Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Asina

Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Asina (lived 3rd century BC) was a Roman general and statesman involved in the First Punic War.

Scipio Asina belonged to the patrician family of the Cornelii Scipiones. He was son of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus and brother of Lucius Cornelius Scipio (consul 259 BC). Elected consul for the year 260 BC, Scipio Asina had the honour of commanding the first Roman fleet launched to the Mediterranean Sea.

While patrolling the waters of the Messina strait between Italy and Sicily with the first vessels, Scipio Asina received the information that Lipara, in the Lipari Islands, was about to change to the Roman side. Eager to secure such an important port and to cover himself with glory, he rushed to the islands without considering security. It is not sure if the Carthaginians planned the whole affair, but the Roman fleet was trapped in the harbor by Hannibal Gisco. Without naval warfare experience, the crews panicked and escaped to land, leaving the ships unattended and Scipio Asina to be made prisoner by the Carthaginians.[1] Although there was hardly any fighting, the encounter is known as the Battle of the Lipari Islands.

His mishap earned him the pejorative surname Asina ("ass", literally "female donkey", in Latin), given by political opponents. Neither the humiliation, nor his loss, ended his career; in 254 BC, Scipio Asina was elected consul for the second time and, with his co-consul Aulus Atilius Caiatinus, succeeded in the conquest of Panormus (Palermo, now capital of Sicily).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Polybius The Histories, 1.21
Political offices
Preceded by Roman consul
260 BC
With: Gaius Duilius
Succeeded by
Preceded by Roman consul II
254 BC
With: Aulus Atilius Caiatinus
Succeeded by