Cornelius Scipio

(Publius Cornelius Scipio)

d. 211 BC

Publius Cornelius Scipio (called Cornelius Scipio) was the father of the famous Scipio Africanus, and the brother of Cnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus (called Calvus). All three Scipios were important generals during the Second Punic War. Although it was the younger Scipio who demonstrated the greatest skill as a general, and finally drove Hannibal out of Africa, his father and uncle were consuls during the early years of the war, and both died in Spain in 211 B.C. in separate engagements.

As soon as Scipio was informed of Hannibal's march over the Rhone, he sailed with an army to Massilia (now Marsailles) to meet them, but was too late. He sent part of his army to Spain under his brother Calvus's command, with instructions to hold the Spanish Carthaginians in check and disrupt Hannibal's supply lines. He then returned, himself, with the remainder of his army to Italy to raise more recruits and prepare to meet Hannibal as soon as he descended from the Alps. They did finally meet in northern Italy on the Ticinus River. Hannibal's forces prevailed, and Cornelius Scipio was severely wounded. Later that year, against Scipio's better judgment, another battle was fought at Trebia, which resulted in a disastrous defeat for Rome. After this defeat Cornelius joined his brother in Spain, and for the next six years, gained many victories, including the retaking of Saguntum. The death of Scipio in 211 B.C. is thought to have been caused by Carthaginian treachery. Cornelius Scipio's son joined his father in Spain after the battle of Cannae, and assumed his command upon his death.

Key events during the life of Cornelius Scipio:

218 BC
Elected Consul the year Hannibal crossed Alps. Met Hannibal first at Ticinus, then at Trebia—both Roman losses.
217 BC
Joined brother Calvus in Spain.
215 BC
Led army in Spain against Hasdrubal.
212 BC
Recaptured Saguntum.
211 BC
Died in action in Spain.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Passage of the Rhone  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Hannibal in the North of Italy  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Early History of Spain  in  The Romance of Spanish History  by  John S.C. Abbott
From the Beginning  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Avalanche from the Alps  in  Helmet and Spear  by  Alfred J. Church
Hannibal Crosses the Alps  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Capture of New Carthage  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Trasemenus  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood

Image Links

The Battle in the River
 in Hannibal

Short Biography
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Fabius Cunctator Elected dictator to resist Hannibal; counseled delay, not direct assault.
Hasdrubal Barca Fought against Scipios in Spain; killed after he crossed the Alps to aid Hannibal.
Sempronius Consul who urged battle with Hannibal at Trebia, against advice of Cornelius Scipio.
Gnaeus Scipio Roman General who fought Hasdrubal in Spain and conquered Ebro region of Hispania.