Scipio (cognomen) - The Family - Cultural Context

Cultural Context

The Scipiones were also famous for their interest in the Hellenistic way of life. Scipio Africanus was criticized by many in the Senate for his love of luxury and his Greek style of wearing the toga. Yet it was he and his friends who introduced the idea of formally educating women and children in Greek. They also spearhearded a luxurious style of living, with Africanus building an immense house on the Forum itself (subsequently rebuilt by his son-in-law into the Basilica Sempronia). Scipio is said to have introduced orange trees (from Iberia) to Rome, and also brought many rare flowering plants to Rome from Africa.

Scipio Aemilianus was famous for his Scipionic Circle, a group of scholars and philosophers that he gathered around him in his house in Rome. He was a patron and friend of the historian Polybius, the grammarian Lucilius, the playwright Terence, and others.

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