. His daughter, Aemilia Tertia, married #8.

11. Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (b 229 d 160), son of #10, (married Papiria first wife), Curule Aedile 193 - Augur 192 - Praetor 191 in Spain - Consul 182 and 168 victor at Pynda Censor 164, His son is #12.

12. Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilius Africanus Numantinus (b 185 d 129) (became a Cornelii by adoption of P.C. Scipio (# 14) the son of P.C Scipio Africanus, #8) (NOTE #12 was not son of P.C.S. Africanus, but grandson by adoption), He married Sempronia Sempronius Gracchus, daughter of # 17), He was at Pynda in 168 with father - Military tribune Spain 151 - Military Tribune Africa 149 - Consul 147 - Censor 142 - Consul 134 - Destroyed Carthage, (he was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 129 probably related to his support of T. S. Gracchus (# ) (see below)

To return to the Cornelii

13. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, son of #7, He married Cornelia Scipio (daughter of P. C. S. Africanus #8) was Curule Aedile 169 - Consul 162 - Censor 159 - Consul 155 - Pontifex Maximus 150 - and Principes Senatus in 147, they had son # 18.

14. Publius Cornelius Scipio (n d), son of # 8, Augur in 180 ill health a orator and writer, adopted # 12

15. Lucius Cornelius Scipio (n d), son of # 8, captured by Antiochus - Praetor in 174.

16. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (d 212), Curule Aedile 216 - Master of Horse after Cannae - Commanded 2 slave legions in 216 - Consul in 215 - Proconsul in Sicily 214 - defeated Hanno - Consul in 213 and Proconsul again in 212 - killed at Lucania His son? or grandson? is # 17

17. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (d 154), married Cornelia, daughter of #8, Augur in 204 - with Scipos in Asia in 190 - Tribune in 187 - Curule Aedile 182 - Praetor in Spain 180 - Consul Sardinia 177 - Censor 169 and Consul again 163, their sons are #19 and 20, and daughter Sempronia is wife of # 12.

Jumping back again to the Nasica line:

18. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum (n d) was son of P. C. S. Nasica Corculum (# 13) and Cornelia Scipio, Consul 138 - Pontifex Maximus 133 - Optimate leader against his cousins, the Gracchii - killed Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (# 19) in 132

And to the Sempronii again:

19. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (b 163 d. 133/2), son of # 17, married Claudia, daughter of Apius Claudius) - at Carthage 146 - Quaester 137 - Tribune 133/2, killed in riot by P.C.S.N.C. #18. his sister was wife of P. C. S. A. A. Numantinus #12.

20. Gaius Sempronius Gracchus (b 153 d 121), son of # 17, married Licinia (dau of Crassus Mucianus) - Quaestor in 126 - Tribune in 123 - Tribune in 122 also killed in riot.

So between them this family did much of the conquering for Rome - Spain, Corsica, Carthage, Macedonia, Asia. And they were at the center of the political struggle that ensued from this conquest.

The Scipio Elogia

  1. The tomb of the consul of 298 BC

    L. Cornelius Scipio son of Gnaeus [.......] Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, offspring of his father Gnaeus, a brave and wise man whose appearance was fully equal to his virtue: he was consul censor and aedile among you. He captured Taurasia and Cisauna from Samnium - he subdues all of Lucania and takes away hostages.

  2. The tomb of the consul of 259 BC

    This man, Lucius Scipio, most people agree, was the very best of all good men at Rome.

    The son of Barbatus, he was consul, censor and aedile among you. He captured Corsica and the city of Aleria; he dedicated the temple to the Goddesses of the Weather in fulfilment of a vow.

  3. Possibly a son of Africanus

    For you who wore the apex of the Flamen Dialis, death has seen to it that all your accomplishments have been of but a short span: office (honos), fame (fama), virtue (virtus), glory (gloria) and intellectual power (ingenium). If you had been permitted to enjoy these in a long life you would easi1y have surpassed by your deeds the glory of your ancestors. For this reason the Earth willingly receives you into her bosom, Publius Cornelius Scipio, offspring of Africanus (?)

  4. Probably the son of Scipio Hispallus, consul of 176 BC

    Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Hispanus, son of Gnaeus, praetor, curule aedile, quaestor, tribune of the soldiers twice, member of the Board of Ten for judging law suits, member of the Board of Ten for making sacrifices. By my conduct I heaped virtues on the virtues of my family. I begot offspring; sought to emulate the achievements of my father. I upheld the praise of my ancestors so that they rejoice that I am born of their line. The offices (honos) which I have held have ennobled my stock.

  5. brother of the preceding

    L. Cornelius Scipio, son of Gnaeus, grandson of Gnaeus. This stone encloses great wisdom and many virtues along with a short life. The brevity of his life; not his honour, deprived him of honours . Here lies one who was never excelled in virtue. At the age of 20 he was buried in this tomb. Seek not here for offices (honos), for none were granted him.


Genealogy of Scipio Africanus