Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio


Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio

Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio (c. 183 BC – 132 BC Pergamum, Asia Minor), the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum and his wife Cornelia Africana Major, was a member of the "Gens Cornelia" and a politician of the ancient Roman Republic. He was consul in 138 BC.

Scipio Nasica Serapio, third generation to bear the agnomen 'Nasica" (pointed noise), was the grandson of the great Scipio Africanus. He succeeded his father as Pontifex Maximus in 141 BC, possibly because of his illustrious family name and his father's great reputation.

Political career

His early political career is unknown. In 138 BC, he was elected consul along with Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus.

The nickname "Serapio" was given to him c. 138 BC by the Tribune C. Curiatius, for his alleged likeness to one Serapio, a dealer in sacrificial victims. This same Tribune threw Serapio and his consular colleague, Decimus Junius Brutus, into prison for the manner in which they conducted the troop levy.

After the disaster at Numantia where a Roman army and commander were humiliated but the Senate refused to honor terms negotiated by Tiberius Gracchus, the cousins appear to have drifted to opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Later, in 133 BC, Serapio had a prominent part in the murder of Tiberius Gracchus, his own first cousin, by leading a group of conservative Senators and other knights in opposition to Gracchus and his supporters. In the ensuing violence, Gracchus was clubbed to death. Although Serapio was not directly responsible for his cousin's murder, he was nevertheless held morally responsible by the Gracchans. In order to save him from the vengeance of the "populares" (the party of the Gracchi), Serapio was sent by the Senate on a pretended mission to Asia despite being the pontifex maximus. He was thus the first pontifex maximus to leave Italy, and he would not be the last, with the most illustrious example being Julius Caesar.

Serapio died shortly afterwards, in Pergamum. It is believed that he was poisoned by agents of the Gracchi.Fact|date=January 2008

Serapio's son by wife Caecilia Metella, born c. 170 BC, daughter of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, and namesake Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio became consul in 111 BC.

See also

* Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree

References

*1911See Appian, "Punica", 80 n.c., i.16; Valerius Maximus ix.14; Plutarch, "Tiberius Gracchus", 21.

Further reading

* Manuel Dejante Pinto de Magalhães Arnao Metello and João Carlos Metello de Nápoles, "Metellos de Portugal, Brasil e Roma", Torres Novas, 1998


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