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Imperatorial Rome

Moneyer: Q. Metellus Pius Scipio/ moneyer; Eppius, legate
Held Office: 47-46 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Military mint travelling with Scipio in Africa, 47-46 BC.
Obverse: Small head of Africa right, wearing elephant skin headdress; grain ear before, plough below, "SCIPIO•IMP" upwards to left, "Q•METELL" downwards to right.
Reverse: Hercules standing facing, right hand on hip, leaning on club draped with lion skin and set on rock; "LEG•F•C" upwards to left, "EPPIVS" downwards to right.
Reference: RRC 461/1; RSC Caecilia 50. HCRI 44.
Weight: 3.9 gms
Diameter: 17.8 mm
Comment: LEG. F. C. = Legatus flandum curavit (or Legatus fisci castrensis)

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Cornelianus Scipio Nasica

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Cornelianus Scipio Nasica (c. 100/98 BC - 46 BC), in modern scholarship often as Metellus Scipio, was a Roman consul and military commander in the Late Republic. During the civil war between Julius Caesar and the senatorial faction led by Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great"), he remained a staunch optimate. He led troops against Caesar's forces, mainly in the battles of Pharsalus and Thapsus, where he was defeated. He later committed suicide.

Metellus Scipio was born Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica. His grandfather was the P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio who was consul in 111 BC; his father Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica (born 128 BC) married Licinia Crassa, daughter of the L. Licinius Crassus who was consul in 95 BC. The father died not long after his praetorship (c. 93 BC), and was survived by two sons and two daughters.

Scipio married Aemilia Lepida, daughter of Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus (consul 77 BC), but was not without rival in the match. The virginal Cato had also wanted to marry Aemilia but lost out in the seduction.

The couple had one son, a Metellus Scipio who seems to have died when he was only 18. The couple's much more famous daughter was born around that time as well. Scipio first married off the celebrated Cornelia Metella to Publius Crassus, the son of Marcus Licinius Crassus. After Publius's premature death at Carrhae, Scipio decided to succeed Caesar as the father-in-law of Pompeius (Pompey), who was at least thirty years older than Cornelia. The marriage is one of the acts by which Pompeius severed his alliance to Caesar and declared himself the champion of the optimates. He and Scipio were consuls together in 52.

In 53 BC, he was interrex with M. Valerius Messalla. He became consul with Pompeius in 52 BC, the year he arranged the marriage of his newly widowed daughter to him.

In January 49 BC, Metellus Scipio persuaded the senate to issue the ultimatum to Caesar that made war inevitable. That same year, he became proconsul of the province of Syria. In Syria and in the province of Asia, where he took up winter quarters, he used often oppressive means to gather ships, troops, and money.

In 48 BC, he brought his forces from Asia to Greece, where he maneuvered against Gn. Domitius Calvinus and L. Cassius until the arrival of Pompeius. At the Battle of Pharsalus, he commanded the centre. After the optimates' defeat by Caesar, Metellus fled to Africa. With the support of his former rival-in-romance Cato, he wrested the chief command of Pompeius's forces from the loyal Attius Varus, probably in early 47. In 46 BC, he held command at the Battle of Thapsus "without skill or success," and was defeated along with Cato. After the defeat he tried to escape to the Iberian Peninsula to continue the fight, but was cornered by the fleet of Publius Sittius. He committed suicide by stabbing himself so he would not fall at the hands of his enemies.

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