The War with Jugurtha

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The War with Jugurtha  (1921) 
by Sallust, translated by John C. Rolfe


Without reason do mankind complain of their nature, on the ground that it is weak and of short duration and ruled rather by chance than by virtue. For reflection would show on the contrary that nothing is greater or more excellent, and that nature has more often found diligence lacking in men than strength or endurance in itself. But the leader and ruler of man’s life is the mind, and when this advances to glory by the path of virtue, it has power and potency in abundance, as well as fame; and it needs not fortune, since fortune can neither give to any man honesty, diligence, and other good qualities, nor can she take them away. But if through the lure of base desires the mind has sunk into sloth and the pleasures of the body, when it has enjoyed ruinous indulgence for a season, when strength, time, and talents have been wasted through indolence, the weakness of human nature is accused, and the guilty shift their own blame to circumstances.

But if men had as great regard for honourable enterprises as they have ardour in pursuing what is foreign to their interests, and bound to be unprofitable and often even dangerous, they would control fate rather than be controlled by it, and would attain to that height of greatness where from mortals their glory would make them immortal.


For just as mankind is made up of body and soul, so all our acts and pursuits partake of the nature either of the body or of the mind. Therefore notable beauty and great riches, as well as bodily strength and all other gifts of that kind, soon pass away, but the splendid achievements of the intellect, like the soul, are everlasting.

In short, the goods of the body and of fortune have an end as well as a beginning, and they all rise and fall, wax and wane; but the mind, incorruptible, eternal, ruler of mankind, animates and controls all things, yet is itself not controlled. Therefore we can marvel the more at the perversity of those who pass their life in riotous living and idleness, given over to the pleasures of the body, but allow the mind, which is better and greater than anything else in man’s nature, to grow dull from neglect and inaction; especially when there are so many and so varied intellectual pursuits by which the highest distinction may be won.


But among these pursuits, in my opinion, magistracies and military commands, in short all public offices, are least desirable in these times, since honour is not bestowed upon merit, while those who have gained it wrongfully are neither safe nor the more honourable because of it.[1] For to rule one’s country or subjects[2] by force, although you both have the power to correct abuses, and do correct them, is nevertheless tyrannical; especially since all attempts at change foreshadow bloodshed, exile, and other horrors of war. Moreover, to struggle in vain and after wearisome exertion to gain nothing but hatred, is the height of folly, unless haply one is possessed by a dishonourable and pernicious passion for sacrificing one’s personal honour and liberty to the power of a few men.[3]


But among intellectual pursuits, the recording of the events of the past is especially serviceable; but of that it becomes me to say nothing, both because many men have already spoken of its value, and in order that no one may suppose that I am led by vanity to eulogize my own favourite occupation. I suppose, too, that since I have resolved to pass my life aloof from public affairs, some will apply to this arduous and useful employment of mine the name of idleness, certainly those who regard courting the people and currying favour by banquets as the height of industriousness. But if such men will only bear in mind in what times I was elected to office,[4] what men of merit were unable to attain the same honour[5] and what sort of men have since come into the senate,[6] they will surely be convinced that it is rather from justifiable motives than from indolence that I have changed my opinion, and that greater profit will accrue to our country from my inactivity than from others’ activity.

I have often heard that Quintus Maximus, Publius Scipio, and other eminent men of our country, were in the habit of declaring that their hearts were set mightily aflame for the pursuit of virtue whenever they gazed upon the masks[7] of their ancestors. Of course they did not mean to imply that the wax or the effigy had any such power over them, but rather that it is the memory of great deeds that kindles in the breasts of noble men this flame that cannot be quelled until they by their own prowess have equalled the fame and glory of their forefathers.

But in these degenerate days, on the contrary, who is there that does not vie with his ancestors in riches and extravagance rather than in uprightness and diligence? Even the “new men,”[8] who in former times already relied upon worth to outdo the nobles, now make their way to power and distinction by intrigue and open fraud rather than by noble practices; just as if a praetorship, a consulship, or anything else of the kind were distinguished and illustrious in and of itself and were not valued according to the merit of those who live up to it. But in giving expression to my sorrow and indignation at the morals of our country I have spoken too freely and wandered too far from my subject. To this I now return.


I propose to write of the war which the people of Rome waged with Jugurtha, king of the Numidians; first, because it was long, sanguinary and of varying fortune; and secondly, because then for the first time resistance was offered to the insolence of the nobles—the beginning of a struggle which threw everything, human and divine, into confusion, and rose to such a pitch of frenzy that civil discord ended in war and the devastation of Italy. But before actually beginning such a narrative, let me recall a few earlier events, in order that everything may be placed in a better light for our understanding and may be the more clearly revealed.

During the second Punic war, when Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginians, had dealt Italy’s power the heaviest blow since the Roman nation attained its full stature, Masinissa, king of Numidia, had become the friend of Publius Scipio, afterwards surnamed Africanus because of his prowess, and performed many illustrious deeds of arms. In return for this, after the defeat of the Carthaginians and the capture of Syphax, whose dominion in Africa was great and extensive, the Roman people gave Masinissa as a free gift all the cities and territories that he[9] had taken in war. Consequently Masinissa was ever our true and loyal friend. But his reign and his life ended together. His son Micipsa then became sole ruler, since his brothers Mastanabal and Gulussa had fallen ill and died. Micipsa begot Adherbal and Hiempsal, and brought up in the palace, in the same manner as his own children, a son of his brother Mastanabal called Jugurtha, whom Masinissa in his will had allowed to remain a commoner because he was the offspring of a concubine.


As soon as Jugurtha grew up, endowed as he was with physical strength, a handsome person, but above all with a vigorous intellect, he did not allow himself to be spoiled by luxury or idleness, but following the custom of that nation, he rode, he hurled the javelin, he contended with his fellows in foot-races; and although he surpassed them all in renown, he nevertheless won the love of all. Besides this, he devoted much time to the chase, he was the first or among the first to strike down the lion and other wild beasts, he distinguished himself greatly, but spoke little of his own exploits.

At first Micipsa was delighted with this conduct, believing that the prowess of Jugurtha would contribute to the glory of his kingdom; but when he realized that the man was young and constantly growing in power, while he himself was advanced in years and his children were small, he was seriously troubled by the situation and gave it constant thought. He dreaded the natural disposition of mankind, which is greedy for power and eager to gratify its heart’s desire, while his own years and the youthfulness of his sons offered that opportunity which through the hope of gain leads astray even men of moderate ambition. He observed too the devotion which Jugurtha had inspired in the Numidians, and was apprehensive of some rebellion or war from that source, if by treachery he should cause the death of such a man.


Embarrassed by these problems, and seeing that one so dear to the people could not be put out of way by violence or by stratagem, he resolved, inasmuch as Jugurtha was full of energy and eager for military glory, to expose him to dangers and thus put fortune to the proof. Accordingly, when Micipsa sent cavalry and infantry to aid the Romans in the war with Numantia, he gave Jugurtha command of the Numidians whom he sent to Spain, hoping that he would easily fall a victim either to a desire to display his valour or to the ruthless foe.

But the result was not at all what he had expected; for Jugurtha, who had an active and keen intellect, soon became acquainted with the character of Publius Scipio, who then commanded the Romans, and with the tactics of the enemy. Then by hard labour and attention to duty, at the same time by showing strict obedience and often courting dangers, he shortly acquired such a reputation that he became a very popular with our soldiers and a great terror to the Numantians. In fact, he was both valiant in war and wise in counsel, a thing most difficult to achieve, for most often wisdom through caution leads to timorousness and valour through boldness to rashness. Therefore Scipio relied upon Jugurtha for almost all difficult undertakings, treated him as a friend, and grew more and more attached to him every day, since the young Numidian failed neither in judgment nor in any enterprise. He had, besides, a generous nature and a ready wit, qualities by which he had bound many Romans to him in intimate friendship.


At that time there were a great many in our army, both new men and nobles, who cared more for riches than for virtue and self-respect; they were intriguers at home, influential with our allies, rather notorious than respected. These men fired Jugurtha’s ambitious spirit by holding out hopes that if king Micipsa should die, he might gain the sole power in Numidia, since he himself stood first in merit,[10] while at Rome anything could be bought.

Now when Numantia had been destroyed and Publius Scipio determined to disband his auxiliary troops and return to Rome himself, after giving Jugurtha gifts and commending him in the highest terms before the assembled soldiers, he took him into his tent. There he privately advised the young man to cultivate the friendship of the Roman people at large rather than that of individual Roman citizens, and not to form the habit of bribery. It was dangerous, he said, to buy from a few what belonged to the many. If Jugurtha would continue as he had begun, fame and a throne would come to him unsought; but if he acted too hastily, he would bring about his ruin by means of his own money.


After speaking in this way, Scipio dismissed the young man with a letter to be delivered to Micipsa, the purport of which was this: “The valour of your Jugurtha in the Numantine war was most conspicuous, as I am sure you will be glad to learn. To us he is dear because of his services, and we shall use our best efforts to make him beloved also by the senate and people of Rome. As your friend I congratulate you; in him you have a hero worthy of yourself and of his grandfather Masinissa.”

Then the king, upon learning from the general’s letter that the reports which had come to his ears were true, was led both by Jugurtha’s merits and by his influential position to change his plans and attempt to win the young man by kindness. He adopted him at once[11] and in his will named joint heir with his sons. But a few years later and upon his own motion the king, then enfeebled by years and illness and realizing that the end of his life was near, is said to have talked with Jugurtha in the presence of his friends and kinsfolk, including his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal, in some such terms as the following.


“When you were a small boy, Jugurtha, an orphan without prospects or means, I took you into the royal household, believing that because of my kindness you would love me as if you were my own child. As I was not mistaken; for, to say training of your other great and noble actions, of late on your return from Numantia you have conferred honour upon me and my realm by your glory, and by your prowess have made the Romans still more friendly to Numidia than before; while in Spain the name of our family has been given new life.[12] Finally, by the glory you have won you have overcome envy, a most difficult feat for mortal man. Now, since nature is bringing my life to its close, I conjure and implore you by this right hand, by the loyalty due to the kingdom,[13] hold dear these youths who are your kinsmen by birth and through my favour are your brothers; and do not desire to make new friends among strangers in preference to keeping the love of those who are bound to you by ties of blood. Neither armies nor treasure form the bulwarks of a throne, but friends; these you can neither acquire by force or arms nor buy with gold; it is by devotion and loyalty that they are won. But who is more bound by ties of friendship than brother to brother, or what stranger will find you loyal, if you become the enemy of your kindred? I deliver to you three a realm that is strong if you prove virtuous, but weak if you do ill; for harmony makes small states great, while discord undermines the mightiest empires. As for the rest, it devolves upon you, Jugurtha, rather than upon these children, since you are older and wiser than they, to see to it that my hopes are not disappointed. For in all strife the stronger, even though he suffer wrong, is looked upon as the aggressor because of his superior power. As for you, Adherbal and Hiempsal, love and respect this great man, emulate his virtues, and strive to show that I did not adopt better children than I begat.”


Although Jugurtha knew that the king spoke insincerely, and though he had very different designs in his own mind, yet he returned a gracious answer, suited to the occasion. A few days later Micipsa died. After the princes had performed his obsequies with regal splendour, they met together for a general discussion of their affairs. Then Hiempsal, the youngest of the three, who was naturally haughty and even before this had shown his contempt for Jugurtha’s inferior birth because he was not his equal on the maternal side, sat down on the right of Adherbal, in order to prevent Jugurtha from taking his place between the two, a position which is regarded as an honour among the Numidians. Afterwards, however, when his brother begged him to show respect to greater years, he was reluctantly induced to move to the other side.

At this meeting, in the course of a long discussion about the government of the kingdom, Jugurtha suggested, among other measures, that they ought to annul all laws and decrees passed within the past five years, on the ground that during that time Micipsa was far gone in years and hardly of sound mind. Thereupon Hiempsal again spoke up and declared that he approved the suggestion; for it was within the last three years, he said, that Jugurtha himself had been adopted and thus given a share in the kingdom. This remark sank more deeply into Jugurtha’s mind than anyone would have supposed. So, from that moment he was a prey to resentment and fear, planned and schemed, and thought of nothing except some means by which he might outwit and ensnare Hiempsal. But since his plans moved too slowly and his proud spirit retained its anger, he resolved to effect his design in any possible way.


At the first meeting of the princes, which I have already mentioned, they failed to agree and therefore determined to divide the treasures and partition the kingdom among the three. Accordingly, they set a time for both events, that for the division of the money being the earlier, and meanwhile came by different routes to a place near the treasury. Now it chanced that Hiempsal was occupying a house in the town of Thirmida which belonged to Jugurtha’s most confidential attendant,[14] who had always been his master’s dear and beloved friend. This man, whom chance threw in his way as an agent, Jugurtha loaded with promises, and induced him to go to his house on the pretext of inspecting it and to have false keys made for the doors; for the true ones used to be delivered to Hiempsal.[15] As to the rest, Jugurtha himself promised to be at hand at the proper time with a strong force. The Numidian promptly carried out his instructions, and, as he had been directed, let in Jugurtha’s soldiers by night. They rushed into the house, scattered in search of the king, slew some of the household in their sleep and others as they offered resistance, ransacked all hiding-places, broke down doors, and filled the whole place with noise and confusion. Meanwhile, Hiempsal was found hiding in the cell of a maid-servant, where in his first terror, unacquainted as he was with the premises, he had taken refuge. The Numidians did as they were ordered, and brought his head to Jugurtha.


Now, in a short time the news of this awful crimes spread over all Africa. Fear seized Adherbal and all the former subjects of Micipsa. The Numidians were divided into two parties, the greater number siding with Adherbal, but the better soldiers with his rival. Jugurtha then armed the largest possible number of troops, brought some cities under his sway by force and others with their consent, and prepared to make himself ruler of all Numidia. Although Adherbal had at once dispatched envoys to Rome, to inform the senate of his brother’s murder and his own position, yet he prepared to take the field, relying upon the superior number of his troops. But he was defeated in the very first engagement, fled to our province,[16] and thence made his way to Rome.

Then Jugurtha, when he had carried out his plans and was in possession of all Numidia, having leisure to think over what he had done, began to be afraid of the Roman people and to despair of escaping their anger except through the avarice of the Roman nobles and his own wealth. Accordingly, a few days later, he sent envoys to Rome with a great amount of gold and silver, directing them first to load his old friends with presents, and then to win new ones—in short, to make haste to accomplish by largess whatever they could.

But when the envoys arrived at Rome, and, as the king had commanded, sent magnificent presents to his friends and to others of the senate whose influence at the time was powerful, such a change of sentiment ensued that in place of the pronounced hostility of the nobles Jugurtha gained their favour and support. Induced in some cases by hope, in others by bribery, they went about to individual members of the senate and urged them not to take too severe measures against Jugurtha. When, because of this, the envoys came to feel sufficient confidence, a time was appointed for the appearance of both parties before the senate. Thereupon Adherbal is said to have spoken in the following terms:


“Fathers of the Senate, my sire Micipsa admonished me on his death-bed to consider that I was only a steward of the kingdom of Numidia,[17] but that the right and authority were in your hands; at the same time he bade me strive to be as helpful as possible to the Roman people in peace and in war and to regard you as my kindred and relatives. He declared that if I did this, I should find in your friendship an army, and wealth, and bulwarks for my kingdom. As I was following these injunctions of my father, Jugurtha, wickedest of all men on the face of the earth, in despite of your power robbed me, the grandson of Masinissa and hereditary friend and ally of the Roman people, of my throne and all my fortunes.

“And for myself, Fathers of the Senate, since I was doomed to such a depth of wretchedness, I could wish that I might ask your help rather because of my own services than those of my ancestors; I could wish above all that favours were due to me from the Roman people which I did not need; and failing this, that if they were needed I might accept them as my due. But since virtue alone is not its own protection, and since it was not in my power to mould the character of Jugurtha, I have had recourse to you, Fathers of the Senate, to whom (and this is greatest part of my wretchedness) I am compelled to be a burden before I have been an aid. All other kings have been admitted to your friendship when they were vanquished in war, or have sought your alliance in their time of peril; our family established friendly relations with Rome during the war with Carthage, at a time when the plighted word of Rome was a greater inducement to us than her fortune.[18] Therefore do not allow me, their descendant and the grandson of Masinissa, to implore your aid in vain.

“If I had no other reason for asking the favour than my pitiable lot—of late a king, mighty in family, fame and fortune; now broken by woes, destitute and appealing to others for help—it would nevertheless be becoming to the majesty of the Roman people to defend me against wrong and not to allow any man’s power to grow great through a crime. But in fact I am driven from the lands which the people of Rome gave to my forefathers and from which my father and grandfather helped you to drive Syphax and the Carthaginians. It is your gift, Fathers of the Senate, which has been wrested from me, and in the wrong done to me you have been scorned. Woe’s me! O my father Micipsa, has this been the effect of your kindness, that the man whom you put on an equality with your own children, whom you made a partner in your kingdom, should of all men be the destroyer of your house?

“Shall my family then never find rest? Shall we always dwell amid bloodshed, arms and exile? While the Carthaginians were unconquered, we naturally suffered all kinds of hardship; the enemy were upon our flank, you, our friends, were far away; all our hope was in our arms. After Africa had been freed from that pestilence, we enjoyed the delights of peace, since we had no enemy, unless haply at your command.[19] But lo! on a sudden, Jugurtha, carried away by intolerable audacity, wickedness and arrogance, after killing my brother, who was also his kinsman, first made Hiempsal’s realm the spoil of his crime; then, when he had failed to outwit me by the same wiles, and when under your sovereignty I was looking for anything rather than violence or war, he has made me, as you see, an exile from home and country, a prey to want and wretchedness, and safer anywhere than in my own kingdom.

“I always used to think, Fathers of the Senate, as I had heard my father maintain, that those who diligently cultivated your friendship undertook an arduous duty, indeed, but were safe beyond all others. Our family has done its best to aid you in all your wars; that we may enjoy peace and safety, Fathers of the Senate, is in your power. Our father left two of us brothers; a third,[20] Jugurtha, he hoped to add to our number by his favours. One of the three has been slain; I myself have barely escaped the sacrilegious hands of the other. What shall I do, or to what special protection shall I appeal in my troubles? All the defences of my house are destroyed. My father, as was inevitable, has paid the debt of nature. My brother has lost his life through the crime of a kinsman, the last man who ought to have raised a hand against him. Relatives, friends, and others who were near to me have fallen by one blow or another. Of those taken by Jugurtha some have been crucified, others thrown to wild beasts; a few, whose lives were spared, in gloomy dungeons amid sorrow and lamentation drag out an existence worse than death. But if all that I have lost, or all that has turned from affection to hostility, remained untouched, even then, if any unexpected misfortune had befallen me, I should appeal to you, Fathers of the Senate, whom it befits, because of the extent of your dominion, to take under your care all matters of right and wrong everywhere. As it is, however, an exile from home and country, alone, and stripped of all that becomes my station, where shall I take refuge or to whom shall I appeal? To nations or kings, all of whom are hostile to our family because of our friendship for you? To what land can I turn and not find there many a record of my ancestors’ acts of hostility? Can anyone feel compassion for us who was ever your enemy? Finally, Fathers of the Senate, Masinissa instructed us to attach ourselves to none save the Roman people and to contract no new leagues and alliances; he declared that in your friendship there would be for us all an ample protection, and that, if the fortune of your empire should change, we must fall with it.

“Through valour and the favour of the gods you are mighty and powerful, all things are favourable and yield obedience to you; hence you may the more readily have regard to the wrongs of your allies. My only fear is lest private friendship for Jugurtha, the true character of which is not evident, may lead some of your number astray; for I hear that his partisans are using every effort, and are soliciting and entreating each of you separately not to pass any judgment upon him in his absence without a hearing. They declare that I am speaking falsely and feigning the necessity for flight, when I might have remained in my own kingdom. As to that, I hope that I may yet see the man through whose impious crime I have been subjected to these woes making the same pretence, and that at last either you or the immortal gods may begin to take thought for human affairs! Then of a truth that wretch, who now exults and glories in his crimes, will be tortured by ills of every kind and pay a heavy penalty for his treachery to our father, for the murder of my brother, and for my unhappiness.

“At last, brother dearest to my heart, although life has been taken from you untimely by the last hand that should have been raised against you, yet your fate seems to me a cause for joy rather than for sorrow. For when you lost your life it was not your throne you lost, but it was flight, exile, want and all these woes which weigh me down. While I, poor wretch, hurled from my father’s throne into this sea of troubles, present a tragedy of human vicissitude, being at a loss what course to take, whether to try to avenge your wrongs when I myself am in need of aid, or to take thought for my throne when the very question of my life or death hangs upon the help of others. Would that death were an honourable means of escape for one of my estate! Would that, worn out by affliction, I could succumb to oppression without appearing justly contemptible! As it is, life has no charms for me, but death is impossible without shame.

“Fathers of the Senate, I beseech you in your own name, by your children and parents, and by the majesty of the Roman people, aid me in my distress, set your faces against injustice, do not permit the kingdom of Numidia, which belongs to you, to be ruined by villainy and the blood-guiltiness of our family.”


After the king had finished speaking, the envoys of Jugurtha, who relied rather upon bribery than upon the justice of their cause, replied briefly. They declared that Hiempsal had been slain by the Numidians because of his savage cruelty; that Adherbal after making war without provocation and suffering defeat, was complaining because he had been prevented from inflicting injury. Jugurtha, they said, begged the senate not to think him other than he had shown himself at Numantia, or let the words of an enemy outweigh his own actions.

Then both parties left the House and the matter was at once laid before the senate. The partisans of the envoys, and a large number of other senators who had been corrupted by their influence, derided the words of Adherbal and lauded the virtues of Jugurtha; exerting their influence, their eloquence, in short every possible means, they laboured as diligently in defence of the shameful crime of a foreigner as though they were striving to win honour. A few, on the other hand, to whom right and justice were more precious than riches, recommended that aid be given to Adherbal and that the death of Hiempsal be severely punished. Conspicuous among these was Aemilius Scaurus, a noble full of energy, a partisan, greedy for power, fame, and riches, but clever in concealing his faults. As soon as this man saw the king’s bribery, so notorious and so brazen, fearing the usual result in such cases, namely, that such gross corruption would arouse popular resentment, he curbed his habitual cupidity.


In spite of all, that faction of the senate prevailed which rated money and favour higher than justice. It was voted that ten commissioners should divide Micipsa’s former kingdom between Jugurtha and Adherbal. The head of this commission was Lucius Opimius, a distinguished man, who was influential in the seante at that time because in his consulship,[21] after bringing about the death of Gaius Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, he had made cruel use of the victory of the nobles over the people. Although at Rome Opimius had been one of Jugurtha’s opponents, the king received him with the greatest respect, and soon induced him, by many gifts and promises, to consider Jugurtha’s advantage of more consequence than his own fair fame, his honour, and in short, than all personal considerations. Then adopting the same tactics with the other envoys, Jugurtha won over the greater number of them; only a few held their honour dearer than gold. When the division was made, the part of Numidia adjoining Mauretania, which was the more fertile and thickly populated, was assigned to Jugurtha; the other part, preferable in appearance rather than in reality, having more harbours and being provided with more buildings, fell to Adherbal.


My subject seems to call for a brief account of the geography of Africa and some description of the nations there with which the people of Rome has had wars or alliances. Of those regions and peoples, however, which are seldom visited because of the heat, the difficulty of access, or the stretches of desert, I could not easily give an account based upon certain information. The rest I shall dispatch in the fewest possible words.

In their division of the earth’s surface geographers commonly regard Africa as a third part, a few recognize only Asia and Europe, including Africa in the latter.[22] Africa is bounded on the west by the strait between our sea and the Ocean, on the east by a broad sloping tract which the natives call Catabathmos.[23] The sea is rough and without harbours, the soil fertile in grain, and favourable to flocks and herds but unproductive of trees; heaven and earth are niggardly of water.[24] The natives are healthy, swift of foot, and of great endurance. They commonly die of old age, unless they fall victims to the steel or to wild beasts; for disease seldom gets the better of any of them. Moreover the country abounds in dangerous wild animals.

What men inhabited Africa originally, and who came later, or how the races mingled, I shall tell as briefly as possible. Although my account varies from the prevailing tradition, I give it as it was translated to me from the Punic books said to have been written by king Hiempsal,[25] and in accordance with what the dwellers in that land believe. But the responsibility for its truth will rest with my authorities.


In the beginning Africa was inhabited by the Gaetulians and Libyans, rude and uncivilized folk, who fed like beasts on the flesh of wild animals and the fruits of the earth. They were governed neither by institutions[26] nor law, nor were they subject to anyone’s rule. A restless, roving people, they had their abodes wherever night compelled a halt.

But when Hercules died in Spain, as the Africans believe, the men of divers nationalities who formed his army, now that their leader was gone and since there were many on every hand who aspired to succeed him, soon dispersed. Of those who made up the army, the Medes, Persians and Armenians crossed by ships into Africa and settled in the regions nearest to our sea, the Persians closer to the Ocean;[27] and these used as huts the inverted hulls of their ships; for there was no timber in the land, and there was no opportunity to obtain it from the Spaniards by purchase or barter, since the wide expanse of sea and ignorance of the language were a bar to intercourse. The Persians intermarried with the Gaetulians and were gradually merged with them, and because they often moved from place to place trying the soil, they called themselves Nomads.[28] It is an interesting fact, that even to the present day the dwellings of the rustic Numidians, which they call mapalia, are oblong and have roofs with curved sides, like the hulls of ships.

But the Medes and the Armenians had the Libyans as their nearest neighbours; for that people lived closer to the Afric sea,[29] while the Gaetulians were farther to the south, not far from the regions of heat. These three peoples[30] soon had towns; for being separated from the Spaniards only by the strait, they began to exchange wares with them. The Libyans gradually altered the name of the Medes, calling them in their barbarian tongue Mauri (Moors).[31]

Now the commonwealth of the Persians[32] soon increased and finally the younger generation, under the name of Numidians, separated from their parents because of the excess of population and took possession of the region next to Carthage, which is called Numidia. Then both peoples,[33] relying upon each other’s aid, brought their neighbours under their sway by arms or by fear and acquired renown and glory, especially those who had come near to our sea, because the Libyans are less warlike than the Gaetulians. Finally, the greater part of northern Africa fell into the hands of the Numidians, and all the vanquished were merged in the race and name of their rulers.


Later the Phoenicians, sometimes for the sake of ridding themselves of the superfluous population at home, sometimes from desire for dominion tempting away the commons and others who were desirous of a change, founded Hippo,[34] Hadrumentum, Lepcis,[35] and other cities on the coast. These soon became very powerful and were in some cases a defence and in others a glory to the mother city. As to Carthage, I think it better to be silent rather than say too little, since time warns me to hasten on to other topics.

In the neighbourhood, then, of the Catabathmos, the region which separates Egypt from Africa, the first city as you follow the coast[36] is Cyrene[37] and then come the two Syrtes[38] with Lepcis[39] between them. Next we come to the altars of the Philaeni, the point which the Carthaginians regarded as marking the boundary between their empire and Egypt; then other Punic cities. The rest of the region as far as Mauretania is held by the Numidians, while the people nearest Spain are the Moors. South of Numidia, we are told, are the Gaetulians, some of whom live in huts, while others lead a less civilized nomadic life. Still farther to the south are the Aethiopians, and then come the regions parched by the sun’s heat.

Now at the time of the war with Jugurtha the Romans were governing through their officials nearly all the Punic cities, as well as the territory which in their latter days[40] had belonged to the Carthaginians. The greater number of the Gaetulians, and Numidia as far as the river Muluccha, were subject to Jugurtha. All the Moors were ruled by king Bocchus, who knew nothing of the Roman people save their name and was in turn unknown to us before that time either in peace or in war.

This account of Africa and its peoples is enough for my purpose.


As soon as the deputies left Africa, after dividing the kingdom, and Jugurtha found, in spite of his secret fears, that he had gained the price of his crime, he felt convinced of the truth of what he had heard from his friends at Numantia, that at Rome anything could be bought.[41] Accordingly, he began to covet Adherbal’s kingdom, spurred on besides by the promises of those whom he had shortly before loaded with presents. He himself was active and warlike, while his intended victim was quiet, peaceful, of a tranquil disposition, open to attack and rather inclined to fear than an object of fear. Therefore when Jugurtha suddenly invaded Adherbal’s territory with a large force, he took many prisoners, as well as cattle and other plunder, set fire to buildings, and raided several places with his cavalry. He then withdrew with his entire force into his own kingdom, supposing that Adherbal would be led by resentment to resort to force in order to avenge the wrongs which had been done him, and that this would furnish a pretext for war. Adherbal, however, realizing that in arms he was no match for his rival and putting more trust in the friendship of the Roman people than in the Numidians, sent envoys to Jugurtha to protest against the outrages; and although they brought back an insulting answer, he resolved to put up with anything rather than resort to war, which he had already tried with so little success. This, however, did not diminish the ardour of Jugurtha, who in his mind’s eye had already seized all Adherbal’s realm. He therefore began to wage war, not as before with a predatory band, but with a great army which he had got together, and to lay claim openly to the sovereignty of all Numidia. Wherever he went he laid waste cities and fields and drove off booty, thus inspiring his followers with confidence and striking the enemy with fear.


When Adherbal perceived that matters had gone so far that he must either give up his kingdom or retain it by force of arms, he yielded to necessity, mustered an army, and went to meet Jugurtha. At first the two armies encamped not far from the sea near the town of Cirta, but because it was late in the day they did not join battle. When the greater part of the night had passed but while it was still dark, the soldiers of Jugurtha on a given signal attacked the camp of the enemy, surprised them either half asleep or just taking up arms, and routed them. Adherbal with a few horsemen fled to Cirta, and if it had not been for the throng of Roman civilians, who held off the pursuing Numidians from the walls, the war between the two kings would have begun and ended on the selfsame day. Jugurtha thereupon invested the town and attempted to carry it by mantlets,[42] towers and engines of all kinds, making all haste to anticipate the coming of the envoys, who, as he had heard, had been sent to Rome by Adherbal before the battle was fought.

Now after the senate heard that they were at war, three young men were despatched to Africa, with instructions to approach both kings and announce in the name of the Roman senate and people that it was their desire and command that the combatants should lay down their arms and settle their disagreement by law rather than by war; that this was due both to the Romans and to themselves.


The envoys soon arrived in Africa, making the more haste because, as they were preparing to leave Rome, word came that the battle had taken place and that Cirta was besieged; but the rumour failed to do justice to the reality. When Jugurtha heard their message he rejoined that nothing had more weight and nothing was more precious to him than the will of the senate; from youth up he had striven to win the approval of all good men; it was by merit, not by baseness, that he had found favour with the great Publius Scipio, and it was for the same qualities that Micipsa had made him heir to a part of his kingdom, not because the king lacked children. But, he said, the more numerous his acts of virtue and courage had been, the less his spirit was able to brook wrongs. Adherbal had treacherously plotted against his life, and he had discovered and resisted the criminal attempt. The people of Rome would act neither justly nor rightly,[43] if they denied him the privileges of the law of nations. In conclusion, he said that he would soon send envoys to Rome to explain the whole affair. Thereupon both parties separated; no opportunity was allowed of addressing Adherbal.


Jugurtha waited until he thought that the envoys had left Africa, and then, finding himself unable to take Cirta by storm because of its natural strength, surrounded its wall with a rampart and a ditch. He built towers and filled them with armed men, attacked besides day and night either with force or craft, now offering bribes to the defenders and now threats, rousing his own men to courage by exhortations and displaying the greatest vigour in all his efforts.

When Adherbal saw that all his fortunes were in jeopardy, that his enemy was implacable, that there was no hope of succour, and that because of lack of the necessities of life he could not endure a protracted war, he selected two of the boldest of the soldiers who had fled with him to Cirta. These he induced by many promises, and by dwelling upon his desperate plight, to make their way through the enemy’s lines by night to the nearest sea-coast, and from there to Rome.


Within a few days these Numidians had carried out Adherbal’s instructions, and a letter of his was read in the senate, of which the substance was as follows:

“It is no fault of mine, Fathers of the Senate, that I often address an appeal to you; on the contrary, I am constrained by the violence of Jugurtha, who is possessed with such a desire for my destruction that he regards neither you nor the immortal Gods, but above everything thirsts for my blood. Hence it is that I, though an ally and friend of the Roman people, have now for more than four months been held in a state of siege, and that neither the services of my father Micipsa nor your decrees avail me; whether sword or famine press harder one I know not. My condition would dissuade me from writing more about Jugurtha; for I have already learned that little confidence is bestowed upon the unfortunate. Except that I feel sure that he is aiming at a higher mark than myself, and that he does not hope at the same time for your friendship and my kingdom. Which of these two he values the more highly is evident to everyone; for he first slew Hiempsal, my brother, and then drove me from my father’s kingdom. With my personal wrongs you have no concern, but it is your realm that he now holds by force of arms, and it is I, whom you make ruler of Numidia, that he is besieging. How much regard he has for the commands of your envoys is shown by my perilous state. What is there left but your might which can influence him? For my own part, I could wish that these words which I am now writing, and the complaints which I have already made in the senate, were false, rather than that they should be proved true by my own wretchedness. But since I was created merely to be a monument to Jugurtha’s crimes, I no longer pray to be spared death or unhappiness, but only that I may escape the tyranny of an enemy and bodily torment. As to Numidia, which is yours, take any action you choose, but save me from impious hands, I implore you by the majesty of your empire and by the loyalty of your friendship, if you retain any memory at all of my grandfather Masinissa.”


Upon the reading of this letter some were for sending an army to Africa and rendering aid to Adherbal as soon as ossible, recommending that in the meantime the senate should take cognizance of Jugurtha’s failure to obey the envoys. But those same partisans of the king to whom I have already referred used every effort to prevent the passing of such a decree. Thus, as happens in many instances, the public welfare was sacrificed to private interests. Nevertheless men of years and rank, who had held the highest offices of state, were sent to Africa, among them Marcus Scaurus, of whom I have already spoken, and ex-consul and at the time the leader of the senate.

These men, influenced by the public indignation and also by the prayers of the Numidians, embarked within three days. Landing shortly afterward at Utica, they sent a letter to Jugurtha, directing him to come as speedily as possible to the Roman province, adding that they had been sent to him by the senate. When Jugurtha learned that men of distinction, whose influence at Rome was said to be powerful, had come to oppose his attempt, he was at first greatly disturbed and began to waver between fear and greed. He dreaded the senate’s wrath in case he disobeyed the envoys; at the same time his spirit, blinded by cupidity, urged him to consummate his crime. But in his greedy soul the worst counsel prevailed. Accordingly he surrounded Cirta with his army, and made a supreme effort to carry the town, having great hopes that by extending the enemy’s line of defence he might find an opportunity for victory either in force or in stratagem. But when he was disappointed in this and thwarted in his purpose of getting Adherbal into his power before meeting the envoys, he was unwilling by further delay to exasperate Scaurus, whom he particularly feared; he therefore came into our province with a few horsemen. But although terrible threats were made in the name of the senate because he did not abandon the siege, the envoys went away unsuccessful after wasting a great deal of oratory.


When this was reported at Cirta, the Italiotes,[44] on whose valour the defence of the town depended, were confident that in the event of surrender they would escape injury because of the prestige of Rome. They therefore advised Adherbal to deliver himself and the town to Jugurtha, stipulating merely that his life should be spared and leaving the rest to the senate. But Adherbal, though he thought that anything was better than trusting to Jugurtha, yet because the Italiotes were in a position to use compulsion if he opposed them, surrendered on the terms which they had advised. Thereupon Jugurtha first tortured Adherbal to death and then made an indiscriminate massacre of all the adult Numidians and of traders whom he found with arms in their hands.


When this outrage became known at Rome and the matter was brought up for discussion in the senate, those same tools of the king, by interrupting the discussions and wasting time, often through their personal influence, often by wrangling, tried to disguise the atrocity of the deed. And had not Gaius Memmius, tribune of the commons elect, a man of spirit who was hostile to the domination of the nobles, made it clear to the populace of Rome that the motive of these tactics was to condone Jugurtha’s crime through the influence of a few of his partisans, the deliberations would undoubtedly have been protracted until all indignation had evaporated: so great was the power of the king’s influence and money. But when the senate from consciousness of guilt began to fear the people, Numidia and Italy, as the Sempronian law[45] required, were assigned to the consuls who should next be elected. The consuls in question were Publius Scipio Nasica and Lucius Calpurnius Bestia; Numidia fell to Bestia, Italy to Scipio. An army was then enrolled to be transported to Africa, the soldiers’ pay and other necessaries of war were voted.


When Jugurtha heard this unexpected news (for he had a firm conviction that at Rome anything could be bought) he sent his son, and with him two friends, as envoys to the senate, giving them the same directions that he had given those whom he sent after murdering Hiempsal, namely, to try the power of money on everybody. As this deputation drew near the city, Bestia referred to the senate the question whether they would consent to receive Jugurtha’s envoys within the walls. The members thereupon decreed that unless the envoys had come to surrender the king and his kingdom, they must leave Italy within the next ten days. The consul gave orders that the Numidians should be notified of the senate’s action; they therefore went home without fulfilling their mission.

Meanwhile Calpurnius, having levied his army, chose as his lieutenants men of noble rank and strong party spirit, by whose influence he hoped that any misdeeds of his would be upheld. Among these was Scaurus, whose character and conduct I described a short time ago.[46] For though our consul possessed many excellent qualities of mind and body, they were all nullified by avarice. He had great endurance, a keen intellect, no little foresight, considerable military experience, and a stout heart in the face of dangers and plots. Now the legions were transported across Italy to Rhegium, from there to Sicily, from Sicily to Africa. Then Calpurnius, having provided himself with supplies, began by making a vigorous attack on the Numidians, taking many prisoners and storming several of their towns.


But when Jugurtha through his emissaries began to try the power of money upon Calpurnius and to point out the difficulty of the war which he was conducting, the consul’s mind, demoralized as it was by avarice, was easily turned from its purpose. Moreover, he took Scaurus as an accomplice and tool in all his designs; for although at first, even after many of his own party had been seduced, Scaurus had vigorously opposed the king, a huge bribe had turned him from honour and virtue to criminality. At first, however, Jugurtha merely purchased a delay in hostilities, thinking that he could meanwhile effect something at Rome by bribery or by his personal interest. But as soon as he learned that Scaurus was implicated, he conceived a strong hope of gaining peace, and decided to discuss all the conditions in person with the envoys.

But meanwhile, as a token of good faith, the consul sent his quaestor Sextius to Vaga, a town of Jugurtha’s, ostensibly to receive the grain which Calpurnius had publicly demanded of the envoys in return for observing an armistice until a surrender should be arranged. Thereupon the king, as he had agreed, came to the camp and after he had spoken a few words in the presence of the council[47] in justification of his conduct and had asked to be received in surrender, he arranged the rest privately with Bestia and Scaurus. Then on the next day an irregular vote[48] was taken and the surrender accepted. As had been ordered before the council, thirty elephants, many cattle and horses, with a small amount of silver[49] were handed over to the quaestor. Calpurnius went to Rome to preside at the elections. In Numidia and in our army peace reigned.


When the news was circulated at Rome of what had happened in Africa, and how it was brought about, the consul’s conduct was discussed wherever men gathered together. The commons were highly indignant, while the senators were in suspense and unable to make up their minds whether to condone such an outrage or to set aside the consul’s decree. In particular the power of Scaurus, who was reported to be Bestia’s abettor and accomplice, deterred them from acting justly and honourably. But while the senate delayed and hesitated, Gaius Memmius, of whose independence and hatred of the power of the nobles I have already spoken,[50] urged the assembled people to vengeance, warned them not to prove false to their country and their own liberties, pointed out the many arrogant and cruel deeds of the nobles: in short, did his utmost in every way to inflame the minds of the commons. And since the eloquence of Memmius was famous and potent in Rome at that time,[51] I have thought it worth while to reproduce one of his numerous speeches, and I shall select the one which he delivered before the people after the return of Bestia. It ran as follows:


“Were not devotion to our country paramount, I should be deterred, fellow citizens, from addressing you by many considerations: the power o the dominant faction, your spirit of submission, the absence of justice, and especially because more danger than honour awaits integrity. Some things, indeed, I am ashamed to speak of how during the past fifteen years you have been the sport of a few men’s insolence; how shamefully your defenders have perished unavenged; how your own spirits have been so demoralized because of weakness and cowardice that you do not rise even now, when your enemies are in your power, but still fear those in whom you ought to inspire fear. But although conditions are such, yet my spirit prompts me to brave the power of this faction. At least, I shall make use of the freedom of speech which is my inheritance from my father; but whether I shall do so in vain or to good purpose lies in your hands, my countrymen. I do not urge you to take up arms against your oppressors, as your fathers often did; there is no need of violence, none of secession. They must go to ruin their own way.[52] After the murder of Tiberius Gracchus, whom they accused of trying to make himself king, prosecutions were instituted against the Roman commons.[53] Again, after Gaius Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius were slain, many men of your order suffered death in the dungeon.[54] In both cases bloodshed was ended, not by law, but by the caprice of victors.

“But let us admit that to restore their rights to the commons was the same thing as to aspire to royal power, and that whatever cannot be avenged without shedding the blood of citizens was justly done. In former years you were silently indignant that the treasury was pillaged, that kings and free peoples paid tribute to a few nobles, that those nobles possessed supreme glory and vast wealth. Yet they were not satisfied with having committed with impunity these great crimes, and so at last the laws, your sovereignty, and all things human and divine have been delivered to your enemies. And they who have done these things are neither ashamed nor sorry, but they walk in grandeur before your eyes, some flaunting their priesthoods and consulships, others their triumphs, just as if these were honours and not stolen goods.

“Slaves bought with a price do not put up with unjust treatment from their masters; will you, Roman citizens born to power, endure slavery with patience? But who are they who have seizing upon our country? Men stained with crime, with gory hands, of monstrous greed, guilty, yet at the same time full of pride, who have made honour, reputation, loyalty, in short everything honourable and dishonourable, a source of gain. Some of them are safeguarded by having slain tribunes of the commons, others by unjust prosecutions, many by having shed your blood. Thus the more atrocious the conduct, the greater the safety. They have shifted fear from their crimes to your cowardice,[55] united as they are by the same desires, the same hatred, the same fears. This among good men constitutes friendship; among the wicked it is faction. But if your love of freedom were as great as the thirst for tyranny which spurs them on, surely our country would not be torn asunder as it now is, and your favours would be bestowed on the most virtuous, not on the most reckless. Your forefathers, to assert their legal rights and establish their sovereignty, twice seceded and took armed possession of the Aventine;[56] will you not exert yourself to the utmost in order to retain the liberty which they bequeathed to you? And will you not show the greater ardour, because it is more shameful to lose what has been won than never to have won it?

“I seem to hear someone say, ‘What then do you advise?’ I reply, ‘Let those who have betrayed their country to the enemy be punished, not by arms or by violence, which it is less becoming for you to inflict than for them to suffer, but by the courts and Jugurtha’s own testimony. If he is a prisoner of war, he will surely be obedient to your commands; but if he scorns them, you may well ask yourself what kind of peace or surrender that is from which Jugurtha has gained impunity for his crimes and a few powerful men immense wealth, while our country suffers damage and disgrace. Unless haply you are not even yet sated with their domination, unless these times[57] please you less than the days when kingdoms, provinces, statutes, laws, courts, war and peace, in short all things human and divine, were in the hands of a few; and when you, that is to say the Roman people, unconquered by your enemies, rulers of all nations, were content to retain the mere breath of life. For which of you dared to refuse slavery?

“For my own part, although I consider it most shameful for a true man to suffer wrong without taking vengeance, yet I could willingly allow you to pardon those most criminal of men, since they are your fellow citizens, were it not that mercy would end in destruction. For such is their insolence that they are not satisfied to have done evil with impunity, unless the opportunity for further wrong-doing be wrung from you; and you will be left in eternal anxiety, because of the consciousness that you must either submit to slavery or use force to maintain your freedom.

“Pray, what hope have you of mutual confidence or harmony? They wish to be tyrants, you to be free; they desire to inflict injury, you to prevent it; finally, they treat our allies as enemies and our enemies as allies. Are peace and friendship compatible with sentiments so unlike? They are not, and therefore I warn and implore you not to let such wickedness go unscathed. It is not a matter of plundering the treasury or of extorting money from our allies—serious crimes, it is true, but so common now-a-days as to be disregarded. Nay, the senate’s dignity has been prostituted to a ruthless enemy, your sovereignty has been betrayed, your country has been offered for sale at home and abroad. Unless cognizance is taken of these outrages, unless the guilty are punished, what will remain except to pass our lives in submission to those who are guilty of these acts? For to do with impunity whatever one fancies is to be king. I am not urging you, Romans, to rejoice rather in the guilt than in the innocence of your fellow citizens; but you should not insist upon ruining the good by pardoning the wicked. Moreover, in a republic it is far better to forget a kindness than an injury. The good man merely becomes less active in well doing when you neglect him, but the bad man grows more wicked. Finally, if there should be no wrongs, you would not often need help.”[58]


By repeating these and similar sentiments Memmius induced the people to send Lucius Cassius, who was praetor at the time, to Jugurtha. Cassius was instructed to bring the king to Rome under pledge of public protection, in order that through his testimony the offences of Scaurus and the rest who were accused of taking bribes might the more easily be disclosed.

While all this was going on at Rome, those who had been left by Bestia in command of the army in Numidia, following their general’s example, were guilty of many shameless misdeeds. Some were induced by bribes to return his elephants to Jugurtha, others sold him his deserters, and a part plundered those who were at peace with us: so strong was the love of money which had attacked their minds like a pestilence. But when, to the consternation of all the nobility, the bill of Gaius Memmius was passed, the praetor Cassius went to Jugurtha and, in spite of the king’s fears and the distrust due to his guilty conscience, persuaded him that since he had surrendered himself to the Roman people, it would be better to experience their mercy than their force. He also gave Jugurtha his personal pledge of safety, which the king rated no less highly than that of the state; such was the repute which Cassius enjoyed at that time.


Accordingly Jugurtha, exchanging the pomp of a king for a garb especially designed to excite pity, came to Rome with Cassius; and although personally he possessed great assurance, yet with the encouragement of all those through whose power or guilt he had committed the numerous crimes that I have mentioned he won over Gaius Baebius,[59] a tribune of the commons, by a heavy bribe, that through this officer’s effrontery he might be protected against the strong arm of the law and against all personal violence. But when Gaius Memmius had called an assembly of the people, the commons were so exasperated at the king that some demanded that he should be imprisoned, others that if he did not reveal the accomplices in his guilt, he should be punished as an enemy after the usage of our forefathers.[60] But Memmius, taking counsel of propriety rather than of resentment, quieted their excitement and soothed their spirits, finally declaring that, so far as it was in his power to prevent it, the public pledge should not be broken. Aftewards, when silence followed and Jugurtha was brought out, Memmius made an address, recalled the king’s actions at Rome and in Numidia, and described his crimes against his father and brothers. He said to him that although the Roman people were aware through whose encouragement and help the king had done these things, yet they wished clearer testimony from his own lips. If he would reveal the truth, he had much to hope for from the good faith and mercy of the Roman people, but if he kept silence, he could not save his accomplices and would ruin himself and his hopes.


When Memmius had finished and Jugurtha was bidden to reply, Gaius Baebius, the tribune of the commons who, as I just said, had been bribed, thereupon bade the king hold his peace. And although the populace, who were gathered in assembly, were greatly excited and tried to intimidate the tribune by shouting, by angry looks, often by threatening gestures and all the other means which anger prompts, yet his impudence triumphed. Hence the people left the assembly after being made ridiculous, while Jugurtha, Bestia, and the others who were fearful of conviction, recovered their assurance.


There was in Rome at that time a Numidian named Massiva, a son of Gulussa and grandson of Masinissa, who had taken sides against Jugurtha in the quarrel of the kings and had fled from Africa after the capture of Cirta and the death of Adherbal. This man was persuaded by Spurius Albinus, who was holding the consulship with Quintus Minucius Rufus[61] the year after Bestia, to ask the senate for the throne of Numidia, since he was descended from Masinissa and since Jugurtha was feared and hated for his crimes. For the consul was eager to make war, and preferred a state of general confusion to inactivity. He had drawn[62] Numidia as his province, while Minucius had Macedonia. When Massiva began to push past these designs, Jugurtha found little support in his friends, some of whom were hampered by a bad conscience, others by ill repute and fear. He therefore directed Bomilcar, his nearest and most trusted attendant, to bring about Massiva’s assassination by the use of money, through which the king had already accomplished so much. He asked him to do this secretly, if possible; but if secrecy were not possible, to slay the Numidian in any way he could.

Bomilcar hastened to carry out the king’s orders and through men who were adepts in such business he kept track of Massiva’s comings and goings; in short, found out where he was at all times. Finally, when the opportunity came, he set his trap. Thereupon one of those who had been hired to do the murder attacked Massiva somewhat incautiously; he slew his victim, but was himself caught, and at the solicitation of many, in particular of Albinus the consul, he made a full confession. Bomilcar was brought to trial rather from the demands of equity and justice than in accordance with the law of nations, inasmuch as he was in the company of one who had come to Rome under pledge of public protection.

Jugurtha, however, although he was clearly responsible for so flagrant a crime, did not cease to resist the evidence, until he realized that the indignation at the deed was too strong even for his influence and his money. Therefore, although in the first stage of the trial[63] he had given fifty of his friends as sureties,[64] yet having an eye rather to his throne than to the sureties, he sent Bomilcar secretly to Numidia, fearing that if he paid the penalty, the rest of his subjects would fear to obey his orders. A few days later he himself returned home, being ordered by the senate to leave Italy. After going out of the gates, it is said that he often looked back at Rome in silence and finally said, “A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds its purchaser!”


Albinus meanwhile renewed hostilities and hastened to transport to Africa provisions, money for paying the soldiers, and other apparatus of war. He himself set out at once, desiring by arms, by surrender, or in any possible way to bring the war to an end before the elections, the time of which was not far off. Jugurtha, on the contrary, tried in every way to gain time, inventing one pretext for delay after another. He promised a surrender and then feigned fear, gave way to the consul’s attack and then, that his followers might not lose courage, attacked in his turn; thus baffling the consul now by the delays of war and now by those of peace.

There were some who thought that even then Albinus was not unaware of the king’s design, and who found it impossible to believe that the ease with which the king protracted a war begun with such urgency was not due rather to guile than to incompetence. Now when in the course of time the day of the elections drew near, Albinus sailed for Rome, leaving his brother Aulus in charge of the camp.


At that time the Roman commonwealth was cruelly racked by the dissensions of the tribunes. Two of their number, Publius Lucullus and Lucius Annius, were trying to prolong their term of office, in spite of the opposition of their colleagues;[65] and this strife blocked the elections of the whole year.[66] Because of this delay Aulus, who, as I just said, had been left in charge of the camp, was inspired with the hope of either finishing the war or forcing a bribe from the king through fear of his army. He therefore summoned his soldiers in the month of January[67] from their winter quarters for active duty in the field, and making forced marches in spite of the severity of the winter season, reached the town of Suthul, where the king’s treasure was kept. He was unable either to take the town or lay siege to it because of the inclemency of the weather and the strength of its position; for all about the walls, which were built along the edge of a steep cliff, was a muddy plain, of which the winter rains had made a muddy pool. Yet either with the idea of making a feint, in order to frighten the king, or because he was blinded by a desire to possess the town for the sake of its treasure, he brought up the mantlets, constructed a mound, and hastily made the other preparations for an assault.


Jugurtha, however, well aware of the presumption and incapacity of the acting commander, craftily added to his infatuation and constantly sent him suppliant envoys, while he himself, as if trying to avoid an encounter, led his army through woody places and by-paths. Finally, by holding out hope of an agreement, he induced Aulus to leave Suthul and follow him in a pretended retreat into remote regions; thus, he suggested, any misconduct of the Roman’s[68] would be less obvious. Meanwhile through clever emissaries the king was working upon the Roman army day and night, bribing the centurions and commanders of cavalry squadrons either to desert or to abandon their posts at a given signal.

After he had arranged these matters to his satisfaction, in the dead of night he suddenly surrounded the camp of Aulus with a throng of Numidians. The Roman soldiers were alarmed by the unusual disturbance; some seized their arms, others hid themselves, a part encouraged the fearful; consternation reigned. The hostile force was large, night and clouds darkened the heavens, there was danger whichever course they took:[69] in short, whether it was safer to stand or flee was uncertain. Then from the number of those who had been bribed, as I just said, one cohort of Ligurians with two squadrons of Thracians and a few privates went over to the king, while the chief centurion of the Third legion gave the enemy an opportunity of entering the part of the fortification which he had been appointed to guard, and there all the Numidians burst in. Our men in shameful flight, in most cases throwing away their arms, took refuge on a neighbouring hill. Night and the pillaging of the camp delayed the enemy and prevented them from following up their victory. Then on the following day, Jugurtha held a conference with Aulus. He said that he had the general and his army at the mercy of starvation or the sword; yet in view of the uncertainty of human affairs, if Aulus would make a treaty with him, he would let them all go free after passing under the yoke, provided Aulus would leave Numidia within ten days. Although the conditions were hard and shameful, yet because they were offered in exchange for the fear of death,[70] peace was accepted on the king’s terms.


Now, when the news of this disaster reached Rome, fear and grief seized upon the community. Some grieved for the glory of the empire, others, who were unused to matters of war, feared for their freedom. All men, especially those who had often gained renown in war, were incensed at Aulus, because with arms in his hands he had sought safety by disgrace rather than by combat. Therefore the consul Albinus, fearing odium and consequent danger as the result of his brother’s misconduct, laid the question of the treaty before the senate; but in the meantime he enrolled reinforcements, summoned aid from the allies and Latin peoples; in short, bestirred himself in every way.

The senate decided that no treaty could be binding without its order and that of the people; as indeed was to have been expected. The consul was prevented by the tribunes of the commons from taking with him the forces which he had raised, but within a few days left for Africa; for the whole army had withdrawn from Numidia according to the agreement and was wintering in that province. But although Albinus on his arrival was eager to pursue Jugurtha and atone for his brother’s disgrace, yet knowing his soldiers, who were demoralized not only by their rout but by the licence and debauchery consequent upon lax discipline, he decided that he was in no condition to make any move.


Meanwhile, at Rome, Gaius Mamilius Limetanus, tribune of the commons, proposed to the people a bill, in which it was provided that legal proceedings should be begun against those at whose advice Jugurtha had disregarded decrees of the senate; against those who had accepted money from him while serving as envoys or commanders; against those who had handed back the elephants and deserters; and against those who had made terms of peace and war with the enemy. Preparations for obstructing this bill were made both by all who were conscious of guilt and also by others who feared the dangers arising from factional hatred; but since they could not openly oppose it without admitting their approval of these and similar acts, they did so secretly through their friends, and especially through men of the Latin cities and the Italian allies. But the commons passed the bill with incredible eagerness and enthusiasm, rather from hatred of the nobles, for whom it boded trouble, than from love of country: so high did party passion run.

Upon this the rest were panic stricken; but in the midst of the exultation of the people and the rout of his party, Marcus Scaurus, who, as I have already said, had been Bestia’s lieutenant, took advantange of the political confusion to have himself named one of the three commissioners[71] authorized by the bill of Mamilius. Nevertheless[72] the investigation was conducted with harshness and violence, on hearsay evidence and at the caprice of the commons; for then the commons, as so often the nobles, had been made insolent by success.


Now the institution of parties and factions, with all their attendant evils, originated at Rome a few years before this as the result of peace and of an abundance of everything that mortals prize most highly. For before the destruction of Carthage the people and senate of Rome together governed the republic peacefully and with moderation. There was no strife among the citizens either for glory or for power; fear of the enemy preserved the good morals of the state. But when the minds of the people were relieved of that dread, wantonness and arrogance naturally arose, vices which are fostered by prosperity. Thus the peace for which they had longed in time of adversity, after they had gained it proved to be more cruel and bitter than adversity itself. For the nobles began to abuse their position and the people their liberty, and every man for himself robbed, pillaged, and plundered. Thus the community was split into two parties, and between these the state was torn to pieces.

But the nobles had the more powerful organization, while the strength of the commons was less effective because it was incompact and divided among many. Affairs at home and in the field were managed according to the will of a few men, in whose hands were the treasury, the provinces, public offices, glory[73] and triumphs. The people were burdened with military service and poverty. The generals divided the spoils of war with a few friends. Meanwhile the parents or little children of the soldiers, if they had a powerful neighbour, were driven from their homes. Thus, by the side of power, greed arose, unlimited and unrestrained, violated and devastated everything, respected nothing, and held nothing sacred, until it finally brought about its own downfall. For as soon as nobles were found who preferred true glory to unjust power, the state began to be disturbed and civil dissension to arise like an upheaval of the earth.


For example, when Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, whose forefathers[74] had added greatly to the power of the republic in the Punic and other wars, began to assert the freedom of the commons and expose the crimes of the oligarchs, the nobility, who were guilty, were therefore panic stricken. They accordingly opposed the acts of the Gracchi, now through the allies and the Latin cities and again through the knights, whom the hope of an alliance[75] with the senate had estranged from the commons. And first Tiberius, then a few years later Gaius, who had followed in his brother’s footsteps, were slain with the sword, although one was a tribune and the other a commissioner for founding colonies; and with them fell Marcus Fulvius Flaccus. It must be admitted that the Gracchi were so eager for victory that they had not shown a sufficiently moderate spirit; but a good man would prefer to be defeated rather than to triumph over injustice by establishing a bad precedent.[76]

The nobles then abused their victory to gratify their passions; they put many men out of the way by the sword or by banishment, and thus rendered themselves for the future rather dreaded than powerful. It is this spirit which has commonly ruined great nations, when one party desires to triumph over another by any and every means and to avenge itself on the vanquished with excessive cruelty. But if I should attempt to speak of the strife of parties and of the general character of the state in detail or according to the importance of the theme, time would fail me sooner than material. Therefore I return to my subject.


After the foul pact of Aulus and the foul flight[77] of our army the consuls elect,[78] Metellus and Silanus, had shared the provinces between them; Numidia had fallen to Metellus, a man of spirit, and, although he was an opponent of the popular party, of a consistently unblemished reputation. When he first entered upon his term of office, thinking that his colleague shared with him all the other business[79] he devoted his attention to the war which he was going to conduct. Accordingly, being distrustful of the old army, he enrolled soldiers, summoned auxiliaries from every hand, got together arms, weapons, horses, and other munitions of war, as well as an abundance of supplies; in short, he provided everything which commonly proves useful in a war of varied character and demanding large resources. Furthermore, in making these preparations the senate aided him by its sanction, allies, Latin cities, and kings by voluntary contribution of auxiliaries; in short, the whole state showed the greatest enthusiasm. Therefore, after everything was prepared and arranged to his satisfaction, Metellus left for Numidia, bearing with him the high hopes the citizens, which were inspired not only by his good qualities in general, but especially because he possessed a mind superior to riches; for it had been the avarice of the magistrates that before this time had blighted our prospects in Numidia and advanced those of the enemy.


But when Metellus reached Africa, the proconsul Spurius Albinus handed over to him an army that was weak, cowardly, and incapable of facing either danger or hardship, readier of tongue than of hand, a plunderer of our allies and itself a prey to the enemy, subject to no discipline or restraint. Hence their new commander gained more anxiety from the bad habits of his soldiers than security or hope from their numbers. Although the postponement of the elections had trenched upon the summer season and Metellus knew that the citizens were eagerly anticipating his success, yet, notwithstanding this, he resolved not to take the field until he had forced the soldiers to undergo the old-time drill and training. For Albinus, utterly overcome by the disaster to his brother Aulus and the army, had decided not to leave the province;[80] and during that part of the summer when he retained the command he kept the soldiers for the most part in a permanent camp, except when the stench or the need of fodder had compelled him to change his position. But his camps were not fortified, nor was watch kept in military fashion; men absented themselves from duty whenever they pleased. Camp followers and soldiers ranged about in company day and night, and in their forays laid waste the country, stormed farmhouses, and vied with one another in amassing booty in the form of cattle and slaves, which they bartered with the traders for foreign wine and other luxuries. They even sold the grain which was alloted them by the state and bought bread from day to day. In short, whatever disgraceful excesses resulting from idleness and wantonness can be mentioned or imagined were all to be found in that army and others besides.


But in dealing with these difficulties, as well as in waging war, I find that Metellus showed himself a great and prudent man, so skilful a course did he steer between indulgence and severity. For in the first place he is said to have removed the incentives to indolence by an edict that no one should sell bread or any other cooked food within the camp, that sutlers should not attend the army, and that no private soldier should have a slave or a pack animal in the camp or on the march; and he set a strict limit on other practices of the kind. Moreover he broke camp every day for cross-country marches, fortified it with a palisade and moat just as if the enemy were near, and set guards at short intervals and inspected them in person attended by his lieutenants. On the march too he was now with those in the van, now in the rear, often in the middle of the line, to see that no one left the ranks, that they advanced in a body about the standards, and that the soldiers carried food and arms. In this way, rather by keeping them from doing wrong than by punishing them, he soon restored the temper of his army.


Jugurtha meanwhile learned through messengers what Metellus was about, and at the same time received word from Rome that his opponent was incorruptible. He therefore began to lose heart in his cause and for the first time attempted to arrange a genuine surrender. Accordingly, he sent envoys to the consul with tokens of submission,[81] merely asking that his own life and those of his children be spared and leaving all else to the discretion of the Roman people. But Metellus had already learned from experience that the Numidians were a treacherous race, of fickle disposition, and fond of a change. He therefore separated the envoys and approached them one by one. When by gradually sounding them he found that they could be used for his design, he induced them by lavish promises to deliver Jugurtha into his hand, alive if possible; or dead, if he could not be taken alive. But publicly he bade them take back a reply in accordance with the king’s wishes.

A few days later the consul with his army alert and ready for battle invaded Numidia, where he found nothing to indicate a state of war; the huts were full of men, and cattle and farmers were to be seen in the fields. The king’s officers came out to meet him from the towns and villages,[82] offering to furnish grain, transport provisions—in short, to do everything that they were ordered. None the less, exactly as if the enemy were close at hand, Metellus advanced with his lines protected on all sides, and reconnoitred the country far and wide, believing that these indications of submission were a pretence and that the enemy were seeking an opportunity for treachery. Accordingly, he himself led the van with the light-armed cohorts as well as a picked body of slingers and archers, his lieutenant Gaius Marius with the cavalry had charge of the rear, while on both flanks he had apportioned the cavalry of the auxiliaries to the tribunes of the legions and the prefects[83] of the cohorts. With these the light-armed troops were mingled,[84] whose duty it was to repel the attacks of the enemy’s horsemen, wherever they might be made. For Jugurtha was so crafty, so well acquainted with the region and so versed in military science, that it was not certain whether he was more dangerous when absent or when present, at peace or making war.


Not far from the route which Metellus was taking lay a town of the Numidians called Vaga, the most frequented emporium of the entire kingdom, where many men of Italic race traded and made their homes. Here the consul stationed a garrison, both to see whether the inhabitants would accept his overtures and because of the advantages of the situation.[85] He gave orders too that grain and other necessaries of war should be brought together there, believing, as the circumstances suggested, that the large number of traders would aid his army in getting studies and serve as a protection to those which he had already prepared.[86]

While this was going on, Jugurtha with even greater insistence sent suppliant envoys, begged for peace, and offered Metellus everything except his life and that of his children. These envoys too, like the former ones, the consul persuaded to turn traitors and sent home, neither refusing nor promising the king the peace for which he asked and meanwhile waiting for the envoys to fulfil their promises.


When Jugurtha came to compare the words of Metellus with his actions, he realized that he was being attacked with his own weapons; for ostensibly peace was offered him but in reality the bitterest warfare was on foot. His principal city had been taken from him, the country was now familiar to the enemy, the loyalty of his subjects was being undermined. He was therefore compelled to try the fortune of battle. Accordingly, having reconnoitred the enemy’s march, he was led to hope for victory from the nature of the country, and after assembling the greatest possible forces of all kinds, he got in advance of Metellus’ army by obscure by-paths.

In that part of Numidia which the partition had given to Adherbal there was a river flowing from the south called the Muthul, and about twenty miles from it was a naturally desolate and uncultivated range of hills running parallel with the river. From about the middle of this ranger an elevation branched off and extended for a long distance, clothed with wild olive, myrtles, and other varieties of trees which grow in a dry and sandy soil. The intervening plain[87] was uninhabited from lack of water except the parts along the river, which were covered with shrubs and frequented by cattle and farmers.


On this hill then, which flanked the Romans’ line of march,[88] as I have said, Jugurtha took his position with his line greatly extended. He gave the command of the elephants and a part of the infantry to Bomilcar and told him what his plan was. He placed his own men nearer the mountain with all the cavalry and the flower of his infantry. Then going about to the various squads and companies, he admonished and besought them to be mindful of their old time valour and victories, and to defend themselves and their country from the greed of the Romans. They were to fight, he said, with men whom they had already vanquished and sent under the yoke; their leader was changed but not their spirit. For his own part, he had provided for his men everything that a leader ought: that on higher ground and prepared for action they might fight against men taken by surprise; that they might not have to fight few against many nor untrained against better soldiers. Therefore they must be ready and eager to attack the Romans when the signal was given, for that day would either crown all their toil and victories, or would be the beginning of the utmost wretchedness. He also addressed them individually and recalled his favours to the mind of every soldier whom he had ever rewarded with money or honour for any deed of arms, and pointed out the recipient to his comrades. Finally, by promises, threats or entreaties he incited one man after another, each in a different way according to his disposition, when meanwhile Metellus, unaware of the enemy and coming down the mountain with his army, caught sight of them. At first the Roman wondered what the unusual appearance of things meant, for the Numidians with their horses had taken their places amid the woods, and while because of the lowness of the trees they were not entirely covered, yet it was difficult to make out just what they were, since the men and their standards were concealed both by the nature of the place and by disguise. But the consul soon detected the ambuscade, halted his army for a space, and then made a change in its formation. His right flank, which was nearest the enemy, he strengthened with three lines of reserves. Between the maniples he placed the slingers and archers, while on the wings he stationed all the cavalry. Then after exhorting the soldiers briefly, as the time demanded, he led his army down into the plain, just as he had drawn it up, with those who had been in the van now forming the flank.[89]


When Metellus saw that the Numidian remained quiet and did not come down from the hill, he feared that at that season of the year and because of the scarcity of water his army might be exhausted by thirst. He therefore sent his lieutenant Rutilius with the light-armed cohorts and a part of the cavalry towards the river, with instructions to occupy in advance a position for the camp; for he thought that the enemy would try to delay his progress by frequent assaults on the flank, and since they put little trust in their arms, that they would try the effect of fatigue and thirst upon his soldiers. Then, as the circumstances and situation demanded, he advanced slowly in the same order in which he had come down from the mountain, keeping Marius behind what had been the front line,[90] while he himself was with the cavalry on the left wing, which had now become the van.

As soon as Jugurtha saw that Metellus’ rear had passed by the first of his own men,[91] he stationed a force about two thousand infantry on the mountain at the point form which the Romans had just come, so that if his opponents should give ground, they might not have this refuge and protection in their rear. Then he suddenly gave the signal and launched his attack. Some of the Numidians cut down the hindermost Romans, while a part of them attack them on the right and left, pressing on with vigour and energy and throwing the ranks into general confusion. For even those who had withstood the charge with a stout heart were baffled by this irregular manner of fighting, in which they were only wounded from a distance, without having the opportunity of striking back or of joining in hand to hand conflict. Jugurtha’s horsemen, following the instructions given them beforehand, whenever a squadron of the Roman cavalry began to attack them, gave way; not, however, in a body or in one direction, but dispersing as widely as possible. Thus even if they had been unable to check the enemy’s pursuit, with their superior numbers they cut off the stragglers in the rear or on the flanks. If the hill proved to be more favourable for their flight than the plains, there too the horses of the Numidians, being acquainted with the ground, easily made their escape amid the thickets, while the steep and unfamiliar ground proved a hindrance to our men.


Thus the aspect of the whole affair was confused, uncertain, horrible and lamentable. Separated from their comrades, some of our men gave way, others attacked. They could neither follow the standards nor keep their ranks; but wherever each man had been overtaken by danger, there he stood his ground and defended himself. Arms and weapons, men and horses, Numidians and Romans were mingled in confusion. There was no opportunity for advice nor command; chance held sway everywhere.

In this way a considerable part of the day had passed and the outcome of the battle was still uncertain. Finally, when all the Romans were growing wearied from their exertions and the heat, Metellus noticed that the Numidians also were attacking with less vigour. He therefore gradually united his soldiers, reformed the ranks, and opposed four legionary cohorts to the enemy’s infantry, the greater part of which through fatigue had taken refuge on the higher ground. At the same time he begged and implored his men not to weaken or allow a fleeing enemy to win the victory; he pointed out that the Romans had no camp or fortress as a refuge, but must rely wholly upon their arms. Meanwhile Jugurtha in his turn was not quiet, went about and encouraged his men, and endeavoured to renew the battle; in person with the flower of his troops he tried every device, aided his men, charged at the enemy where they wavered, and by attacks at long range held at bay those whom he had found to be unshaken.


Thus did these two men, both great commanders, struggle with each other; personally they were on an equality but they were ill matched in their resources; for Metellus had valiant soldiers but an unfavourable position, while Jugurtha had the advantage in all except his men. At last the Romans, realizing that they had no place of refuge and that the foe gave them no opportunity for fighting (and it was already evening), charged up the hill as they had been ordered and broke through. Losing that position, the Numidians gave way and fled. A few were killed; the greater number were saved by their quickness and the Romans’ lack of familiarity with the country.

In the meantime Bomilcar, who had been put in command of the elephants and a part of the infantry by Jugurtha, as I have already said, when Rutilius had passed him, slowly led his forces down into the plain; and while the lieutenant was hastily making his way to the river, to which he had been sent on, Bomilcar drew up his line quietly, as the circumstances demanded, continuing to keep an eye on the enemy’s movements in all parts of the field. When he found that Rutilius had encamped and was now easy in mind,[92] while the din from Jugurtha’s battle increased, he feared that the lieutenant, if he knew the critical condition of his countrymen, might go to their aid. Accordingly, wishing to intercept the enemy’s march, he extended his line, which he had drawn up in close order through distrust of his soldiers’ courage, and in that formation approached Rutilius’ camp.


The Romans on a sudden became aware of a great cloud of dust, for the bushes which covered the ground cut off their view. At first they thought that the wind was blowing up the dry soil; but later, as they saw that the cloud remained unchanged and came nearer and nearer as the line advanced, they realized the truth, and hastily catching up their arms, took their places before the camp, as they were ordered. Then, when they were at close quarters, both sides charged with loud shouts. The Numidians stood their ground only so long as they thought the elephants could protect them; but when they saw that the brutes became entangled in the branches of the trees and were thus separated and surrounded, they took to flight. The greater number, after throwing away their arms, escaped unhurt, thanks to the hill and the night, which was now close at hand. Four elephants were taken, and all the rest to the number of forty were killed. But although the Romans were wearied by their march, by the work on the camp, and by the battle, yet because Metellus was later than they expected, they went to meet him in order of battle on the alert; for the craft of the Numidians admitted of no relaxation or carelessness. It was now dark night, and at first, when the armies were not far apart, the sound, as of a hostile force approaching, caused fear and confusion on both sides; and the mistake might have led to a deplorable catastrophe, had not the horsemen who were sent out by both sides to reconnoitre discovered what the situation was. Thereupon in place of fear a sudden joy arose. The situation was. Thereupon in place of fear a sudden joy arose. The exultant soldiers called out to one another, told of their exploits and heard the tales of others. Each man praised his own valiant deeds to the skies. For so it is with human affairs; in time of victory the very cowards may brag, while defeat discredits even the brave.


Metellus remained in the same camp for four days, giving careful attention to the wounded, rewarding good service in the battles with military prizes,[93] praising and thanking all the troops in a body. He urged them to have like courage for the easy tasks which remained; their fight for victory was at an end, the rest of their efforts would be for booty. Meanwhile, however, he sent deserters and other available spies to find out where in the world Jugurtha was and what he was about, whether he had but few followers or an army, how he conducted himself in defeat. As a matter of fact, the king had retreated to a wooded district of natural strength and was there recruiting an army which in numbers was larger than before, but inefficient and weak, being more familiar with farming and grazing than with war. The reason for this was, that except for the horsemen of his bodyguard not a single Numidian follows his king after a defeat, but all disperse whithersoever they choose, and this is not considered shameful for soldiers. Such are their customs.

Accordingly, when Metellus saw that the king was still full of confidence, and that a war was being renewed which could be carried on only as his opponent chose, he realized that his struggle with the enemy was an unequal one, since defeat cost them less than victory did his own men. He accordingly decided that he must conduct the campaign, not by pitched battles, but in another fashion. He therefore marched into the most fertile parts of Numidia, laid waste the country, captured and burned many strongholds and towns which had been hurriedly fortified or left without defenders, ordered the death of all the adults and gave everything else to his soldiers as booty. In this way he caused such terror that many men were given to the Romans as hostages, grain and other necessities were furnished in abundance, and garrisons were admitted whether Metellus thought it advisable.

These proceedings alarmed the king much more than the defeat which his men had suffered; for while all his hopes depended upon flight, he was forced to pursue, and when he had been unable to defend favourable positions, he was obliged to fight in those which were unfavourable. However, he adopted the plan which seemed best under the circumstances and ordered the greater part of the army to remain where it was, while he himself followed Metellus with a select body of cavalry. Making his way at night and through by-paths he suddenly fell upon the Roman stragglers when they least expected it; the greater number of them were killed before they could arm themselves, many were taken, not one escaped unscathed. Before aid could be sent from the camp, the Numidians, as they had been ordered, scattered to the nearest hills.


Meanwhile, great joy had arisen at Rome from the news of Metellus’ exploits, when it was learned that he conducted himself and treated his army after the fashion of the old, that he, though caught in an unfavourable position, had nevertheless won the victory by his valour, was holding possession of the enemy’s territory, and had compelled Jugurtha, who had been made insolent by Albinus’ incapacity, to rest his hopes of safety on the desert or on flight. The senate accordingly voted a thanksgiving to the immortal gods because of these successes, while the community, which before this had been in fear and anxiety as to the outcome of the war, gave itself up to rejoicing. Metellus’ fame was brilliant. He therefore strove the harder for victory, hastened matters in every way, yet was careful not to give the enemy an opening anywhere, remembering that envy follows hard upon glory. Hence the greater his fame, the more caution he showed; after Jugurtha’s ambuscade he no longer ravaged the country with his army in disorder; when he required grain or fodder, a number of cohorts stood on guard with all the cavalry; he led part of the army himself and Marius the rest. But fire did more than plundering to devastate the land. The consul and his lieutenant used to encamp in two places not far apart. When necessity demanded the use of strength, they joined forces; otherwise they acted separately, in order that the enemy’s terror and flight might be more widespread.

Meanwhile Jugurtha would follow along the hills, watching for a suitable time or place for battle: he spoiled the fodder and contaminated the springs, which were very few, in the places to which he had heard that the enemy were coming; showed himself now to Metellus, again to Marius; made an attempt on the hindermost in the line and at once retreated to the hills; again threatened others and afterwards others, neither gave battle nor let the enemy rest, but merely prevented them from carrying out their plans.


When the Roman general began to realize that he was being exhausted by the strategy of his opponent, who gave him no chance for battle, he decided to lay siege to a large city called Zama, the citadel of the part of the kingdom in which it was situated. He thought that as a matter of course Jugurtha would come to the aid of his subjects in distress and that a battle would be fought in that place. But Jugurtha, learning from deserters what was on foot, by forced marches outstripped Metellus; he encouraged the townspeople to defend their walls, and gave them the help of a band of deserters, who formed the strongest part of the king’s forces because they dared not be treacherous.[94] He promised too that he would come himself in due season with an army. Having made these arrangements, the king withdrew to places as secluded as possible, and presently learned that Marius had been ordered to leave the line of march and go with a few cohorts to forage at Sicca, which was the very first town to revolt from the king after his defeat. Thither Jugurtha hastened by night with the best of his cavalry and engaged the Romans at the gate just as they were coming out. At the same time, in a loud voice he urged the people of Sicca to surround the cohorts in the rear; fortune, he said, gave them the chance for a brilliant exploit. If they took advantage of it, he would be restored to his kingdom and they would live for the future in freedom and without fear. And had not Marius hastened to advance and leave the town, surely the greater part of the townspeople, if not all of them, would have changed their allegiance; such is the fickleness with which the Numidians act. Jugurtha’s soldiers were held firm for a time by the king, but when the enemy attacked with greater force they fled in disorder after suffering slight losses.


Marius went on to Zama. That town, situated in an open plain and fortified rather by art than by nature, lacked no essential, and was well supplied with arms and men. Therefore Metellus, making his preparations to suit the circumstances and the locality, completely invested the walls with his army, assigning to each of his lieutenants his special point of attack. Then, upon a given signal, a mighty shout arose from all sides at once, but without in the least frightening the Numidians; ready and eager for action they awaited the fray without disorder and the battle began. The Romans acted each according to his own quality: some fought at long range with slings or stones, others advanced and undermined the wall or applied scaling-ladders, striving to get at grips with the foe. The townsmen met their attacks by rolling down stones upon the foremost and hurling at them beams, pikes, burning pitch mixed with sulphur, and firebrands. Not even those of our men who had remained at a distance were wholly protected by their timidity, for very many of them were wounded by javelins hurled from engines or by hand. Thus the valiant and the craven were in like danger but of unlike repute.


While this struggle was going on at Zama, Jugurtha unexpectedly fell upon the Roman camp with a large force, and through the carelessness of the guards, who were looking for anything rather than a battle, forced one of the gates. Our men were struck with a sudden panic and sought safety each according to his temperament: some fled, others armed themselves, nearly all were killed or wounded. But out of the entire number forty or less remembered that they were Romans. These gathered together and took a position a little higher than the rest, from which they could not be dislodged by the greatest efforts of the enemy, but they threw back the weapons which were thrown at them from a distance, and few against many could hardly miss. But if the Numidians came nearer, they then showed their real quality, charging them with the greatest fury, routing and scattering them.

Meanwhile, Metellus, who was vigorously pressing the attack on the town, heard shouts like the melley of a hostile force behind him; then, wheeling his horse about, he saw that the fugitives were coming his way, which indicated that they were his countrymen. He therefore sent all the cavalry to the camp in haste and ordered Gaius Marius to follow at once with the cohorts of the allies, begging him with tears in the name of their friendship and their common country not to allow any disgrace to stain their victorious army, and not to suffer the enemy to escape unpunished. Marius promptly did as he was ordered. As for Jugurtha, he was hampered by the fortifications of the camp, since some of his men were tumbling over the ramparts and others, endeavouring to make haste in the crowded spaces, were getting in each other’s way; he therefore, after considerable losses, withdrew to a place of safety. Metellus was prevented by the coming of night from following up his victory and returned to camp with his army.


Accordingly, the next day, before going out to attack the town, Metellus ordered all the cavalry to ride up and down before that part of the camp where the king was likely to attack, assigned to the several tribunes the defence of the gates and their neighbourhood, and then himself proceeded to the town and assailed the wall as on the day before. Meanwhile Jugurtha suddenly rushed upon our men from ambush. Those who were stationed nearest the point of attack were terrified and thrown into confusion for a time, but the rest quickly came to their help. And the Numidians would not have been able to make a long resistance, had not their combination of infantry and cavalry done great execution in the melley; for the Numidian horsemen, trusting to this infantry, did not alternately advance and retreat, as is usual in a cavalry skirmish, but charged at full speed, rushing into and breaking up our line of battle; thus with their light-armed infantry they all but conquered their enemy.[95]


At the same time the contest at Zama continued with great fury. Wherever each of the lieutenants or tribunes was in charge, there[96] was the bitterest strife and no one relied more on another than on himself. The townspeople showed equal courage; men were fighting or making preparations at all points, and both sides were more eager to wound one another than to protect themselves. There was a din of mingled encouragement, exultation, and groans; the clash of arms also rose to heaven, and a shower of missiles fell on both sides. But whenever the besiegers relaxed their assault ever so little, the defenders of the walls became interested spectators of the cavalry battle. As Jugurtha’s fortunes shifted, you might see them now joyful, now alarmed; acting as if their countrymen could see or hear them, some shouted warnings, others urged them on; they gesticulated or swayed their bodies, moving them this way and that as if dodging or hurling weapons.[97]

When Marius perceived all this (for he was in charge at that point) he purposely slackened his efforts and feigned discouragement, allowing the Numidians to witness their king’s battle undisturbed. When their attention was thus riveted upon their countrymen, he suddenly assaulted the wall with the utmost violence. Our soldiers, mounting on scaling-ladders, had almost reached the top of the wall, when the townsmen rushed to the spot and met them with a rain of stones, firebrands, and other missiles besides. At first our men resisted; then, as ladder after ladder was shattered and those who stood upon them were dashed to the ground, the rest made off as best they could, some few unharmed but the greater number badly wounded. At last night ended the combat on both sides.


After Metellus saw that his attempt was in vain, that the town was no nearer being taken, that Jugurtha would not fight except from ambush or on his own ground, and that the summer was now at an end, he left Zama and placed garrisons in such of the towns which had gone over to him as were strongly enough fortified by their situation or by walls. The rest of his army he stationed in the part of our province[98] which lies nearest to Numidia, that they might pass the winter there. But he did not devote that season, as others commonly do, to rest or dissipation, but since the war was making little progress through arms, he prepared to lay snares for the king through his friends and to make their treachery his weapons.

Now Bomilcar had been at Rome with Jugurtha,[99] and then, after being released on bail, had fled to escape trial for the murder of Massiva. Since this man’s special intimacy with the king gave him special opportunitiees for deceiving him, Metellus tried to win his co-operation by many promises. First, he contrived that the Numidian should come to him secretly for a conference; then after he had pledged his honour that if Bomilcar would deliver Jugurtha into his hands alive or dead, the senate would grant him impunity and restore all his property, he persuaded him without difficulty; for he was treacherous by nature and besides feared that if peace should ever be made with the Romans, one condition would be his own surrender and execution.


As soon as an opportune time came, when Jugurtha was worried and lamenting his fate, Bomilcar approached him. He warned the king and begged him with tears that he should at last take thought for himself, his children, and the people of Numidia who had served him so faithfully. He reminded him that they had been worsted in every battle, that his country had been ravaged, many of his subjects killed or taken prisoners, and the resources of the kingdom drained. He had now made sufficient trial both of his soldiers’ courage and of the will of fortune, and must take heed, lest while he hesitated the Numidians should take measures for their own safety. By these and other similar arguments he reconciled the king to the thought of a surrender. Envoys were sent to the Roman general to say that Jugurtha would submit to his orders and entrusted himself and his kingdom unconditionally to his honour. Metellus at once gave orders that all men of senatorial rank should be summoned from the winter quarters; with them and with such others as he considered suitable he held a council. He obeyed the decree of the council—thus conforming to the usage of our forefathers[100]—and sent envoys to demand of Jugurtha two hundred thousand pounds’ weight of silver, all his elephants, and a considerable quantity of horses and arms. When these conditions had promptly been met, he ordered all the deserters to be brought to him in fetters. The greater part of them were brought as ordered, but a few had taken refuge with King Bocchus in Mauretania as soon as the negotiations for surrender began.

Now, when Jugurtha, after being stripped of arms, men, and money, was himself summoned to Tisidium to receive his orders, he began once more to waver in his purpose, and prompted by a guilty conscience, to dread the punishment due to his crimes. At last, after spending many days in hesitation, at one time so weary of adversity as to think anything better than war, and anon reflecting how great a fall it was from a throne to slavery, after having lost to no purpose many great resources, he renewed the war. Meanwhile at Rome, when the question of the provinces came up, the senate had assigned Numidia to Metellus.


At about that same time it chanced that when Gaius Marius was offering victims to the gods at Utica a soothsayer declared that a great and marvellous career awaited him; the seer accordingly advised him, trusting in the gods, to carry out what he had in mind and put his fortune to the test as often as possible, predicting that all his undertakings would have a happy issue. Even before this Marius had been possessed with a mighty longing for the consulship, for which he had in abundance every qualification except an ancient lineage: namely, diligence, honesty, great military skill, and a spirit that was mighty in war, unambitious[101] in peace, which rose superior to passion and the lure of riches, and was greedy only for glory. Nay more, having been born and reared at Arpinum, where he had spent all his boyhood, he had no sooner reached the age for military life than he had given himself the training of active service, not of Grecian eloquence or the elegance of the city. Thus engrossed in wholesome pursuits his unspoiled nature soon matured. The result was that when he first sought the office of military tribune from the people, the greater number did not know him by sight; yet his deeds were familiar and he was elected by the vote of all the tribes. Then, after that success, he won office after office, always so conducting himself in each of them as to be regarded worthy of a higher position than that which he was holding. Nevertheless, although he had up to that time shown himself so admirable a man (for afterwards he was driven headlong[102] by ambition), he did not venture to aspire to the consulship; for even as late as that time, although the commons could bestow the other magistracies, the nobles passed the consulate from hand to hand within their own order. No “new man” was so famous or so illustrious for his deeds, that he was not considered unworthy of that honour, and the office, so to speak, sullied by such an incumbency.[103]


Now when Marius perceived that the word of the soothsayer pointed to the goal towards which his heart’s desire was urging him, he asked Metellus for a furlough, in order to become a candidate. Now, although Metellus possessed in abundance valour, renown, and other qualities to be desired by good men, yet he had a disdainful and arrogant spirit, a common defect in the nobles. At first then he was astonished at the unusual request, expressed his surprise at Marius’ design, and with feigned friendship advised him not to enter upon so mad a course or to entertain thoughts above his station. All men, he said, should not covet all things; Marius should be content with his own lot and finally, he must beware of making a request of the Roman people which they would be justified in denying.

After Metellus had made this and other similar remarks without shaking Marius’ resolution, he at last replied that as soon as the business of the state allowed he would do what he asked. Later, when Marius often repeated the same request, Metellus is said to have rejoined: “Don’t be in a hurry to go to Rome; it will be soon enough for you to be a candidate when my son becomes one.” That young man at the time was about twenty years old[104] and was serving in Numidia on his father’s personal staff;[105] hence the taunt resulted in inflaming Marius not only with greater desire for the honour to which he aspired, but also with a deep hatred of Metellus. Accordingly, he allowed himself to be swayed by the worst of counsellors, ambition and resentment; he hesitated at no act or word, provided only it could win him popularity; he was less strict than before in maintaining discipline among the soldiers under his command in the winter quarters, and talked about the war to the traders, of whom there were a great number in Utica, at the same time disparagingly and boastfully. He declared that if but half the army were put in his charge, he would have Jugurtha in fetters within a few days. His commander, he said, was purposely protracting the war, because he was a man of extravagant and tyrannical pride, and enjoyed too much the exercise of power. And all this talk appealed the more strongly to the traders, because they had suffered pecuniary loss from the long duration of the war, and for greedy spirits nothing moves fast enough.


Furthermore, there was in our army a Numidian named Gauda, a son of Mastanabal and grandson of Masinissa, whom Micipsa had made one of his heirs in the second degree;[106] he was enfeebled by ill health and was consequently of somewhat weak mind. This man had petitioned Metellus that he might be given the privilege accorded to royalty and allowed to sit beside him, and afterwards also requested a squadron of Roman knights as a bodyguard. Metellus denied both requests: the honour, because it belonged only to those on whom the Romans had formally conferred the title of king; the guard, because it would have been an insult to Roman knights to make them the attendants of a Numidian. While Gauda was brooding over this refusal, he was approached by Marius, who urged him to avenge himself on the general for his affronts and offered him his help. In flattering terms he lauded this man whose mind was weakened by illness, declaring that he was a king, a mighty hero, the grandson of Masinissa; that if Jugurtha should be taken or killed, he would without delay be made ruler of Numidia; and Marius asserted that this would very soon come to pass, if only he were made consul and sent to the war.

In this way Marius induced Gauda and the Roman knights, both those who were in the army and those who were doing business in the town, some by his personal influence, the most by the hope of peace, to write to their friends in Rome in criticism of Metellus’ conduct of the war and to call for Marius as a commander. As a result many men supported Marius’ canvass for the consulship in a highly flattering fashion;[107] moreover, just at that time the nobles had been given a check by the bill of Mamilius[108] and the commons were striving to advance “new men.” Thus everything favoured Marius.


Meanwhile Jugurtha, having abandoned the idea of surrender and having resumed hostilities, was making all his preparations with great care and despatch. He was levying a new army, trying either by intimidation or by offering rewards to win back the cities which had revolted from him, and fortifying advantageous positions. He was making or buying arms, weapons and other things which he had sacrificed to his hope of peace, tempting the Roman slaves to revolt, and trying to bribe even those who formed the Roman garrisons. In short, he left absolutely nothing untried or undisturbed, but kept everything in commotion. As a result of his efforts the Vagenses, in whose town Metellus had placed a garrison at first, at the time when Jugurtha was suing for peace, yielded to the entreaties of the king, towards whom they had always been well disposed, and the leading men of the town entered into a conspiracy. As to the commons, they were of a fickle disposition, as is usually the case and as is particularly true of the Numidians, prone to rebellion and disorder, fond of change and opposed to peace and quiet. Then, after arranging matters among themselves, they appointed the third day from that time, because it was observed as a holiday all over Africa and promised entertainment and festivity rather than danger. However, when the appointed time arrived, they invited the centurions and military tribunes and even the prefect[109] of the town himself, Titus Turpilius Silanus by name, to their several homes. There all except Turpilius were slain while feasting. The conspirators then fell upon the common soldiers, who were strolling about unarmed, as was natural on such a day, when they were off duty. The commons joined in the massacre, some at the instigation of the nobles, others inspired by a natural fondness for such conduct; for although they knew neither what was being done nor its purpose, they found sufficient incentive in mere revolution and disorder.


The Roman soldiers, being bewildered by this unexpected peril and not knowing what to do first, were thrown into disorder. They were cut off from the citadel of the town, where their standards and shields were, by a hostile force, and from flight by the gates, closed beforehand. Moreover, women and boys from the roofs of the houses were busy pelting them with stones and whatever else they could lay hands on. It was quite impossible to guard against the double danger[110] and brave men were helpless before the feeblest of opponents. Side by side valiant and cowardly, strong and weak, fell without striking a blow.

During this merciless slaughter, although the Numidians were in a frenzy and the town was completely closed, Turpilius the commander, alone of all the Italians, escaped unscathed. Whether he owed this to the mercy of his host, to connivance, or to chance I have been unable to learn; at any rate, since in such a disaster he chose to live disgraced rather than die with an unsullied reputation, he seems to me a wretch utterly detestable.


When Metellus learned what had happened at Vaga, for a time his grief was such that he would see no one. Then, when anger was mingled with his sorrow, he devoted all his thoughts to prompt vengeance for the outrage. No sooner had the sun set than he led out the legion with which he was wintering, and as many Numidian horse as he could muster, all lightly equipped; and on the following day at about the third hour he arrived at a plain, which was surrounded on all sides by somewhat higher ground. At that point, finding that his soldiers were worn out by the long march and were on the point of mutiny, he told them that the town of Vaga was only a mile away. They ought, he said, patiently to endure what toil remained, for the sake of avenging the unhappy fate of their brave fellow-citizens. He also made generous promises about the booty. When he had thus roused their spirits, he ordered the cavalry to take the lead in open order, while the infantry followed in the closest possible formation and with their standards hidden.


When the people of Vaga perceived that an army was coming their way, at first they closed their gates, thinking that it was Metellus, as in fact it was. Later, seeing that the fields were not being laid waste and that the horsemen in the van were Numidians, they changed their minds, and taking the newcomers for Jugurtha, went out full of joy to meet him. Then on a sudden the signal sounded and some of the cavalry and infantry began to cut down the crowd which was pouring from the town; others hurried to the gates, while a part took possession of the towers; anger and desire for booty triumphed over their weariness.

Thus it was only two days that the people of Vaga exulted in their treachery; then their rich and populous city in its entirety fell a victim to vengeance and plunder. Turpilius, the commandant of the town, was summoned by Metellus before a court martial, and being unable to justify himself was condemned to be scourged and put to death; for he was only a Latin citizen.[111]


At this same time Bomilcar, who had induced Jugurtha to begin the negotiations for surrender which he later discontinued through fear, being an object of suspicion to Jugurtha and himself looking on the king with suspicion, was desirous of a change of ruler; he therefore began to cast about for a stratagem by which to effect to ruin of Jugurtha, and racked his brains day and night. Finally, while trying every device, he won the support of Nabdalsa, a man of rank, wealth and distinction, who was very popular with his countrymen. This man was in the habit of exercising a command independently of the king and of attending to all business which Jugurtha could not transact in person when he was weary or engaged in more important duties; in this way he had gained fame and power. He and Bomilcar accordingly took counsel together and chose a time for their plot, deciding to arrange the details on the spot according to circumstances. Nabdalsa then went to the army, which by the royal command he kept between the winter quarters of the Romans,[112] for the purpose of preventing the enemy from ravaging the country with impunity. There, however, he took fright at the enormity of the proposed crime, and since he did not appear at the appointed hour, his fears thwarted the attempt. Therefore Bomilcar, being at once eager to carry out his design and also fearing that the timidity of his accomplice might lead him to abandon their former plan and look for a new one, sent a letter to him by trusty messengers. In this he upbraided the man for his weakness and cowardice, called to witness the gods by whom he had sworn, and warned him not to exchange[113] ruin for the rewards offered by Metellus. Jugurtha’s end, he said, was at hand; the only question was whether he should succumb to their valour or that of Metellus. Nabdalsa must therefore consider whether he preferred rewards or torture.


Now when this letter arrived, it chanced that Nabdalsa, fatigued by bodily exercise, was resting on his couch. On reading Bomilcar’s message, he was at first troubled, and then, as is usual with a wearied mind, sleep overcame him. He had as his secretary a Numidian whom he trusted and loved, a man whom he had made acquainted with all his designs except this last one. When this man heard that a letter had arrived, he thought that as usual his services or advice would be needed. He therefore entered the tent where his master was sleeping, took the letter, which Nabdalsa had carelessly left on the pillow above his head, and read it; then perceiving the plot, he went in haste to the king.

When Nabdalsa woke up a little later and did not find the letter, realizing exactly what had happened, he first made an attempt to overtake the informer, and failing in that went to Jugurtha in order to pacify him. He declared that he had been anticipated by his faithless dependent in doing what he himself had intended. Bursting into tears, he begged the king by his friendship and his own faithful service of old not to suspect him of such a crime.


To these words the king made a courteous reply, disguising his real feelings. After putting to death Bomilcar and many others whom he knew to be implicated in the plot, he restrained his anger, for fear that the affair might cause a rebellion. But from that time forward Jugurtha never passed a quiet day or night; he put little trust in any place, person, or time; feared his countrymen and the enemy alike; was always on the watch; started at every sound; and spent his nights in different places, many of which were ill suited to the dignity of a king. Sometimes on being roused from sleep he would utter outcries and seize his arms; he was hounded by a fear that was all but madness.


Now when Metellus learned from deserters of the fate of Bomilcar and the discovery of the plot, he again hastened to make all his preparations, as if for a new war. Since Marius constantly asked for a furlough, he sent him home, thinking that a man who was at once both discontented and at odds with his commander, would be of little service. At Rome, too, the commons, on hearing the letters which had been written about Metellus and Marius, had readily accepted what was said in them about both men. The general’s noble rank, which before this had been an honour to him, became a source of unpopularity, while to Marius his humble origin lent increased favour; but in the case of both men their own good or bad qualities had less influence than party spirit. More than this, seditious[114] were working upon the feelings of the populace, in every assembly charging Metellus with treason and exaggerating the merits of Marius. At length the commons were so excited that all the artisans and farmers, whose prosperity and credit depended upon the labour of their own hands, left their work and attended Marius, regarding their own necessities as less important than his success. The result was that the nobles were worsted and after the lapse of many years the consulship was given to a “new man.” Afterwards, when the tribune Titus Manlius Mancinus asked the people whom they wished to have as leader of the war with Jugurtha, they chose Marius by a large majority. It is true that the senate had shortly before this voted Numidia to Metellus, but their action was to no purpose.


By this time Jugurtha had lost all his friends, having himself slain the greater part of them, while others through fear had taken refuge either with the Romans or with King Bocchus. Therefore, since he could not carry on the war without officers, and at the same time considered it dangerous to trust to the fidelity of new friends when old friends had proved so treacherous, he lived in doubt and uncertainty. There was no measure, there was neither plan nor man that he could fully approve. He changed his routes and his officials from day to day, now went forth to meet the enemy, now took to the desert; often placed hope in flight and shortly afterwards in arms; was in doubt whether to trust less to the courage or to the good faith of his countrymen: thus, wherever he turned, he faced adversity.

While the king was thus procrastinating, Metellus unexpectedly appeared with his army; whereupon Jugurtha made ready and drew up his Numidians as well as time allowed. Then the battle began. Wherever the king was present in person, there was some show of resistance; everywhere else his soldiers broke and fled at the first charge. The Romans captured a considerable number of standards and arms, but few prisoners; for in almost all their battles the Numidians depend more upon speed of foot than on arms.


Reduced to even deeper despair by this defeat, Jugurtha took refuge with the fugitives and a part of the cavalry in the desert, and then made his way to Thala, a large and wealthy town in which the greater part of his treasure was kept, and his children were being brought up in grand style.[115] As soon as Metellus learned of this, although he knew that between Thala and the nearest river lay fifty miles of dry and desolate country, yet in hope of ending the war by getting possession of so important a town he undertook to surmount all the difficulties and even to defeat Nature herself. Accordingly, he gave orders that every pack animal should be relieved of all burdens except ten days’ allowance of grain, and that in addition to this only skins and other vessels for carrying water should be taken. Moreover, he scoured the fields to find as many domestic animals as possible and upon them he loaded utensils of every kind, but especially wooden ones, which he obtained from the huts of the Numidians. Besides this, he ordered all the people who dwelt near by (they had surrendered to Metellus after the flight of the king), to bring each as much water as he could, naming the day and the place where they were to appear. He himself loaded his animals from the river which, as I have already said, was the nearest water to the town, and with this supply began his march for Thala. When Metellus had reached the place which he had appointed with the Numidians and had pitched and fortified his camp, suddenly such an abundance of rain is said to have fallen from heaven that this alone furnished the army with enough water and to spare. The amount also which was brought to him[116] was greater than he anticipated, since the Numidians, as is common just after a surrender, had more than done their duty.[117] But religious motives led the soldiers to prefer the rain water and its fall added greatly to their spirits; for they thought that they enjoyed the favour of the immortal gods.

The next day, contrary to Jugurtha’s expectation, the Romans arrived at Thala. The townspeople had supposed themselves protected by their inaccessible situation; but although they were amazed at this great and unexpected feat, they none the less made diligent preparations for battle. Our men did the same.


But the king now believed that there was nothing which Metellus could not accomplish, since his energy had triumphed over all obstacles: arms, weapons, places, seasons, even Nature herself, to whom all others bowed. He therefore fled from the town by night with his children and the greater part of his treasure. And after that he never lingered in any place for more than one day or one night, pretending that his haste was due to important affairs; but as a matter of fact he feared treachery and thought that he could escape it by rapid movements, since such designs require leisure and opportunity.

But when Metellus saw that the inhabitants were eager for battle and also that the town was fortified both by its position and by defensive works, he encompassed the walls with a stockade and a moat. Then in the two most suitable places that he could find he brought up the mantlets, built a mound, and upon it placed turrets to protect the besiegers and their work. The townsmen for their past hastened their preparations; indeed, nothing was left undone by either side. At last, after much exacting toil and many battles, the Romans, forty days after their arrival, got possession of the town only, all the booty having been destroyed by the deserters. For when these men saw the wall battered by the rams and realized that all was lost, they carried the gold, silver, and other valuables to the palace. There, gorged with food and wine, they burned the treasure, the palace and themselves, thus voluntarily paying the penalty which they feared they would suffer at the hands of a victorious enemy.


Now simultaneously with the capture of Thala envoys had come to Metellus from the town of Lepcis, begging him to send them a garrison and a commandant. They declared that one Hamilcar, a man of rank and given to intrigue, was plotting a revolution and could be restrained neither by the commands of the magistrates nor by the laws: unless Metellus acted promptly, they would be in extreme peril of their lives; the Romans, of losing their allies.[118] And in fact the citizens of Lepcis at the very beginning of the war with Jugurtha had sent messengers to Bestia the consul and later to Rome, asking for friendship and an alliance. After their request was granted, they had always remained true and loyal, and had diligently executed all the commands of Bestia, Albinus and Metellus. Therefore Metellus willingly granted their petition, and four cohorts of Ligurians were sent to their aid under the command of Gaius Annius.


The town of Lepcis was founded by Sidonians, who are reported to have left their homes because of civil discord and come to that region in ships. It lies between the two Syrtes, which derive their name from their nature; for they are two bays situated almost at the extreme end of Africa,[119] of unequal size but alike in character. Near the shore the water is very deep, elsewhere it is sometimes deep and sometimes shoal, just as it happens;[120] for when the breeze causes the sea to swell and rage, the waves sweep along mud, sand, and great rocks, so that the aspect of the place changes with the winds. From this “sweeping”[121] the Syrtes get their name.

Only the speech of this city has been affected by intermarriage with the Numidians; its laws and customs are for the most part Sidonian, and these the inhabitants retained the more easily because they passed their life at a distance from the Numidian capital. For between them and the thickly settled part of Numidia lay an extensive desert.


Since the affairs of the people of Lepcis have brought us to this region, it seems fitting to relate the noble and memorable act of two Carthaginians; the place calls the event to mind. At the time when the Carthaginians ruled in the greater part of Africa, the people of Cyrene were also strong and prosperous. Between that city and Carthage lay a sandy plain of monotonous aspect. There was neither river nor hill to mark the frontiers, a circumstance which involved the two peoples in bitter and lasting strife.

After many armies and fleets had been beaten and put to flight on both sides, and the long struggle had somewhat wearied them both, they began to fear that presently a third party might attack victors and vanquished in their weak state. They therefore called a truce and agreed that the place where they met should be regarded as the common frontier of the two peoples. Accordingly, two brothers were sent from Carthage, called Philaeni, and these made haste to complete their journey. Those from Cyrene went more deliberately. Whether this was due to sloth or chance I cannot say, but in those lands a storm often causes no less delay than on the sea; for when the wind rises on those level and barren[122] plains, it sweeps up the sand from the ground and drives it with such violence as to fill the mouth and eyes. Thus one is halted because one cannot see. Now when the men of Cyrene realized that they were somewhat belated and feared punishment for their failure when they returned, they accused the Carthaginians of having left home ahead of time and refused to abide by the agreement; in fact they were willing to do anything rather than go home defeated. But when the Carthaginians demanded other terms, provided they were fair, the Greeks gave them the choice, either of being buried alive in the place which they claimed as the boundary of their country, or of allowing the Greeks on the same condition to advance as far as they wished. The Philaeni accepted the terms and gave up their lives for their country; so they were buried alive. The Carthaginians consecrated altars on that spot to the Philaeni brothers, and other honours were established for them at home. I now return to my subject.


Since Jugurtha after the loss of Thala was convinced that nothing could resist Metellus, he journeyed through vast deserts with a few followers until he came to the Gaetulians, a wild and uncivilized race of men, who at that time had never heard the name of Rome. He mustered their population in one place and gradually trained them to keep ranks, follow the standards, obey orders, and perform the other duties of soldiers. He also won the favour of the nearest friends of King Bocchus by lavish gifts and still more lavish promises, and through their aid approached the king and induced him to make war upon the Romans. This was an easier and simpler matter, because at the beginning of this very war Bocchus had sent envoys to Rome, to ask for a treaty of alliance; but this arrangement, so advantageous for the war which was already under way, had been thwarted by a few men, blinded by greed, whose habit it was to traffic in everything, honourable and dishonourable. Even before that Bocchus had married a daughter of Jugurtha, but such a tie is not considered very binding among the Numidians and Moors, since each of them has as many wives as his means permit—some ten, others more, and kings a still greater number; none of the wives is regarded as a consort, but all are equally misprised.


Now the armies met in a place mutually agreed upon. There, after an exchange of pledges, Jugurtha strove to inflame the heart of Bocchus by a speech. The Romans, he said, were unjust, of boundless greed, and the common foes of all mankind. They had the same motive for a war with Bocchus as for one with himself and other nations, namely, the lust for dominion, and their hatred of all monarchies. Just now Jugurtha was their enemy, a short time before it had been the Carthaginians and King Perses; in the future it would be whoever seemed to them most powerful. After he had spoken these and similar words, the kings directed their march towards the town of Cirta, because there Metellus had placed his booty, his prisoners and his baggage. Hence Jugurtha thought that if the city could be taken, it would be worth the effort, while if the Roman leader came to the help of his countrymen, there would be a battle. And as a matter of fact, there was nothing about which the wily king was in such haste as to involve Bocchus in war, for fear that delay might lead him to choose another course.


When the Roman general heard of the league of the kings, he did not offer battle heedlessly and in all places alike, as had been his custom with Jugurtha after he had so often defeated him; but he waited for them in a fortified camp not far from Cirta, thinking it better to learn to know the Moors, since this new enemy had appeared, and so to fight to better advantage. Meanwhile he was informed by letters from Rome that the province of Numidia had been given to Marius; for he had already heard of his election to the consulship. He was more affected by this news than was right or becoming, neither refraining from tears nor bridling his tongue; although he had the other qualities of a great man, he showed little fortitude in bearing mortification. Some attributed his conduct on this occasion to arrogance; others declared that a noble spirit had been exasperated by insult; many thought that it was due to the fact that the victory which he had already won was snatched from his grasp. Personally, I feel confident that he was tormented more by the honour done to Marius than by the affront to himself, and that he would have felt less annoyance if the province had been taken from him to be given to any other man than Marius.


Checked therefore as he was by this grievance and thinking it folly to promote another’s interest at his own peril, Metellus sent envoys to Bocchus, to demand that he should not unprovoked become an enemy to the Roman people; he declared that in the crisis before them the king had a golden opportunity to form a friendly alliance, which was preferable to war, and that however much confidence he might feel in his strength, he ought not to exchange certainty for uncertainty. It was always easy to begin a war, but very difficult to stop one, since its beginning and end were not under the control of the same man. Anyone, even a coward, could commence a war, but it could be brought to an end only with the consent of the victors. Therefore the Moor ought to have regard to his own interests and those of his kingdom and ought not to unite his own prosperity with the desperate plight of Jugurtha.

To these words the king made a sufficiently conciliatory reply, saying that he desired peace, but pitied the misfortunes of Jugurtha; that if the same opportunity were offered his ally, agreement would be easy. Upon this, Metellus again sent envoys to object to the demands of Bocchus, who partly heeded and partly rejected his remonstrances. In this way, while messengers were continually being sent to and fro, time passed and, as Metellus wished, the war remained at a standstill.


Now Marius, as we have already said, was chosen consul with the ardent support of the commons. While even before his election he had been hostile to the nobles, as soon as the people voted him the province of Numidia he attacked the aristocracy persistently and boldly, assailing now individuals and now the entire city. He boasted that he had wrested the consulship from them as the spoils of victory, and made other remarks calculated to glorify himself and exasperate them. All the while he gave his first attention to preparation for the war. He asked that the legions should be reinforced, summoned auxiliaries from foreign nations and kings, besides calling out the bravest men from Latium and from our allies, the greater number of whom he knew from actual service but a few only by reputation. By special inducements, too, he persuaded veterans who had served their time to join his expedition.

The senate, although it was hostile to him, did not venture to oppose any of his measures; the addition to the legions it was particularly glad to vote, because it was thought that the commons were disinclined to military service and that Marius would thus lose either resources for the war or the devotion of the people. But such a desire of following Marius had seized almost everyone, that the hopes of the senate were disappointed. Each man imagined himself enriched by booty or returning home a victor, along with other visions of the same kind. Marius too had aroused them in no slight degree by a speech of his; for when all the decrees for which he had asked had been passed and he wished to enrol soldiers, in order to encourage men to enlist and at the same time, according to his custom, to bait the nobles, he called an assembly of the people. Then he spoke in the following manner:


“I know, fellow citizens, that it is by very different methods that most men ask for power at your hands and exercise it after it has been secured; that at first they are industrious, humble and modest, but afterwards they lead lives of indolence and arrogance. But the right course, in my opinion, is just the opposite; for by as much as the whole commonwealth is of more value than a consulate or a praetorship, so much greater ought to be the care with which it is governed than that which is shown in seeking those offices. Nor am I unaware how great a task I am taking upon myself in accepting this signal favour of yours. To prepare for war and at the same time to spare the treasury; to force into military service those whom one would not wish to offend; to have a care for everything at home and abroad—to do all this amid envy, enmity and intrigue, is a ruder task, fellow citizens, than you might suppose. Furthermore, if others make mistakes, the power of their nobility, the brave deeds of their ancestors, the power of their kindred and relatives, their throng of clients, are all a very present help. My hopes are all vested in myself and must be maintained by my own worth and integrity; for all other supports are weak.

“This too I understand, fellow citizens, that the eyes of all are turned towards me, that the just and upright favour me because my services are a benefit to our country, while the nobles are looking for a chance to attack me. Wherefore I must strive the more earnestly that you may not be deceived and that they may be disappointed. From childhood to my present time of life I have so lived that I am familiar with every kind of hardship and danger. As to the efforts, fellow citizens, which before your favours were conferred upon me I made without recompense, it is not my intention to relax them now that they have brought me their reward. To make a moderate use of power is difficult for those who from interested motives have pretended to be virtuous; for me, who have spent my entire life in exemplary conduct, habit has made right living a second nature. You have bidden me conduct the war against Jugurtha, a commission which has sorely vexed the nobles. I pray you, ponder well whether it would be better to change your minds and send on this or any similar errand one of that ring of nobles, a man of ancient lineage and many ancestral portraits—but no campaigns; in order, no doubt, that being wholly in ignorance of the duties of such an office, he might hurry and bustle about and select some one of the common people to act as his adviser. In fact, it very often happens that the man whom you have selected as a commander looks about for someone else to command him. I personally know of men, citizens, who after being elected consuls began for the first time to read the history of our forefathers and the military treatises of the Greeks, preposterous[123] creatures! for though in order of time administration follows election, yet in actual practice it comes first.[124]

“Compare me now, fellow citizens, a ‘new man,’ with those haughty nobles. What they know from hearsay and reading, I have either seen with my own eyes or done with my own hands. What they have learned from books I have learned by service in the field; think now for yourself whether words or deeds are worth more. They scorn my humble birth, I their worthlessness; I am taunted with my lot in life, they with their infamies. For my part, I believe that all men have one and the same nature, but that the bravest is the best born; and if the fathers of Albinus and Bestia could now be asked whether they would prefer to have me or those men for their descendents, what do you suppose they would reply, if not that they desired to have the best possible children?

“But if they rightly look down on me, let them also look down on their own forefathers, whose nobility began, as did my own, in manly deeds. They begrudge me my office; then let them begrudge my toil, my honesty, even my dangers, since it was through those that I won the office. In fact, these men, spoiled by pride, live as if they scorned your honours, but seek them as if their own lives were honourable. Surely they are deceived when they look forward with equal confidence to things which are worlds apart, the joys of idleness and the rewards of merit. Even when they speak to you or address the senate, their theme is commonly a eulogy of their ancestors; by recounting the exploits of their forefathers they imagine themselves more glory. The very reverse is true. The more glorious was the life of their ancestors, the more shameful is their own baseness. Assuredly the matter stands thus: the glory of ancestors is, as it were, a light shining upon their posterity, suffering neither their virtues nor their faults to be hidden. Of such glory I acknowledge my poverty, fellow citizens; but—and that is far more glorious—I have done deeds of which I have a right to speak. Now see how unfair those men are; what they demand for themselves because of others’ merit they do not allow me as the result of my own, no doubt because I have no family portraits and because mine is a new nobility. And yet surely to be its creator is better than to have inherited and disgraced it.

“I am of course well aware that if they should deign to reply to me, their language would be abundantly eloquent and elaborate. But since after the great honour which you have done me they take every opportunity to rend us both with their invectives, I thought it best not to be silent, for fear that someone might interpret my reticence as due to a guilty conscience.[125] In point of fact, I am confident that I can be injured by no speech; for if they tell the truth, they cannot but speak well of me, and falsehood my life and character refutes. But since it is your judgment in giving me your highest office and a most important commission which they criticize, consider again and yet again whether you ought to regret those acts. I cannot, to justify your confidence, display family portraits or the triumphs and consulships of my forefathers; but if occasion requires, I can show spears, a banner, trappings and other military prizes,[126] as well as scars on my breast. These are my portraits, these my patent of nobility, not left me by inheritance as theirs were, but won by my own innumerable efforts and perils.

“My words are not well chosen; I care little for that. Merit shows well enough in itself. It is they who have need of art, to gloss over their shameful acts with specious words. Nor have I studied Grecian letters. I did not greatly care to become acquainted with them, since they had not taught their teachers virtue. But I have learned by far the most important lesson for my country’s good—to strike down the foe, to keep watch and ward, to fear nothing save ill repute, to endure heat and cold alike, to sleep on the ground, to bear privation and fatigue at the same time. It is with these lessons that I shall encourage my soldiers; I shall not treat them stingily and myself lavishly, nor win my own glory at the price of their toil. Such leadership is helpful, such leadership is democratic;[127] for to live in luxury oneself but control one’s army by punishments is to be a master of slaves, not a commander. It was by conduct like this that your forefathers made themselves and their country famous; but the nobles, relying upon such ancestors though themselves of very different character, despise us who emulate the men of old, and claim from you all honours, not from desert, but as a debt.

“But those most arrogant of men are greatly in error. Their ancestors have left them all that they could—riches, portrait busts, their own illustrious memory; virtue they have not left them, nor could they have done so; that alone is neither bestowed nor received as a gift. They say that I am common and of rude manners, because I cannot give an elegant dinner and because I pay no actor or cook higher wages than I do my overseer. This I gladly admit, fellow citizens; for I learned from my father and other righteous men that elegance is proper to women but toil to men, that all the virtuous ought to have more fame than riches, and that arms and not furniture confer honour.

“Well then, let them continue to do what pleases them and what they hold dear; let them make love and drink; let them pass their old age where they have spent their youth, in banquets, slaves to their belly and the most shameful parts of their body. Sweat, dust, and all such things let them leave to us, to whom they are sweeter than feasts. But they will not; for when those most shameless of men have disgraced themselves by their crimes, they come to rob the virtuous of their rewards. Thus, most unjustly, their luxury and sloth, the most abominable of faults, in no wise injure those who practise them, but are the ruin of their blameless country.

“Now that I have replied to them to the extent that my character—but not their crimes—demanded[128] I shall say a few words about our country. First of all, be of good cheer as to Numidia, citizens; for you have put away everything which up to this time has protected Jugurtha—avarice, incompetence, and arrogance. Furthermore, there is an army in Africa familiar with the country, but by heaven! more valiant than fortunate; for a great part of it has perished through the greed or rashness of its leaders. Therefore do you, who are of military age, join your efforts with mine and serve your country, and let no one feel fear because of disasters to others or the arrogance of generals. I, Marius, shall be with you on the march and in battle, at once your counsellor and the companion of your dangers, and I shall treat myself and you alike in all respects. And surely with the help of the gods everything is ripe for us—victory, spoils, glory; but even though these were uncertain or remote, yet all good men ought to fly to the aid of their fatherland. Truly, no one ever became immortal through cowardice, and no parent would wish for his children that they might live forever, but rather that their lives might be noble and honoured. I would say more, citizens, if words could make cowards brave. For the resolute I think I have spoken abundantly.”


After Marius had made a speech in these terms and saw that it had fired the spirit of the commons, he made haste to load his ships with provisions, money, arms, and other necessities, with which he bade his lieutenant Aulus Manlius set sail. He himself in the meantime enrolled soldiers, not according to the classes[129] in the manner of our forefathers, but allowing anyone to volunteer, for the most part the proletariat.[130] Some say that he did this through lack of good men, others because of a desire to curry favour, since that class had given him honour and rank. As a matter of fact, to one who aspires to power the poorest man is the most helpful, since he had no regard for his property, having none, and considers anything honourable for which he receives pay. The result was that Marius set sail for Africa with a considerably greater contingent than had been authorized. A few days later he arrived at Utica, where the army was handed over to him by the second in command, Publius Rutilius. For Metellus had avoided meeting Marius, that he might not see what he had been unable ever to hear of with composure.


The consul, after having filled up[131] the ranks of the legions and the cohorts of the auxiliaries, marched into a district which was fertile and rich in booty. There he gave to the soldiers everything that was taken, and then attacked some fortresses and towns not well defended by nature or by garrisons, fighting many battles, but slight ones and in various places. Meanwhile the raw soldiers learned to enter battle fearlessly and saw that those who ran away were either taken and slain, while the bravest men were the safest; they realized that it was by arms that liberty, country, parents, and all else were protected, and glory and riches won. Thus in a short time the old and the new soldiers were assimilated and all became equally courageous.

But the two kings, on hearing of the arrival of Marius, withdrew each to a different place, difficult of access. This was a device of Jugurtha’s, who hoped that the enemy could presently be divided and attacked, and that the Romans, like most soldiers, would have less restraint and discipline when they feared no danger.


Metellus meanwhile returned to Rome, where, contrary to his expectation, he was received with great rejoicing; for the feeling against him had died out and he found himself popular with people and senators alike. But Marius watched the conduct of his own men and of the enemy alike untiringly and sagaciously, learned what was to the advantage or disadvantage of both sides, observed the movements of the kings and anticipated their plans and plots, allowing his soldiers no relaxation and the enemy no security. He made frequent attacks on Jugurtha and the Gaetulians while they were plundering our allies, routing them and compelling the king himself to throw away his arms[132] not far from the town of Cirta. But when he found that such exploits merely brought him glory, but did not tend to finish the war, he decided to invest one after the other the cities which by reason of their garrison or their situation were most serviceable to the enemy and most detrimental to his own success. In that way he thought that Jugurtha would either be deprived of his defences, if he made no opposition, or would be forced to fight. As for Bocchus, he had sent Marius frequent messengers, saying that he desired the friendship of the Roman people and bidding Marius to fear no hostile act on his part. Whether he feigned this, in order that he might strike an unexpected, and therefore a heavier blow, or from natural instability of character was in the habit of wavering between peace and war, is not altogether clear.


But the consul, as he had planned, appeared before the fortified towns and strongholds, and in some cases by force, in others by intimidation or bribery, took them from the enemy. At first his attempts were modest, since he thought that Jugurtha would fight in defence of his subjects. But when he learned that the king was far off and intent upon other matters, he thought the time ripe for undertaking greater and harder tasks.

There was in the midst of a great desert a large and strong town called Capsa, whose reputed founder was the Libyan Hercules. Under Jugurtha’s rule its citizens were free from tribute and mildly treated, and were therefore counted upon as most loyal. They were protected from their enemies not only by walls and armed men, but still more by their inaccessible position; for except in the neighbourhood of the town the whole country was desolate, wild, without water, and infested by serpents, whose fierceness, like that of all wild animals, was made greater by scarcity of food. Moreover, the venom of serpents, which is always deadly, is especially aggravated by thirst. Marius was inspired with a great desire of taking this town, not only from its military importance, but also because the undertaking seemed hazardous and because Metellus had gained great renown by the capture of Thala. For Thala was similar in its situation and defences, except that there were some springs not far from the town, whereas the people of Capsa had but one flowing spring, which was within the walls, otherwise depending upon rain water. This condition was the more readily endured there and in all the less civilized part of Africa[133] remote from the sea, since the Numidians lived for the most part on milk and game, making no use of salt and other whets to the appetite; for in their opinion the purpose of food was to relieve hunger and thirst, not to minister to caprice and luxury.


The consul then, after reconnoitring everywhere, must have put his trust in the gods; for against such great difficulties he could not make sufficient provision by his own wisdom. Indeed, he was even threatened with scarcity of grain, both because the Numidians give more attention to grazing than to agriculture, and because such grain as there was had been transported by the king’s command to fortified places. Moreover, the fields were dry and stripped of their crops at that season, for it was the end of summer. In spite of these difficulties, Marius made the best possible provision under the circumstances. He gave all the cattle which had been captured on previous days to the auxiliary cavalry to drive, and directed his lieutenant Aulus Manlius to go with the light-armed cohorts to the town of Laris, where he had deposited his money and supplies, telling him that a few days later he would himself come to the same place to forage. Having thus concealed his real purpose, he proceeded to the river Tanaïs.


Now every day during the march Marius had distributed cattle equally among the centuries and the divisions of cavalry, taking care that bottles for water should be made from the hides; thus at the same time he made good the lack of grain and without revealing his purpose provided something which was soon to be useful. When they finally reached the river on the sixth day, a great quantity of bottles had been prepared. Having pitched his camp by the river and fortified it slightly, he ordered the soldiers to eat their dinners and be ready to march at sunset, throwing aside all their baggage and loading themselves and the pack-animals with water only. Then, when he thought the proper time had come, he left the camp and marched all night before halting. He did the same thing the next night, and on the third night long before daybreak he came to a hilly tract, distant not more than two miles from Capsa. There he waited with all his forces, keeping as much in concealment as possible. When day dawned and the Numidians, who had no fear of an attack, sallied forth in large numbers from the town, he suddenly ordered all the cavalry and with them the swiftest of the foot-soldiers to hasten at the double-quick to Capsa and beset the gates. Then he himself quickly followed, keeping on the alert and not allowing his soldiers to plunder. When the townspeople perceived what was going on, their disorder, their great panic, their unexpected plight and the fact that a part of their fellow citizens were outside the walls and in the power of the enemy, compelled them to surrender. But nevertheless the town was burned and the adult Numidians put to the sword; all the rest were sold and the proceeds divided among the soldiers. The consul was guilty of this violation of the laws of war, not because of avarice or cruelty, but because the place was of advantage to Jugurtha and difficult of access for us, while the people were fickle and untrustworthy and had previously shown themselves amenable neither to kindness nor to fear.


Marius was already great and famous, but after he had won this important success without loss to his own men he began to be regarded as still greater and more famous. All his rash acts, even when ill-advised, were regarded as proofs of his ability. The soldiers, who were kept under mild discipline[134] and at the same time enriched, extolled him to the skies, the Numidians feared him as if he were more than mortal; all, in short, friends and enemies alike, believed that he either possessed divine insight or that everything was revealed to him by the favour of the gods.

After his success at Capsa the consul proceeded to other towns. A few he took in spite of the resistance of the Numidians, but the greater number were abandoned through dread of the wretched fate of Capsa, and burned; all Numidia was filled with bloodshed and lamentation. Finally, after capturing many places, for the most part without loss of life, he essayed another feat, not involving the same danger as the taking of Capsa, but no less difficult.

Not far from the river Muluccha, which separated the realms of Jugurtha and Bocchus, there was in the midst of a plain a rocky hill which was broad enough for a fortress of moderate size and very high, and accessible only by one narrow path; for the whole place was naturally steep, as if it had been made so by art and design. This place Marius aimed to take by a supreme effort, because it held the king’s treasures, but in this case his success was the result of chance rather than of skill; for the fortress was well supplied with arms and men, besides having an abundance of grain and a spring of water. The situation was impracticable for mounds, towers, and other siege works, while the path to the fortifications was extremely narrow and had precipices on either side. Mantlets were pushed forward with extreme danger and to no purpose; for when they had gone but a short distance they were ruined by fire or by stones. The soldiers could not keep their footing before the works because of the steepness of the hill nor operate within the mantlets without peril; the bravest of them were killed or wounded, and the rest gradually lost courage.


After Marius had spent many days in great labour, he was anxiously considering whether he should abandon the attempt as fruitless or await the favour of fortune, which he had so often enjoyed. For many days and nights he had been a prey to indecision, when it chanced that a Ligurian, a common soldier of the auxiliary cohorts, who had left the camp to fetch water, noticed near the side of the fortress which was farthest from the besiegers some snails creeping about among the rocks. Picking up one or two of these and then looking for more, in his eagerness to gather them he gradually made his way almost to the top of the mountain.[135] When he found that he was alone there, the love of overcoming difficulties which is natural to mankind seized him. It happened that a great oak tree had grown up there among the rocks; it bent downward for a little way, then turned and grew upward, as is the nature of all plants. With the help, now of the branches of this tree and now of projecting rocks, the Ligurian mounted to the plateau about the fortress, while all the Numidians were intent upon the combatants. After examining everything that he thought would be useful later, he returned by the same way, not heedlessly, as he had gone up, but testing and observing everything. Then he hastened to Marius, told him what he had done, and urged him to make an attempt on the fortress at the point where he himself had mounted, offering himself as a guide for the ascent and leader in the dangerous undertaking.

Marius thereupon ordered some of his staff to go with the Ligurian and look into his proposal, and each of them, according to his temperament, pronounced the attempt difficult or easy; on the whole, however, the consul was somewhat encouraged. Accordingly, out of all his horn-blowers and trumpeters he chose the five who were most agile, and with them four centurions[136] as a protection. He put them all under command of the Ligurian and set the next day for the attempt.


Now, when the Ligurian thought the appointed[137] time had come, he made all his preparations and went to the spot. Those who were going to make the ascent, following the previous instructions of their guide had changed their arms and accoutrements, baring their heads and feet so as to be able to see better and climb among the rocks more easily. They carried their swords and shields on their backs, but took Numidian shields of hide, because they were lighter and would make less noise when struck. Then the Ligurian led the way, fastening ropes to the rocks or to old projecting roots, in order that with such help the soldiers might more easily make the ascent. Sometimes he lent a hand to those whom the unusual nature of the route alarmed, and where the ascent was unusually difficult, he would send men ahead one by one unarmed and then follow himself, bringing the arms. He was first to try the places which it seemed dangerous to attempt, and by often climbing up and returning the same way, and then at once stepping aside, he lent courage to the rest. In this way, after a long time and great exertion, they at last reached the fortress, which was deserted at that point because all the men, as on other days, were face to face with the enemy.

Marius had devoted the whole day to keeping the Numidians intent upon the battle; but as soon as he heard that the Ligurian had accomplished his purpose, he began to urge on his soldiers. He himself went outside the mantlets, formed the tortoise-shed,[138] and advanced to the wall, at the same time trying to terrify the enemy at long range with artillery, archers and slingers. But the Numidians, since they had often before overturned the mantlets of the enemy and set fire to them, no longer protected themselves within the walls of the fortress, but spent day and night outside, reviling the Romans and taunting Marius with madness. Emboldened by their successes, they threatened our soldiers with slavery at the hands of Jugurtha.

In the meantime, while all the Romans and all the enemy were intent upon the conflict, and both side were exerting themselves to the utmost, the one for glory and dominion and the other for safety, suddenly the trumpets sounded in the rear of the foe. Then the women and children, who had come out to look on, were the first to flee, followed by those who were nearest the wall, and finally by all, armed and unarmed alike. Upon this the Romans pressed on with greater vigour, routing the enemy, but for the most part only wounding them. Then they rushed on over the bodies of the slain, eager for glory and each striving to be first to reach the wall; not only stayed to plunder. Thus Marius’s rashness was made good by fortune and he gained glory through an error in judgment.


During the attack on the fortress the quaestor Lucius Sulla arrived in camp with a large force of horsemen which he had mustered from Latium and the allies, having been left in Rome for that purpose. And since the event has brought that great man to our attention, it seems fitting to say a few words about his life and character; for we shall not speak elsewhere of Sulla’s affairs, and Lucius Sisenna,[139] whose account of him is altogether the best and most careful, has not, in my opinion, spoken with sufficient frankness.

Sulla, then, was a noble of patrician descent, of a family almost reduced to obscurity through the degeneracy of his ancestors. He was well versed alike in Grecian and Roman letters, of remarkable mental power,[140] devoted to pleasure but more devoted to glory. In his leisure hours he lived extravagantly, yet pleasure never interfered with his duties, except that his conduct as a husband might have been more honourable. He was eloquent, clever, and quick to make friends. He had a mind deep beyond belief in its power of disguising its purposes, and was generous with many things, especially with money. Before his victory in the civil war he was the most fortunate of all men, but his fortune was never greater than his deserts, and many have hesitated to say whether his bravery or his good luck was the greater. As to what he did later, I know not if one should speak of it rather with shame or with sorrow.


Now Sulla, as I have already said, after he came with his cavalry to Africa and the camp of Marius, although he was without previous experience and untrained in war, soon became the best soldier in the whole army. Moreover, he was courteous in his language to the soldiers, granted favours to many at their request and to others of his own accord, unwilling himself to accept favours and paying them more promptly than a debt of money. He himself never asked for payment, but rather strove to have as many men as possible in his debt. He talked in jest or earnest[141] with the humblest, was often with them at their work, on the march, and on guard duty, but in the meantime did not, like those who are actuated by depraved ambition, try to undermine the reputation of the consul or of any good man. His only effort was not to suffer anyone to outdo him in counsel or in action, and as a matter of fact he surpassed almost all. Such being his character and conduct, he was soon greatly beloved by both Marius and the soldiers.


Now, Jugurtha, having lost Capsa and other fortified places which were helpful to his cause, as well as a great sum of money, sent messengers to Bocchus, urging him to lead his troops into Numidia as soon as possible, since the time for a battle was at hand. But when he learned that Bocchus was hesitating and doubtfully weighing the advantages of peace and war, he once more bribed the king’s intimates with gifts and promised the Moor himself a third part of Numidia, if the Romans should be driven from Africa or the war brought to a close without any loss of his own territory. Tempted by this prize, Bocchus joined Jugurtha with a great throng. Then the kings united their forces and attacked Marius just as he was going into winter quarters, when scarcely a tenth part of the day was left; for they thought that the approaching night would be a protection to them if they were unsuccessful and would be no hindrance if they conquered, because of their unfamiliarity with the region; while to the Romans darkness would be more dangerous in either victory or defeat. Then, at the very moment that the consul learned from many of his scouts of the coming of the enemy, the foe themselves appeared, and before the army could be drawn up or the baggage piled, in fact before any signal or order could be given, the Moorish and Gaetulian cavalry fell upon the Romans, not in order or with any plan of battle but in swarms, just as chance had brought them together.

Our men were all bewildered by the unlooked-for danger, but nevertheless did not forget their valour. Some took arms, while others kept off the enemy from their comrades who were arming; a part mounted their horses and charged the foe. The combat was more like an attack of brigands than a battle. Without standards and in disordered horse and foot massed together, some gave ground, others slew their opponents; many who were bravely fighting against their adversaries were surrounded from the rear. Valour and arms were no sufficient protection against a foe who were superior in numbers and attacked on every side. At last the Romans, both the raw recruits and the veterans (who as such were skilled in warfare), if the nature of the ground or chance brought any of them together, formed a circle, thus at once protecting themselves on every side and presenting an orderly front to the attacks of the enemy.


In so dangerous a crisis Marius was neither frightened nor less confident than before, but with his bodyguard of cavalry, which he had formed of the bravest soldiers rather than of his most intimate friends, he went from place to place, now succouring those of his men who were in difficulty, now charging the enemy where they were pressing on in greatest numbers. He directed the soldiers by gestures, since in the general confusion his orders could not be heard. And now the day was spent, yet the barbarians did not at all relax their efforts, but thinking that darkness would favour them, as the kings had declared, they attacked with greater vigour. Then Marius, adapting his tactics to the situation and wishing to provide a place of refuge for his men, took possession of two neighbouring hills, one of which was too small for a camp but had a large spring of water, while the other was adapted to his purpose because it was for the most part high and steep and required little fortification. But he ordered Sulla to pass the night with the cavalry beside the spring, while he himself gradually rallied his scattered forces and the enemy were in no less disorder, and then led them all at the double quick to the hill. Thus the kings were compelled by the strength of his position to cease from battle. However, they did not allow their men to go far away, but encompassing both hills with their huge army, they bivouacked in loose order.

Then, after building many fires, the barbarians, as is their usual habit, spent the greater part of the night in rejoicing, in exultation and in noisy demonstrations, while even their leaders, who were filled with confidence because they had not been put to flight, acted as if they were victorious. Now, all this was clearly visible to the Romans from their higher position in the darkness and encouraged them greatly.


Marius, who was particularly heartened by the enemy’s lack of discipline, ordered the utmost possible silence to be kept and not even the customary signals to be sounded to mark the night watches.[142] Then, as daylight was drawing near and the enemy having at length become exhausted had just yielded to sleep, on a sudden he ordered the watch and at the same time the horn-blowers of the cohorts,[143] of the divisions of cavalry and of the legions to sound the signal together, and the soldiers to raise a shout and burst forth from the gates of their camp. The Moors and Gaetulians, being suddenly awakened by the strange and terrible sound, could not flee, arm themselves, or do or provide for anything at all; into such a panic, all but frenzy, were they thrown by the clash of arms, the shouting, the lack of help, the charge of our men, the confusion and terror. To make a long story short, they were all routed and put to flight, the greater number of their arms and military standards were taken, and in that one battle more of the enemy fell than in all those that had gone before; for sleep and the unlooked-for danger hampered flight.


Then Marius proceeded, as he had been about to do, to his winter quarters, for he had decided to winter in the coast towns for the sake of supplies. His victory, however, did not make him careless or over-confident, but he advanced in square formation,[144] as though he were under the eyes of the enemy. Sulla had charge of the right, together with the cavalry, on the left was Aulus Manlius with the slingers, the archers and the cohorts of the Ligurians, while in front and in the rear Marius had stationed the tribunes with the light-armed companies. The deserters, who were least esteemed and best acquainted with the region, reconnoitred the enemy’s line of march. At the same time the consul was as careful as if he had no officers, looking out for everything, being everywhere present, and distributing praise or blame where each was deserved. He himself was armed and alert, and he compelled the soldiers to follow his example. With the same care that he showed in making his march he fortified his camp, sent cohorts from the legions to keep ward at the gate and the auxiliary cavalry to perform the like duty before the camp, and in addition stationed others on the ramparts above the palisade. He personally inspected the guards, not so much because he feared that his orders would not be executed, as to make the soldiers willing to endure labour of which their commander did his full share. Obviously Marius at that time, and at other times during the war with Jugurtha controlled his army rather by appealing to their sense of shame than by punishment.[145] Many said that he did this through a desire for popularity; that[146] he himself took pleasure in hardship, to which he had been accustomed from childhood, and in other things which the rest of mankind call afflictions. But at all events, its service to our country[147] was as great and glorious as it could have been with the severest discipline.


Finally on the fourth day, when they were not far from the town of Cirta, the scouts quickly appeared from all sides at once, showing that the enemy were at hand. But since the different parties, though returning from various quarters, all made the same report, the consul was in doubt what order of battle to take; he therefore waited where he was, without changing his formation, but prepared for any emergency. In this way he disappointed Jugurtha, who had made four divisions of his troops, in the expectation that if they attacked from all quarters alike, some of them at least would take the Romans in the rear. Meanwhile Sulla, whom the enemy had reached first, after encouraging his men attacked the Moors with a part of his force, charing by squadrons and in as close order as possible; the rest of his troops held their ground, protecting themselves from the javelins which were hurled at long range, and slaying all who succeeded in reaching them. While the cavalry were fighting thus, Bocchus with the infantry brought by his son Volux, which had been delayed on the way and had not taken part in the former battle, charged the Roman rear. Marius at the time was busy with the van, since Jugurtha was there with the greater part of his forces. Then the Numidian, on learning of the arrival of Bocchus, made his way secretly with a few followers to the king’s infantry.[148] When he reached them, he cried out in Latin (for he had learned to speak the language at Numantia) that our men were fighting in vain, since he had a short time before slain Marius with his own hand. And with these words he displayed a sword smeared with blood, which he had made gory during the battle by valiantly slaying one of our foot-soldiers.[149] When our men heard this, they were shocked rather by the horror of the deed than because they believed the report, while at the same time the barbarians were encouraged and charged upon the appalled Romans with greater vigour. And our men were just on the point of flight, when Sulla, who had routed his opponents, returned and fell upon the flank of the Moors. Bocchus at once gave way. As for Jugurtha, while he was trying to hold his men and grasp the victory which he had all but won, he was surrounded by the cavalry; but though all on his right and left were slain, he broke through alone, escaping amid a shower of hostile weapons. Marius in the meantime, after putting the cavalry to flight, was hastening to the aid of his men, of whose imminent defeat he had now heard. Finally the enemy were everywhere routed. Then there was a fearful sight in the open plains—pursuing, fleeing, killing, capturing, horses and men dashed to the ground, many of the wounded unable either to flee or to remain quiet, now making an effort to rise and at once collapsing; in short, wherever the eye could reach, the ground was soaked in blood and strewn with weapons, arms, and corpses.


After this the consul, now beyond all question victor, came to the town of Cirta, which had been his destination from the first. Thither came envoys from Bocchus five days after the second defeat of the barbarians, to ask of Marius in the king’s name that he should send him two of his most trusty officers; they said that Bocchus wished to confer with them about his own interests and those of the Roman people. Marius immediately selected Lucius Sulla and Aulus Manlius, and they, although they had been sent for by the king,[150] decided to address him, with the view of changing his purpose, if unfavourable, or of making him more eager for peace if he already desired it. Therefore Sulla, to whom Manlius gave place, not because of years, but because of his eloquence, spoke briefly to the following purport:

“King Bocchus, it gives us much joy that the gods have led you, so great a man, at last to prefer peace to war; to refuse to contaminate yourself, one of the best of men, by association with Jugurtha, the very worst; and at the same time to relieve us of the bitter necessity of meting out the same treatment to your error and to his crimes. I may add that the Roman people from the beginning of their rule have preferred to seek friends rather than slaves, and have thought it safer to govern by consent than by compulsion. For you, indeed, no friendship is more desirable than ours: first, because we are at a distance from you, a condition which offers less friction than if we were near at hand, with no less power;[151] and secondly, because we already have more than enough subjects, while neither we nor anyone else ever had friends enough. I only wish that you had felt thus disposed from the first! In that event, the favours which by this time you would have received from the Roman people would far outnumber the misfortunes which you have suffered. But since Fortune has the chief control of human destiny, and since it seems to have been her pleasure that you should experience both our power and our kindness, make haste now that she allows it and follow the course which you have begun. You have many good opportunities easily to atone for your mistakes by good offices. Finally, let this thought sink into your heart, that the Roman people has never been outdone in kindness; its prowess in war you know by experience.”

To these words Bocchus made a conciliatory and courteous reply, at the same time offering a brief defence of his conduct, declaring that he had taken arms, not in a spirit of hostility, but to protect his kingdom; for the part of Numidia from which he had driven Jugurtha, he said, was his by right of conquest and he could not allow it to be laid waste by Marius. Furthermore, he had previously sent envoys to Rome, but his friendship had been rejected. He waived the past, however, and if Marius would allow him, he would again send ambassadors to the senate. But after the consul had granted his request, the barbarian’s purpose was changed by some of his friends, whom Jugurtha had bribed; for he knew of the embassy of Sulla and Manlius and feared its effects.


Meanwhile Marius, having settled his army in winter quarters, went with the light-armed cohorts and a part of the cavalry into the desert, in order to besiege a stronghold of the king, which Jugurtha had garrisoned with deserters only. Then Bocchus again,[152] led either by the recollection of what had happened to him in two battles or by the warnings of other friends of his whom Jugurtha had failed to bribe, chose out of the whole body of his relatives five of those whom he knew to be faithful and of pre-eminent ability. These he ordered to go as envoys to Marius and then, if it seemed advisable, to Rome, giving them complete freedom of action and permission to make peace on any terms. These envoys left betimes for the Roman winter quarters, but on the way they were set upon and robbed by Gaetulian brigands and fled in terror and disgrace to Sulla, whom the consul had left in command when beginning his expedition. Sulla did not treat them as liars and enemies, as he might well have done,[153] but received them with a sympathy and generosity which led the barbarians to think that the Romans’ reputation for avarice was unmerited and that Sulla because of his liberality towards them was really their friend. For even then many men did not know the significance of largess; no one who was generous was suspected of insincerity, and all gifts were regarded as indications of kind feeling. Therefore they confided to the quaestor what Bocchus had ordered and at the same time begged him to help them with his favour and advice. They exaggerated their wealth, integrity and might of their sovereign and everything else which they thought would help them or ensure kind treatment. Then, after Sulla had promised to do all that they asked and had instructed them how to address Marius and the senate, they tarried with him about forty days.[154]


After finishing the task which he had set himself, Marius returned to Cirta. There being informed of the arrival of the envoys, he ordered them to come from Utica with Sulla; he also summoned Lucius Bellienus the praetor from Utica, as well as every member of the senatorial order to be found in all parts of the province. In consultation with these men he considered the proposals of Bocchus. Among these proposals the consul was asked to give the envoys permission to go to Rome, and in the meantime a truce was requested. This met the approval of the majority, including Sulla; a few hot-heads were for rejecting them, doubtless unaware that human affairs, which are shifting and unstable, are always changing for better or worse.

Now when the Moors had obtained everything that they desired, three of them departed for Rome with Gnaeus Octavius Ruso, the quaestor who had brought the soldiers’ pay to Africa, while two returned to the king. Bocchus heard the report of the latter with joy, especially the friendly interest of Sulla. And at Rome his envoys, after urging in excuse that their king had made a mistake and been led astray by the wickedness of Jugurtha, asked for a treaty of friendship and received this reply: “The Senate and People of Rome are wont to remember both a benefit and an injury. But since Bocchus repents, they forgive his offence; he shall have a treaty of friendship when he has earned it.”


Upon receiving news of this, Bocchus wrote to Marius to send Sulla to him with power to adjust their common interests. He was accordingly sent with a guard of horsemen and Balearic slingers, also taking with him the archers and a cohort of Paelignians, who wore light armour for the sake of speed and because they were as well protected by this as by any other armour against the weapons of the enemy, which are also light.

On the fifth day of their march Volux, the son of Bocchus, suddenly appeared in the open plains with not more than a thousand horsemen; but since they were riding in disorder and widely scattered, they seemed to Sulla and all the rest much more numerous and excited fear of an attack. Therefore each man prepared himself, tried his arms and weapons, and was on the alert; there was some anxiety, but greater confidence, as was natural to victors in the presence of those whom they had often vanquished. Meanwhile the horsemen who had been sent to reconnoitre announced that the intentions of the newcomers were peaceful, as in fact they were.


When he came up, Volux addressed the quaestor, saying that he had been sent by his father Bocchus to meet them and act as their escort. Then they went on in company that day and the next without any cause for alarm. Later in the day, when the camp was pitched and evening came on, the Moor on a sudden with a troubled countenance ran in terror to Sulla and said that he had learned from his scouts that Jugurtha was not far off; at the same time he begged and implored Sulla to make his escape with him secretly during the night. But the Roman boldly declared that he did not fear the Numidian whom he had so often routed and that he had absolute trust in the valour of his men; he added that even if inevitable destruction threatened, he would rather stand his ground than betray the men under his command, and by cowardly flight save a life that he might perhaps be fated soon to lose from natural causes. When, however, Volux recommended that they continue their march during the night, he approved the plan, ordered the soldiers to have their dinners at once, to build as many fires in the camp as possible, and at the first watch to withdraw in silence.

And now, when all were wearied from the night march, Sulla was measuring off his camp at sunrise, when suddenly the Moorish horsemen that Jugurtha was encamped about two miles in advance of them. Upon hearing this, the Romans were at last seized with great fear; they believed that they had been betrayed by Volux and led into a trap. Some said that he ought to be put to death and not allowed to escape the penalty of such a crime.


Although Sulla shared this opinion, he forbade them to harm the Moor. He urged his men to keep a stout heart, saying that often before a handful of valiant soldiers had worsted a multitude. The less they spared themselves in the fight the safer they would be. It was not seemly for any man who had weapons in his hands to resort to the help of his unarmed feet and in time of great fear to turn towards the enemy the defenceless and blind part of his body.[155] Then calling upon great Jupiter to witness the crime and perfidy of Bocchus, he ordered Volux to quit the camp, since he was playing a hostile part. The young man begged Sulla with tears not to believe such a thing; he insisted that the situation was due to no treachery on his part, but to the cunning of Jugurtha, who had evidently learned from spies of their expedition. But since the Numidian had no great force and all his hopes and resources depended on Bocchus, Volux was sure, he said, that he would venture upon no open attempt when the king’s son was present as a witness. He therefore advised that they should march fearlessly through the midst of Jugurtha’s camp; he said that he himself would accompany Sulla alone, whether his Moors were sent ahead or left behind.

This plan seemed the best possible one under the circumstances. They set out at once, and because their action was unexpected, Jugurtha wavered and hesitated and they passed through unscathed. A few days later they reached their destination.


There was in that place a Numidian called Aspar, who was on very familiar terms with Bocchus. He had been sent on by Jugurtha, after he heard of the summoning of Sulla, to plead for the Numidian and craftily spy upon Bocchus’ designs. There was also a certain Dabar, son of Massugrada, of the family of Masinissa, a man of inferior birth on his mother’s side (for her father was the son of a concubine), but dearly beloved by the Moor because of many good qualities. Having found Dabar faithful to the Romans on many previous occasions, Bocchus at once sent him to Sulla, to report that he was ready to do what the Roman people wished. He suggested that Sulla should select the day, place and hour for a conference and told him to have no fear of Jugurtha’s envoy, declaring that he was purposely maintaining friendly relations with the Numidian, in order that they might discuss their common interests more freely; in no other way could he have guarded against his plots.[156]

But I believe that it was rather with Punic faith than for the reasons which he made public that Bocchus beguiled both the Roman and the Numidian with the hope of peace, and that he pondered for a long time whether to betray Jugurtha to the Romans or Sulla to Jugurtha; that his inclination counselled against us, but his fears in our favour.


Now Sulla replied to the king’s proposal, that he would speak briefly in the presence of Aspar, but would discuss other matters privately with Bocchus either with no one else present or before as few as possible; at the same time he instructed the envoys what reply was to be made to him. When the meeting had been arranged according to his wishes, Sulla said that he had been sent by the consul to ask of Bocchus whether he desired peace or war. Then the king, as had been arranged, directed him to return ten days later, saying that even yet he had made no decision, but would give his answer at that time. Then they both withdrew to their camps. But when a good part of the night had passed, Sulla was secretly summoned by Bocchus; both were attended only by trustworthy interpreters in addition to Dabar as mediator, an upright man who was trusted by both of them. Then the king immediately began as follows:


“I never believed it possible that I, the greatest monarch in these lands and of all kings whom I know, should owe gratitude to a man of private station. And by Heaven! Sulla, before I knew you many have prayed for my help, which I gave often to their prayers, often unasked, needing no man’s help myself. At such a curtailment of independence others are wont to grieve, but I rejoice in it; let the need which I at last feel be the price that I pay for your friendship;[157] for in my heart I hold nothing dearer. As a proof of this, take arms, men, money, in short whatever you like; use them, and as long as you live never think that you are repaid; for I shall always feel a fresh sense of obligation towards you. In short, there will be nothing for which you can wish in vain, provided your desires are known to employ. For in my opinion it is less disgraceful for a king to be vanquished in war than to be outdone in gratitude.

“Now hear a few words with regard to your country, as whose representative you have been sent hither. I did not make war on the Roman people and I never wished to do so; but I defended my realm with arms against armed invaders. Even that I now cease to do, since it is your wish. Carry on the war with Jugurtha as you think best. I shall not pass the river Muluccha, which was the boundary between Micipsa and myself, nor will I allow Jugurtha to do so. If you have anything further to ask which is honourable for us both, you shall not go away disappointed.”


To these words Sulla replied on his own account briefly and modestly; he spoke at length about peace and their common interests. Finally, he made it clear to the king that the senate and people of Rome would feel no gratitude for his promises, since they had shown themselves his superior in arms. He must do something which would clearly be for their interests rather than his own. This would be easy, since he could get control of Jugurtha; if he would deliver the king into the hands of the Romans, they would be greatly indebted to him. Then friendship, alliance, and the part of Numidia which he now desired would freely be given him.

At first the king refused, saying that relationship and kinship forbade, as well as a treaty; moreover, he feared that if he showed treachery he would alienate his subjects to whom Jugurtha was dear and the Romans hateful. At last, after many importunities, he gave way and promised to do all that Sulla desired. They also took the necessary steps for pretending to make the peace which was most desired by the Numidian, who was weary of war. Having thus perfected their plot, they parted.


Now, on the following army the king summoned Aspar, Jugurtha’s envoy, and said that he had learned from Sulla through Dabar that terms of peace could be arranged; he therefore desired him to find out the intentions of his king. The envoy joyfully departed to Jugurtha’s camp; then after eight days he returned in haste to Bocchus with full instructions from the king and reported to him that Jugurtha was willing to do anything that he desired, but put little trust in Marius. He said that peace had often before been agreed upon with Roman generals to no purpose; but that Bocchus, if he wished to consult for the interests of both and to have a lasting peace, ought to arrange for a general interview under pretext of agreeing upon conditions and there deliver Sulla to him. When he had so important a man in his power, a treaty would surely be made by order of the senate or of the people; for a man of rank would not be left in the power of the enemy when he had fallen into it, not through his own cowardice, but in the service of the country.


After long consideration, the Moor at last promised this. Whether his hesitation was feigned or genuine I cannot say; but as a rule the desires of kings, although strong, are changeable and often contradictory. Afterwards, when time and place were agreed upon for holding the peace conference, Bocchus addressed now Sulla and now the envoy of Jugurtha, received both courteously and made them the same promises. Both alike were joyful and full of human hope.

That night, however, which was the one preceding the day appointed for the conference, the Moor summoned his friends and at once changed his purpose and dismissed all others; then he is said to have had a long struggle with himself, during which the conflict in his mind was reflected in his expression and eyes, which, though he was silent, revealed the secrets of his heart. At last, however, he ordered Sulla to be summoned and yielding to his wish, set a trap for the Numidian.

When day came and he was told that Jugurtha was not far off, he proceeded with a few friends and the Roman quaestor[158] to a mound in full sight of those who were in ambush, as had been agreed, and immediately upon a given signal those who were in concealment rushed upon him from all sides at once. His companions were killed; the king himself was bound and delivered to Sulla, who took him to Marius.


At this same time our generals Quintus Caepio and Gnaeus Manlius were defeated by the Gauls[159] and terror at this had made all Italy tremble. The Romans of that time and even down to our own day believed that all else was easy for their valour, but that with the Gauls they fought for life and not for glory. But when it was announced that the war in Numidia was ended and that Jugurtha was being brought captive to Rome, Marius was made consul in his absence and Gaul was assigned to him as his province. On the Kalends of January[160] he entered upon his office and celebrated a triumph of great magnificence. At that time the hopes and welfare of our country were in his hands.[161]


  1. Sallust was writing in the troublous times which followed the assassination of Caesar.
  2. For this meaning cf. CII.7, parentes abunde habemus.
  3. Nisi forte is strongly ironical, introducing an incredible motive for holding office; cf. Cat. XX.17; before nisi forte we must supply “But one must either be a tyrant or a fool.”
  4. Sallust contrasts the time when he held office with the time when he was writing; see note on III.1 and the Introduction.
  5. Such as Cato, who was an unsuccessful candidate for the praetorship in 55 B.C.
  6. Referring both to the Gauls admitted by Julius Caesar to the “orcini,” so called from Orcus apparently, because Mark Antony pretended that they had been designated as senators in Caesar’s will; see Suetonius, Jul. 80; Aug. 35.
  7. A Roman had the right to make waxen masks of those of his ancestors who had held a curule office (consul, praetor, censor, or curule aedile) and keep them in the atrium of his house. They were worn in funerals of members of the family by actors who impersonated the dead, and were exhibited on other solemn occasions.
  8. See note on Cat. XXIII.6.
  9. Or perhaps “they,” i.e. populus Romanus.
  10. As compared with Hiempsal and Adherbal, the sons of Micipsa.
  11. But in XI.6 tribus proximis annis must mean some time between 121 and 118 B.C., since Micipsa died in 118. Sallust is loose in his chronology.
  12. Referring to the exploits of Masinissa.
  13. Cf. XXIV.10, fides amicitiae.
  14. The term lictor is transferred from Roman usage. It is not probable that the Numidians had adopted the Roman custom.
  15. That is, every evening.
  16. The Roman province of Africa, consisting of the territory possessed by Carthage in 146 B.C.; cf. fines quod novissime habuerant, XIX.7.
  17. Cf. Liv. 45.13.15, Masinissam . . . usu regni contentum scire dominium et ius eorum qui dederint esse.
  18. That is, an alliance with Rome offered more hope for the future than aid in the immediate present.
  19. Those enemies, namely, which their alliance with Rome forced upon them.
  20. Cf. X.3, benificio meo fratres.
  21. In 121 B.C. he led the attack against the Aventine, where Gaius Gracchus and his followers had taken refuge, and offered for the heads of the rebels their quite in gold. It is said that three thousand men were slain in the streets of Rome or in the proscriptions which followed.
  22. Herodotus (2.16) criticises the threefold division of the Ionian geographers, which is accepted by Strabo, 17.1; Varro (Ling. Lat. 5.3.1) adopts the twofold division.
  23. “The Descent”; it lay between the Cyrenaica and Egypt, and was regarded by Sallust and others as a part of Asia.
  24. That is, there is little rainfall and few lakes or streams.
  25. Not the brother of Adherbal, but a second king of the same name, father of Pompey’s ally Juba.
  26. Cf. VI.1.
  27. That is, outside of the strait connecting the Atlantic with the Mediterranean.
  28. Nomades, “wanderers,” and Numidae, “Numidians,” are identical. The Greek word νομάδες probably came to Africa by way of Sicily.
  29. The western part of the Mediterranean.
  30. The Medes, Armenians and Libyans.
  31. The derivation of Mauri from Medi is of course impossible. The Moors seem to have been of Aethiopian origin.
  32. That is, the Persians and Gaetulians.
  33. The older Numidians (Persians) and Gaetulians near the Ocean and those who had settled near Carthage.
  34. Probably Hippo Diarrhytus, near Utica, rather than Hippo Regius, which was farther to the west.
  35. Lepcis Minor is meant. On the spelling Lepcis (Ah) see Berl. Phil. Woch. 1916, p. 511; also cf. van Buren, Amer. Journal of Archaeology XXXII, p. 398.
  36. To the westward, setting out from the Catabathmos.
  37. Founded in 631 B.C. in obedience to a Delphic oracle by Battus, the first of the famous Battiadae, who ruled for eight generations; see Herodotus 4.150.
  38. Sallust’s brevity makes him unclear. The order is: Greater Syrtis, Philaenae Arae, Leptis Magna, Lesser Syrtis.
  39. Leptis Magna is here referred to, not Leptis Minor, as in XIX.1.
  40. In 146 B.C. See note on XIII.4.
  41. See chap. VIII.1.
  42. Movable sheds with sloping roofs used as a shelter for soldiers working the artillery or trying to undermine the wall.
  43. Pro bono = bene; cf. Suet. Tib. VII; Caes. B. G. 5.7.7, etc.
  44. See XXI.2.
  45. The Sempronian law of Gaius Gracchus provided that two provinces should be assigned to the consuls in advance of the elections, which were later apportioned by agreement or by lot. (Wikisource contributor note)
  46. See XV.4.
  47. A council of war, called to consider the terms of surrender. Such a council commonly consisted of the legati, tribunes, and chief centurions.
  48. That is, all the questions involved were voted on together in a confused and irregular manner. Festus, s.v. satura, says: satura est cibi genus ex variis rebus conditum et lex multis rebus conferta (an “omnibus” bill). He adds: Itaque in sanctione legum adscribitur: neve per saturam abrogato aut derogato: i.e. no existing law is to be abrogated by a vote of that kind.
  49. This payment to the state was apart from the private arrangement with Scaurus and Bestia.
  50. See XXVII.2.
  51. Cicero, however (Brutus, 136), speaks of Memmius and his brother as oratores mediocres.
  52. That is, through their own vices and crimes.
  53. Before a special tribunal formed to try the supporters of Tiberius Gracchus for treason.
  54. See note on XVI.2.
  55. That is, “they ought to feel fear because of their crimes, but you feel it instead because of your cowardice.”
  56. There was only one secession to the Aventine, in 449 B.C. Other secessions were to the Mons Sacer in 494 and to the Janiculum in 287.
  57. “The contrast lies between the recent period of oppression and the chance which is now presented of punishing the guilty rulers” (Capes).
  58. The meaning appears to be that the people would not need to bestow favours in return for protection, or to secure protection in the future, and hence would be more independent.
  59. That is, although Jugurtha had plenty of assurance, he nevertheless took the advice of his friends and did not rely upon his impudence alone, but added the support of Baebius.
  60. The meaning apparently is that they be not allowed the choice of exile. Some have thought that Cato recommended the specific supplicium de more maiorum described in Suetonius, Nero, 49, but there are many reasons for rejecting this view. See Oldfather in Trans. Amer. Phil. Assoc. XXXIX.49 ff. (Wikisource contributor note)
  61. 110 B.C.
  62. See note 45. (Wikisource contributor note)
  63. When the accused was admitted to bail.
  64. For Bomilcar’s appearance.
  65. By using their veto to forbid the holding of elections
  66. Up to Dec. 9, when the elections of tribunes was held.
  67. 109 B.C. The defeat of Aulus probably occurred before January, 109, since Metellus and Silanus are called consules designati after his defeat; see XLIII.1.
  68. That is, any bargain which Aulus made with Jugurtha would be less likely to attract the attention of the senate.
  69. Namely, within the camp because of the panic, and without because of the difficulty of making their escape; the following sentence repeats the idea in a more definite form.
  70. That is, the Romans had to accept the terms or die.
  71. These quaesitores were doubtless to preside over three separate courts, in order to dispose more promptly of the great number of cases.
  72. In spite of what Scaurus could effect.
  73. The number is due to the influence of the other plurals; or gloriae may mean “opportunities for winning glory.” Bernays suggested laureae (loriae) and Bergk adoreae.
  74. The Gracchi were grandsons on their mother’s side of the elder Scipio Africanus; their father had served with distinction in Spain and Sardinia.
  75. That is, a share in their privileges.
  76. The connection of thought is not quite clear. The meaning apparently is that the excesses of the Gracchi did not justify the unconstitutional acts of the nobles.
  77. Sallust’s word-play is on foedus, “treaty,” and foeda fuga, “foul flight.”
  78. For 109 B.C.; see note 67.
  79. But not the war, which was his special charge; he could leave to Silanus the chief responsibility in other matters.
  80. Of Africa; see note 16.
  81. Branches of laurel and olive, indicating that they came to sue for peace.
  82. Mapalia (see chap. XVIII) is here used collectively of a collection of huts; we may compare the various uses of vicus (οἶκος) in Latin.
  83. This title was peculiar to the allied contingent of the Roman army, which was divided into two alae of ten cohorts each; each cohort was made up of men of the same nationality under the command of a native praefectus.
  84. Between their ranks; see Livy 26.4.9, institutum ut velites in legionibus essent. Auctorem peditum equiti immiscendorum centurionem Q. Naevium ferunt.
  85. Text and meaning are somewhat uncertain.
  86. The meaning is not clear. Apparently Metellus counted upon the traders to furnish him with supplies and to protect those which he had ordered to be sent to the town. Capes, however, takes rebus paratis the preparations made by the inhabitants “for a revolt against Jugurtha.”
  87. That is, between the range of hills and the Muthul.
  88. Transverso itinere is taken by some to mean simply “cross-wise”; that is, at right angles to the river and the mountains (mons). Others take it as “across the line of march.”
  89. He made the marching column face to the right (towards the enemy), and placed the cavalry on what were the wings as long as the army faced in that direction; he then wheeled towards the river and continued his march with those who had formed the front rank (of the battle line) sideways to the enemy: i.e., forming the flank of his marching column. In other words, those who had faced the enemy now had them on their right hand.
  90. That is, they would form the van if the army wheeled about to face the Numidians.
  91. Those nearest to the mountain from which Metellus had come.
  92. That is, unaware of the danger; cf. Tacitus, Ann. 2.46, ires vacuas legiones et ducis fraudis ignarum.
  93. Some of these are enumerated in LXXXV.29.
  94. The Romans punished deserters with great severity. They were sometimes crucified or thrown to wild beasts; see Valerius Maximus 2.7.
  95. Victos dare is equivalent to vincere: cf. Livy, 8.6.6, stratas legiones Latinorum dabo.
  96. In this sentence eo is said to be used in the unusual sense of eo loco = ubi; cf. Tac. Ann. 15.74: (decernitur) ut templum Saluti extrueretur eo loci . . . ex quo Scevinus ferrum prompserat, where the addition of loci makes the construction less bold than here. It may, however, be taken (with Summers) as “against that part of the wall.”
  97. This description is an obvious imitation of Thucydides’ account of the Athenians at Syracuse (7.71) watching the naval battle in the harbour.
  98. Of Africa.
  99. See XXXV.4 ff.
  100. More maiorum means ex concili decreto. There was no private arrangement with Jugurtha; cf. XXIX.5.
  101. Cf. LXXXV.1.
  102. Cf. Cat. XXV.4; XXXI.9; Jug. VIII.2.
  103. If is is retained before indignus, we must translate “unworthy of the honour and, as it were, unclean.”
  104. The earliest age at which the consulship could legally be held was forty-three; Marius was forty-nine.
  105. In this way young nobles commonly gained their first military experience; cf. Suetonius, Jul. 2: stipendia prima in Asia (Caesar) fecit M. Thermi praetoris contubernio.
  106. They inherited only in the case of the disability of the heirs in the first degree (primi heredes).
  107. Their support was a high compliment to Marius because it was the result, not of bribery, but of his merits.
  108. See chap. XL.
  109. His title may refer to the command of the city garrison; but it is also possible that he was the Latin praefectus cohortis (see note 83). Plutarch (Marius, 8) says that he was praefectus fabrum.
  110. From the armed force, on the one hand, between them and the citadel, and, on the other, the women and boys on the housetops.
  111. Neither of these punishments might be inflicted upon a Roman citizen; to put Roman citizens to death was a violation of the Porcian and other laws. According to Plutarch (Marius, 8) Turpilius was innocent, but was condemned through the efforts of Marius.
  112. That is, he kept it moving about between the various points where the Romans were encamped for the winter.
  113. converteret means “allow to turn.”
  114. Referring to the tribunes of the commons; see XXXVIII.1.
  115. The meaning seems to be that a large establishment was kept there for the maintenance of the royal children in a manner befitting their station.
  116. By the neighbouring people; see LXXV.5 above.
  117. That is, they had done more than was required, they had strained their services.
  118. Sallust’s brevity makes his meaning obscure. The safety of the Lepcitani would be jeopardized, and the Romans would run the risk of losing the Lepcitani as allies, owing to the intrigues of Hamilcar.
  119. That is, close to the Egyptian frontier. Sallust seems to have confused Leptis Minor with the later city of Leptis Magna.
  120. That is, according to the wind and weather.
  121. From the Greek σύρω, to sweep.
  122. Nuda gignentium, “bare of vegetation.” Gignentium is the n. pl. used as a substantive with an active sense (“growing things”). It is gen. with nuda in place of the usual abl. Cf. frugum vacuos, XC.1.
  123. That is to say, who reverse the natural order of events or things.
  124. Sallust’s brevity again make his meaning obscure. With gerere and fieri we must supply magistratum, meaning “office” with the former and “official” with the latter. Re atque usu, “in actual practice,” is contrasted with tempore. Election to an office precedes the administration of the office, but the training which fits one to administer an office well comes before election.
  125. That is, to a consciousness of my unworthiness for the office.
  126. Common military prizes were the hasta pura, or unused spear, and phalerae, ornamented discs of metal, which could be attached to a belt or a horse’s harness.
  127. Cf. Suetonius, I.4.
  128. “He feels it an injury to his own character even to have to speak of their offences.” Summers.
  129. That is, the classes said to have been established by Servius Tullius, based upon property qualifications. See Livy I.43.
  130. The capite censi were those below the lowest Servian class, without property and exempt from military service. They were entered on the censor’s list only as regarded their persons (caput).
  131. Cf. LVI.2.
  132. That is, his troops threw away their arms and fled in disorder.
  133. Quae, referring to Africa, is used for the people; cf. the use of civitas in chap. LV.
  134. Summers translates modesto imperio “strictly,” comparing VII.4. The two passages, however, are not parallel, since modesto is used of the commander, modestissume of the subordinate.
  135. On which the fortress was situated.
  136. The reading and the sense are uncertain; see the critical notes. It is obvious from the account that a certain number of soldiers accompanied the centurions.
  137. Namely, the time which he had arranged with Marius.
  138. In this formation the soldiers held their shields above their heads in such a way that they overlapped and made a continuous covering.
  139. A younger contemporary of Sulla and an adherent of the aristocratic party. He wrote a history in at least twenty-three books, from the beginning of the Social War to the end of the Civil War of Marius and Sulla, preceded by a brief sketch of the early history of Rome.
  140. Cf. Tac. Ann. 1.69.2; Sall. Hist. 3.91 Maur., ingens virium atque animi (of Mithridates).
  141. Cf. Ovid, Met. 3.319, agitasse iocos. Ioca atque seria is formulaic; see Cic. Fin. 2.26.85, quicum ioca seria, ut dicitur.
  142. Cf. Livy 7.35.1: ubi secundae vigiliae bucina datum signum esset. . . .
  143. When contrasted with the legions, as here, “cohort” refers to the auxiliary troops.
  144. That is, with the baggage in the centre, surrounded by the heavy-armed troops, and with front, rear, and flanks protected by cavalry and light-armed soldiers.
  145. Cf. Ter. Adelph. 69:

    Malo coactus qui suom officium facit,
    dum id rescitum iri credit, tantisper pavet.

  146. The meaning and the text are uncertain; see the critical note.
  147. Cf. Caes. Bell. Civ. 1.7.7; hortatur cuius imperatoris ductu VIII annis rem publicam felicissime gesserint . . . ut eius existimationem ab inimicis defendant.
  148. That is, Jugurtha secretly left the van, where he was leading his cavalry against Marius, and went back to the rear where Bocchus and his infantry were attacking the Romans from behind.
  149. Some take pedite as collective, but satis impigre seems to be sarcastic.
  150. They had been summoned to hear the king’s proposal, not to speak.
  151. That is, “our alliance will be as powerful as if we were nearer neighbours.”
  152. Returning to the plans mentioned in CII.2.
  153. Their appearance belied the assertion that they were envoys of the king.
  154. Apparently waiting for Marius to return.
  155. Cf. Xen. Cyrop. 3.3.45.
  156. Except by receiving Jugurtha’s envoy and pretending friendship with the king. Text and meaning are somewhat uncertain.
  157. He is willing to put up with the loss of his former independence for the sake of Sulla’s friendship.
  158. Sulla.
  159. In 105 B.C. Really by the Cimbri, a Germanic tribe.
  160. January 1st, 105 B.C.
  161. Jugurtha was taken to Rome, where, after being led with his two sons before Marius’s chariot in the triumphal procession, he was starved to death, or, according to some, strangled, in the Tullianum.

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