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The Scipionic Circle, or the Circle of Scipio, was a group of
philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
,
poets A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience. The work of a poet is essentially one of communi ...

poets
, and
politicians A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resourc ...
patronized by their namesake,
Scipio Aemilianus Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus (185–129 BC), known as Scipio Aemilianus or Scipio Africanus the Younger, was a Roman general and statesman noted for his military exploits in the Third Punic War The Third Punic War (149 ...
. Together they would discuss Greek culture, literature, and humanism. Alongside their philhellenic disposition, the group also had a more humane Roman foreign policy. The term was first derived during the 19th century and ubiquitously adopted by scholars of the early 20th century.The Oxford Classical Dictionary
/ref> The collection of members varied during its existence, from 15 names of the early period, to 27 in its middle to 10 in its final. Contemporary academia regards the concept of the "Scipionic Circle" with suspicion.
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
is the primary source on the subject in his works ''
De amicitia ''Laelius de Amicitia'' (or simply ''De Amicitia'') is a treatise on friendship (''amicitia'') by the Roman statesman and author Marcus Tullius Cicero, written in 44 BC. Background The work is written as a dialogue between prominent figures of the ...
'' and '' De republica''. Cicero's construction bestows an unsupported unity between Scipio's friends. If there ever was such a unity it would be between Panaetius and the more philosophically-inclined members of the collective. In addition to a dependence on these works of Cicero, within these two works Cicero creates two different circles. Among other problems brought up academics, two of the most prominent members of the group,
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...
and
Panaetius Panaetius (; grc-gre, Παναίτιος ''Panetios''; c. 185 – c. 110/109 BC) of Rhodes was a Stoicism, Stoic philosopher. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater of Tarsus in Athens, before moving to Rome where he did much to introd ...
, could not have met as Terence had died prior to Panaetius arriving in Rome.


In ''

De re publica ''De re publica'' (''On the Commonwealth''; see below Below may refer to: *Earth *Ground (disambiguation) *Soil *Floor *Bottom (disambiguation) *Less than *Temperatures below freezing *Hell or underworld People with the surname *Fred Below (1926 ...
''

Main speakers: *
Scipio Aemilianus Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus (185–129 BC), known as Scipio Aemilianus or Scipio Africanus the Younger, was a Roman general and statesman noted for his military exploits in the Third Punic War The Third Punic War (149 ...
,
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
of Rome in 147 BC and 134 BC. *
Gaius Laelius SapiensGaius Laelius C.f. Sapiens (born c. 188 BC), was a Roman statesman, best known for his friendship with the Roman general and statesman Scipio Aemilianus (Scipio the Younger) (d. 129 BC). He was consul of 140 BC, elected with the help of his friend, ...
, consul of Rome in 140 BC. Senior speakers: *
Lucius Furius Philus Lucius Furius Philus was a Roman statesman who became Roman consul, consul of ancient Rome in 136 BC. He was a member of the Scipionic Circle, and particularly close to Scipio Aemilianus. As proconsul, his allotted province was Spain. The consul of ...
, consul of Rome in 136 BC. *
Manius ManiliusManius Manilius ( fl. 155149 BC) was a Roman Republican orator and distinguished jurist who also had a long military career. It is unclear if he was related to the Manius Manilius who was degraded by Cato the Censor for embracing his wife in broad ...
, consul of Rome in 149 BC. *
Spurius MummiusSpurius Mummius was a Ancient Rome, Roman soldier and writer. He was a legatus of his brother Lucius Mummius in Corinth in 146 BC and 145 BC and a close friend of Scipio Aemilianus. This friendship garnered his entrance into the Scipionic Circle. Po ...
, satirist and soldier. Younger speakers: * Quintus Aelius Tubero, tribunate in 130 BC. *
Publius Rutilius Rufus Publius Rutilius Rufus (158 BCafter 78 BC) was a Roman statesman, soldier, orator and historian of the Rutilia gens, as well as a great-uncle of Gaius Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, ...
, consul of Rome in 105 BC; fought alongside Scipio during the
Numantine War The Numantine WarThe term Numantine War can refer to the whole conflict lasting from 154 to 133 or to just the latter part, from 143 to 133. Thus, the two conflicts are sometimes called the Numantine Wars (plural) and subdivided into the First an ...
. *
Quintus Mucius Scaevola Augur Quintus Mucius Scaevola Augur (c. 169 – 88 BC) was a politician of the Roman Republic and an early authority on Roman law Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilizati ...
, consul of Rome in 117 BC. *
Gaius FanniusGaius Fannius Strabo (fl. 2nd century BC) was a Roman Republic, Roman republican politician who was elected Roman consul, consul in 122 BC, and was one of the principal opponents of Gaius Gracchus. He was a member of the Scipionic Circle. Career Gai ...
, consul of Rome in 122 BC. Having younger speakers illustrates "the Roman penchant for training the youth by having them listen to respected members of the previlous generation, as in
De oratore ''De Oratore'' (''On the Orator''; not to be confused with ''Orator An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled. Etymology Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or argues for ...
".''Cicero and the Development of Prudential Practice at Rome'', by Robert W. Cape Jr. from ''Prudence''. Ed. Robert Hariman. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. - Page 53.


In ''

De oratore ''De Oratore'' (''On the Orator''; not to be confused with ''Orator An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled. Etymology Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or argues for ...
''

This dialogue takes place in 129 BC, "in the aftermath of the turbulent reform politics of
Tiberius Gracchus Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (163/162–133 BC) was a populist Roman politician best known for his agrarian law, agrarian reform law entailing the transfer of land from the Roman state and wealthy landowners to poorer citizens. Against stiff op ...

Tiberius Gracchus
and shortly before Scipio's untimely and mysterious death." Senior Speakers: *
Quintus Mucius Scaevola Augur Quintus Mucius Scaevola Augur (c. 169 – 88 BC) was a politician of the Roman Republic and an early authority on Roman law Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilizati ...
, who "provides an important link between the two dialogues, a young man in De re publica and an old man, the father-in-law and teacher of Crassus, in De oratore."


Other members

*
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...
, Carthaginian-born playwright. *
Gaius Lucilius Gaius Lucilius (180, 168 or 148 BC – 103 BC) was the earliest Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
, the earliest Roman satirist. *
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
, a Greek historian. * Panaetius of Rhodes, the seventh and final
Stoic STOIC (Stack-Oriented Interactive Compiler) is a 1970s programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Progr ...
scholarch A scholarch ( grc, σχολάρχης, ''scholarchēs'') was the head of a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of tea ...
.


References

{{reflist Political thought in ancient Rome Roman-era philosophy