23. P. CORNELIUS SCIPIO NASICA CORCULUM, the son of No. 22, was twice consul, censor and pontifex maximus.
He inherited from his father a love for jurisprudence, and became so celebrated for his discernment and for his knowledge of the pontifical and civil law, that he received the surname of Corculum (corculum a corde dicebant antiqui solertem et acutum,
Festus, s. v.
He married a daughter of Scipio Africanus the elder.
He is first mentioned in B. C. 168, when he served with distinction under L. Aemilius Paulus in Macedonia.
He was consul for the first time in B. C. 162 with C. Marcius Figulus, but abdicated, together with his colleague, almost immediately after they had entered upon their office, on account of some fault in the auspices.
He was censor B. C. 159 with M. Popillius Laenas, when he enacted, together with his colleague, that no statues of public men should be allowed to be erected in the forum without the express sanction of the senate or the people.
In his censorship the clepsydra was for the first time introduced at Rome.
He was consul a second time in B. C. 155 with M. Claudius Marcellus, and subdued the Dalmatians.
He was a firm upholder of the old Roman habits and manners, and a strong opponent of all innovations, of which he gave a striking instance in his second consulship, by inducing the senate to order the demolition of a theatre, which was near completion, as injurious to public morals. When Cato repeatedly expressed his desire for the destruction of Carthage, Scipio, on the other hand, declared that he wished for its preservation, since the existence of such a rival would prove a useful check upon the licentiousness of the multitude.
He was elected pontifex maximus in B. C. 150.
The reputation of Scipio Corculum as a jurist has been already alluded to; his oratory is likewise praised by Cicero; and he is described by Aurelius Victor as a man " eloquentia primus, juris scientia consultissimus, ingenio sapientissimus." (Aurel. Vict. de Vir. Ill. 44,
who confounds him with his father; Liv. 44.35
, Epit. 47-49 ; Plb. 29.6
; Plin. Nat. 34.14
; Cic. de Nat. Deor.
2.4, de Div.
20, 58, Cat. 14, Tusc.
1.9; Plut. Cat. Maj. 27 ;
Appian, App. Pun. 69
, B. C. 1.28, but there is an anachronism in the last cited passage of Appian.)