Scaurus was born in a patrician family, although impoverished. In order to maintain the family lifestyle, his father became a coal-dealer. But he himself declined any comercial activities (forbidden for senators) and embarked in a political life. Scaurus’ cursus honorum started as a military tribune allocated in the Hispania provinces. Then he became curule aedile in charge of the public games, and afterwards praetor. He was elected consul in 115 BC (with Marcus Caecilius Metellus as junior colleague, and, in the same year was nominated princeps senatus by the censors in office (Lucius Caecilius Metellus Diadematus and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus). As leader of the Roman senate he was often sent abroad to settle disputes amongst foreign kings. In 109 BC he was elected censor in partnership with Marcus Livius Drusus, who died in the next year, putting an end to the censorship. As censor he ordered the construction of the Via Aemilia Scaura and restored several bridges. In 104 BC he was became responsible for Rome’s grain supply. This was a very important office, given only to the most trustworthy persons, because the happiness of the population (and absence of mutinies) depended on it. Scaurus was throughout his political career the leader of the aristocratic conservative faction of the senate.
Marcus Aemilius Scaurus was a Roman politician of the 1st century BC, son of the above. Young Scaurus lost his father very young, but his education was insured by several family friends. Pompey the Great was briefly married to his sister Aemilia and even after her death, he continued to take personal interest on the young man. During the Third Mithridatic War, Pompey asked Scaurus by name to become his military tribune. During the campaign, Scaurus was responsible for the Judea region. At the time, the area was involved in a bloody civil war between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. Caught in a siege, Aristobulus asked Pompey's intervention through Scaurus and offered an enormous bribe. Afterwards, he accused Scaurus of extortion, but Pompey, who trusted his brother in law, decided to give Judea to his opponent Hyrcanus. He was killed soon afterwards, while fighting against the king of Petra, an ally of Aristobulus. Scaurus' death is mentioned in the Dead Sea scrolls.