Cornelius Scipio Salvito

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Cornelius Scipio ‘Salvito’ (the agnomen Salvito was conferred on him due to his resemblance to a mime artist of the same name)[1] was a minor member of the Cornelia gens who lived in the late Roman Republic. He was a relative of Scipio Africanus, the Roman general who defeated Hannibal.[2]

Salvito was, according to Plutarch and Suetonius, "a contemptible nobody",[3] who was taken by Julius Caesar in 46 BC on his North African campaign against the remnants of Pompey's forces, led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica. Because of a long standing belief that only a Scipio could be victorious in Africa, and because he was facing a Scipio, Caesar placed Salvito at the front of his army, either as a good luck charm to calm his nervous troops, or to demonstrate his contempt to Scipio Nasica.[4] Caesar forced him to attack the enemy frequently and to bring on the battle.



  1. ^ Pliny, Natural History VII, 12:30:2
  2. ^ Plutarch, Life of Caesar 52:5
  3. ^ Plutarch, 52:5; Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 59:1
  4. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 42:58:1; Plutarch, 52:5