Scipio, the family name of several ancient Roman military and political leaders. The two most famous were Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (called Scipio the Elder, or Scipio Major) and Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus (called Scipio the Younger, or Scipio Minor). Each defeated the Carthaginians in one of the Punic Wars.
(236–183? B.C.) represented the fourth generation of his family to gain fame on the battlefield. He fought in Spain, against the Carthaginian brothers Hannibal and Hasdrubal, under his father and uncle. After they died about 211 B.C., Scipio was given command of the army in Spain. He was so successful that he was made consul in 205. The next year he took an army to Africa and won a series of victories, defeating Hannibal at the battle of Zama (202) and ending the Second Punic War. The Romans gave him the honorary surname Africanus.
In the next decade Scipio held several major public offices. In 190 B.C. he went with his brother Lucius to Asia, where Lucius defeated Antiochus III of Syria at the battle of Magnesia. Rival forces in the Roman Senate, led by Cato the Elder, attacked the brothers with various accusations, and in the mid-180's the Scipios retired from public life.
(185–129 B.C.) was the adopted son of Publius Cornelius Scipio, who was the son of Scipio the Elder. After serving in Spain and Africa, the young man was elected consul in 147 B.C. (by special dispensation, because of his youth). The Romans were engaged in the Third Punic War. Scipio Aemilianus went to Africa and took command of the army there. In 146 B.C. his forces destroyed Carthage and occupied North Africa for Rome, gaining for him the surname Africanus. He was made consul again in 134, during a war with natives in Spain. Taking command of the Roman forces there, he captured and destroyed the stronghold of Numantia (133), after which he was called Numantinus.