Jugurthine War (111-104 BC)

Jugurthine War (111-104 BC)

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Jugurthine War (111-104 BC)

The Jugurthine War (111-104 BC) was a prolonged struggle between Rome and her former ally of Numidia that played a part in the rise of Marius and eventually ended with a Roman victory.

Numidia had taken advantage of the defeat of Carthage in the Second Punic War to expand into Carthaginian territory, and was further rewarded after the destruction of Carthage in the Third Punic War. However there were always tensions in the relationship. King Masinissa, the founder of the Numidian kingdom, had hoped to be allowed to conquer Carthage himself, and provoked Carthage into declaring war, a breach of the terms of their treaty with Rome. Instead of supporting Masinissa, the Romans decided to declare war themselves, and after the defeat of Carthage took the remaining Punic lands and formed the first Roman Province of Africa. Masinissa died in 148 BC, during the Third Punic War, and the alliance thus survived his annoyance.

Masinissa was succeeded by his three sons (Micipsa, Gulussa, and Mastarnable), each of whom was given a different role within a single kingdom on the advice of Scipio Aemilianus, the victorious Roman commander of the Third Punic War. His oldest son, Micipsa, was given the capital of Cirta and the treasury, while his brothers had control of the military and of justice. However both of his brothers soon died, leaving Micipsa as the sole monarch.

Mastarnable's son Jugurtha survived, and was raised at Micipsa's court. In 134-133 Jugurtha commanded a force of Numidian cavalry that served under Scipio Aemilianus in the final stages of the Numantine War in Spain. Scipio praised Jugurtha's contribution, and Micipsa adopted him and made him his co-heir (probably only three years before his death).

Micipsa died in 118 BC, leaving his kingdom to his sons Hiempsal and Adherbal, and his adopted son Jugurtha. Jugurtha soon had Hiempsal murdered (after he chose to stay with one of Jugurtha's supporters), and forced Adherbal to flee, first into the Roman province of Africa and then to Rome. He appealed to the Romans for support, and in 116 BC a senatorial commission split the kingdom in two. Jugurtha was given the western part of the kingdom, while Adherbal got the more developed eastern part, which included the capital at Cirta (modern Constantine), and the areas taken from Carthage.

This settlement didn't last for long. Jugurtha invaded eastern Numidia and besieged Adherbal in Cirta (112 BC). The Romans attempted twice to intervene diplomatically without success, and eventually Adherbal was forced to surrender by his Italian supporters. At this point Jugurtha made war inevitable by killing Adherbal and the Italians.

Phase One: Jugurtha attempts to submit

Even after the fall of Cirta, Sallust reports that Jugurtha's supporters in the Senate attempted to drag out the Senate debate so long that the anger against him would fade, but Caius Memmius, one of the tribunes of the plebs, turned the people of Rome against Jugurtha. As a result the Senate felt forced to declare war. This took place late in 112 BC, but before the election of the consuls for 111 BC, as Numidia and Italy were set as the two consular provinces for that year. Publius Scipio Nasica and Lucius Bestia Calpurnius won the lections and Bestia was given Numidia as his province. Jugurtha sent his son to Rome to try and bribe the senate to end the war. On this occasion the Senate refused to let the deputation enter the city unless they came to surrender, and ordered them to leave Italy within ten days if not. The Numidians thus returned home.

Bestia raised an army in Italy, and took it to Sicily and then to the Roman province of Africa, before invading Numidia. He captured several towns, but Jugurtha wisely avoiding fighting, as he clearly still hoped to win peace. He opened negotations with Bestia, and quickly submitted. He was allowed to keep his kingdom in return for a small tribute (thirty elephants, a large number of cattle and horses and a small financial payment). Roman politics now intervened. Bestia was accused of accepting bribes by Caius Memmius, and Jugurtha was summoned to Rome to testify against him. Jugurtha accepeted the offer of safe conduct, and travelled to Rome. One of the tribunes of the plebs vetoed his testimony in front of the popular assembly, a move that a few years later, as Roman political life got increasingly violent, would probably have seem him lynched.

While he was in Rome Jugurtha ordered the murder of Massiva, the son of Micipsa's other brother Gulussa. Unsuprisingly this ended any chance of a peaceful end to the war, but Jugurtha was allowed to return home, having been guarunteed his safety before coming. As he left the city, Sallust has Jugurtha say that 'it was a venal city, and would soon perish, if it could but find a purchaser', although this has more to do with Sallust's knowledge of the decline and fall of the Republic, which would be just about complete by his time, than with the realities of 111 BC.

Phase Two: Spurius Postumius Albinus

The command for 110 BC went to the consul Spurius Postumius Albinus. He had been allocated Numidia in 111 BC, and Sallust suggests that he helped overthrow Bestia's peace deal so he could take up his command. If so he didn't achieve much during his time in Africa. Jugurtha realised that Albinus needed a quick victory, before he would have to return to Rome to hold the elections for 110 BC, and managed to prolong the war until Albinus had to return home to conduct the elections for 109 BC. During this period Jugurtha retreated whenever the Romans advanced, carried out counterattacks, and entered into false negotiations, even promising to surrender at one point.

Albinus's time eventually ran out, and he returned to Rome, leaving his brother Aulus Postumius Albinus as his propraetor in Numidia. In January 109 BC Aulus decided to attack Jugurtha's treasury at Suthul. He besieged the city, but was then lured into an ambush by Jugurtha, who had finally decided to risk attacking the main Roman army. Aulus's army was attacked in its camp, and forced to flee in chaos. Aulus was forced to agree that his men should pass under the yoke, and leave Numidia within ten days. Unsurprisingly the Senate repudiated this agreement, while Spurius dashed back to Africa to try and restore the family name. However he found the army in very poor condition, and realised that there was nothing he could do.

Phase Three: Q. Caecilius Metellus

By this point the elections for 109 BC had finally taken place, and the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus (later known as Metellus Numidicus) had been given the Numidian command. He raised a sizable new army in Italy, and then moved to Africa, taking Gaius Marius with him as his legate. Metellus had to spend some time restoring the morale and discipline of the army already in Africa, but his reputation began to worry Jugurtha. He attempted to open peace talks, but Metellus was either not interested or didn’t trust him. He attempted to subvert Jugurtha's envoys, while at the same time pretending to consider his peace terms. However he then launched an invasion of eastern Numidia, capturing the trading city of Vaga.

Jugurtha finally realised that he would have to fight. He attempted to ambush Metellus as he advanced towards the Muthul River (109 BC), taking advantage of a low ridge that ran parallel to Metellus's route to the river, but despite some initial successes the attack failied, and Jugurtha was forced to retreat.

Metellus then carried out a distructive raid across the most prosperous parts of Numidia, but was unable to force Jugurtha to risk another battle. In order to break the deadlock, Metellus decided to besiege Zama (109 BC), in the hope that this would force Jugurtha to fight. In this he was correct, but not in the way he had hoped. While Metellus attacked Zama, Jugurtha carried out two attacks on the Roman camp, on both occasions coming close to victory. Even these failures helped undermine the Roman siege, and Metellus eventually decided to withdraw and go into winter quarters.

Over the winter of 109-108 Metellus attempted to defeat Jugurtha through treachery. He attempted to win over Bomilcar, the man who had murdered Massive at Rome, and who thus had much to fear if he ever fell into Roman hands. Bomilcar was promised a full parden if he delivered Jugurtha alive or dead, and agreed to work with the Romans.

Bomilcar's first attempt to earn his pardon saw him attempt to convince Jugurtha to surrender. Negotations actually got underway, and Jugurtha went as far as surrendered his elephants, 200,000lb weight of silver, a portion of his horses and arms and handing over Roman deserters. It was only when Metellas ordered Jugurtha to appear in front of him in person that he changed his mind, and decided to fight on.

Over the same winter the Senate voted to extend Metellus's command in Numidia into 108 BC, but at the same time Marius began to believe that he should be allowed to stand for election as one of the consuls of 107 BC, with the aim of replacing Metellus in Numidia if the war was still going on. At this point Metellus refused to give Marius permission to leave for Rome, triggering a feud that would soon undermine the relationship between the two men.

Jugurtha's next plan was to try and regain control of the towns that had gone over to the Romans. He met with success at Vaga, where the locals massacred all but one of the Roman garrison. The Roman governor, Titus Turpilius Silanus, was the only man to escape, but he was later put on trial and executed. Metellus quickly regained control of the city, but the execution of Turpilius exacerbated the fued with Marius.

Bomilcar's treachery now reached a new level. He found a potential accomplisse in Nabdalsa, a nobleman with an independent military command who appears to have served as Jugurtha's deputy. The two men agreed to overthrown the king, but on the agreed day Nabdalsa lost his nerve and failed to appear. Bomilcar sent a letter to Nabdalsa attacking him for his irresolution and assuring him that Jugurtha would soon fall. Almost inevitably this letter fell into the wrong hands. Nabdalsa realised he was in trouble, and decided to go to Jugurtha himself to claim that he had been about to inform the king himself. Jugurtha had Bomilcar executed, and officially forgave Nabdalsa.

According to Sallust, soon afterwards Metellus finally let Marius return to Rome to stand as one of the consuls for 107 BC. Plutarch has this happened only twelve day before the elections, which were probably held in or around July 108 BC. Marius got back to the city just in time, and campaigned on a populist agenda, attacking Metellus and his predecessors for their noble birth and failure to defeat Jugurtha. He was duly elected as one of the consuls for 107 BC. The Senate voted to extend Metellus's command in Numidia, in an attempt to frustrate Marius. With the support of Manilius Mancinus, one of the tribunes of the plebs, Marius took the issue to a full assembly of the Roman people, and had the command transferred to him. On this occasion this gamble succeeded, but it also set a dangerous precedence. Later in life Marius used the same ploy to take the command against Mithridates from his rival Sulla, but Sulla refused to accept the change, convinced his army to support him against Marius and marched on Rome (Sulla's First Civil War).

While Marius was engaged in politics back in Rome, Metellus still had a year to try and end the war. Jugurtha had been unnerved by Bomilcar's and Nabdalsa's treachery, and couldn't decide what to do next. According to Sallust this gave Metellus the chance to force him to accept battle, appearing suddenly before Jugurtha could escape. This 'second Metellan battle', at an unnamed location, ended as a Roman victory, although most of the Numidians managed to escape. Jugurtha retreated to the city of Thala, a weathly city in dry country. Much to his surprise Metellus followed him across the desert and prepared to besiege the city. Jugurtha managed to escape, with his children and part of his treasure. The city held out for forty days, but once the town had fallen the defenders retreated to the royal palace which they set on fire, committing suicide rather than fall into Roman hands.

In the aftermath of this defeat, Jugurtha was running out of Numidian supporters. He fled south into the lands of the Gaetulians, described by Sallust as 'a people savage and uncivilized, and, at that period, unacquainted even with the name of Rome'. He recruited a large force of Gaetulians, and then spent some time training them. He also attempted to win over King Bocchus of the Mauri, whose kingdom was in the north-western corner of Africa. Bocchus had offered his friendship to Rome at the outbreak of the war, but had been rejected, and was now willing to side with Jugurtha (who was also married to one of his daughters).

At some point during the year the city of Cirta had fallen to the Romans, and Metellus was now using it as a supply base, where he had his plunder, prisoners and baggage. The two kings decided to try and recapture the city. Metellus decided to fortify a camp close to Cirta and await the approach of the kings. Just at this moment the news of Marius's election as Consul and appointment to the Numidian campaign reached Metellus, who lost interest in continuing with the fighting. Instead he opened negotiations with Bocchus, and appears to have been able to prolong these for the rest of the campaigning season of 108 BC.

Metellus had achieved a great deal in Numidia. He had defeated Jugurtha in two field battles, captured many of his cities, and at least temporarily captured the eastern part of the kingdom. However he had failed to capture Jugurtha himself, and by the end of his time in command was faced with an alliance between Jugurtha, with his army of Gaetulians and Bocchus. On his return to Rome he was given a triumph and the name 'Numidicus',

Phase Four: Marius

Marius spent some time raising a fresh army in Rome. He recruited from the normal sources of soldiers, but most famously also allowed members of the 'head count', the sixth, or lowest, of the classes of Roman citizens. This was probably seen as a temporary measure in 107 BC, but Marius had to repeat the exercise to deal with the crisis caused by the Cimbri and the Teutones (Cimbric War).

He crossed over to Africa on the traditional route into the Roman province, landing at Utica. Metellus refused to meet with him, and command of the existing army was handed over by Publius Rutilius Rufus. Marius then chose to attack a prosperous but poorly defended part of Numidia, to give his new troops some experience. He attacked a series of poorly defended towns and fortresses and managed to fight a number of small scale engagements. Sallust reports that the two kings split up and retreated into inaccessible areas on different routes, following a plan suggested by Jugurtha, but Bocchus was also in touch with the Romans during this period, and seems to have been unwilling to risk an actual clash with them.

Marius's inexperienced recruits thus gained confidence. He also attempted to win over the Numidians by protecting them from Jugurtha's raids. He also came close to capturing Jugurtha near Cirta, forcing him to flee without his arms. However this didn't bring the war any closer to an end, so Marius decided to methodically capture all of the strongholds still held by Jugurtha, in the hope that this would force Jugurtha to risk another battle. When this failed to happen, Marius decided to attack Capsa, in the south-east of the kingdom, another city similar to Thala, protected by its location in the middle of a desert, and considered to be very loyal to the king. After crossing the desert that protected the city in three night marches, Marius caught the defenders by surprise, captured and destroyed the city. The inhabitants were either killed or sold into slavery.

Marius then advanced across Numidia, attacking those cities still loyal to Jugurtha. Most were abandoned before Marius even arrived, and then burnt. A few put up some resistance, but were quickly overwhelmed. By 106 BC this bought Marius to the western edge of the kingdom, marked by the River Muluccha. Jugurtha had a fort on a steep sided rock just to the east of the river, but this fell to Marius after one of his men found a way up the hill on the opposite side to the main fighting.

Although this siege took place almost on the edge of Bocchus's kingdom, he failed to intervene. So far he had proved to be a rather disappointing ally for Jugurtha, but the Numidian king had very few options. In an attempt to gain more active support he offered Jugurtha one third of Numidia if the war ended with the Romans expelled from Africa, or without Jugurtha losing any territory.

This agreement finally convinced Bocchus to make a real contribution to the war effort, and his efforts almost resulted in a disaster for the Romans. Marius was withdrawing east towards his winter quarters, and clearly wasn't expected to be attacked. He was thus caught out when the combined armies of Bocchus and Jugurtha attacked him close to Cirta (first battle of Cirta). We have two very different accounts of this battle, from Sallust and Orosius, but in both cases the Romans were caught out, were in real danger of defeat, and were saved largely by luck. In Sallust the Romans had to take refuge on a hill overnight, and managed to catch their enemies napping with a dawn attack. In Orosius they were in the middle of a desperate last stand when heavy rain saved them. Marius was able to resume his march into winter quarters, but Bocchus and Jugurtha attacked again (second battle of Cirta). Once again they came close to victory before being defeated when Sulla's cavalry returned to the field after an early success.

Marius was finally able to get into his winter quarters, but he didn't remain there for long. He decided to besiege a fortress that was garrisioned by Roman deserters. At the same time Bocchus had decided to change sides, seeing it as his best chance of saving his own crown. His envoys reached Sulla, who had been left with the main army, before meeting with Marius and a council made of Sulla and every senator to be found in the province. Bocchus was granted a truce and permission to sent ambassadors to Rome to ask for a treaty of friendship and alliance. The Senate strongly hinted that the only way for Bocchus to gain that alliance would be to hand over Jugurtha.

Bocchus agreed to go along with this, and asked Marius to send his deputy Sulla to help with the plot. Sulla was sent with a small escort. Five days after leaving the main camp Bocchus's son Volux appeared at the head of 1,000 cavalry, causing a brief scare in Sulla's party. Volux claimed he had been sent to escort Sulla to his father, and joined Sulla's column. That night he reported that his scouts had found Jugurtha nearby, and urged Sulla to flee with him into the night. Sulla refused, but did agree to make a night march. At dawn, just as Sulla's men were camping, Volux's cavalry reported that Jugurtha was only two miles away. Unsuprisingly many of Sulla's men assumed that they had been betrayed by Volux, but he managed to convince Sulla that he was innocent, and suggested that Sulla's force should march directly through the middle of Jugurtha's camp, trusting in Volux's presence to keep them safe. This ploy worked, suggesting that Jugurtha had accepted some sort of truce at this stage. According to Sallust, at this point Bocchus hadn't quite decided which side to support, but he was eventually convinced by Sulla to betray Jugurtha. The betrayal was to be disguised as peace talks, with Jugurtha to be captured during the talks. On his part Jugurtha agreed to the peace talks, but suggested that Sulla should be taken hostage, presumably with the aim of keeping the Romans honest. When the meeting finally took place, Bocchus sided with the Romans. His men ambushed Jugurtha's party, killed everyone apart from the king, and delivered him to Sulla.


Jugurtha was taken back to Rome, where he took part in Marius's triumph on 1 January 104 BC. After the triumph he was either starved to death or strangled in his cell.

The new settlement of Africa was surprisingly moderate. The Romans didn't take any new territory for themselves. Bocchus kept his original kingdom, and was given the western third of Numidia, as originally promised by Jugurtha. Jugurtha's half brother Gauda became the new king of Numidia. Rome had extended her more informal influence in the area, and could see both Numidia and Mauretania as client kingdoms.

Marius had already been appointed as one of the consuls for 104 BC, after the Romans suffered a heavy defeat at the battle of Arausio (Cimbric War). This would be the first of five consecutive years as Consul for Marius, who thus came to dominate the Roman state. During this period he won his most famous victories, Aquae Sextiae in 102 BC and the Raudian Plains in 101 BC.

The victory over Jugurtha is said to have been the start of the feud between Sulla and Marius that would end with Sulla's First Civil War and the beginning of the end for the Roman Republic. Marius's opponents in Rome claimed that Metellus had won the war and Sulla captured the king, leaving no credit for Marius. Sulla had a seal-ring made showing the Bocchus surrendering Jugurtha to him, which he used all the time. In the 90s Bocchus helped fan the feud by paying for a a group of statues showing the same scene to be erected on the Capital in Rome. However Sulla and Marius were able to work together successfully for most of the Cumbric Wars, and the worst of their feud probably developed late in that war or afterwards. It finally came out fully into the open at the start of the 80s BC, when both men wanted the command against Mithridates of Pontus. Sulla was given the command, but once again Marius manipulated the political system at Rome to take the command. Unlike Metellus, Sulla wasn't ready to accept the change, and he took the drastic step of leading his army against Rome to regain the command (Sulla's First Civil War, 88-87 BC). This was the first time Roman troops had been led against their own city since the possibly legendary Coriolanus 400 years earlier, and it marked the start of the prolonged series of civil wars that would end with the collapse of the Republic.

Jugurthine War

After the Second Punic War, Rome awarded their ally Masinissa, king of the Massyliis of Eastern Numidia, with the territory historically belonging to the Masaesyli of Western Numidia. As a client kingdom of Rome, Numidia thus surrounded Carthage on all sides, a circumstance which proved instrumental in provoking the Third (and final) Punic War. Masinissa died in 118, leaving his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal to contend with their cousin Jugurtha, illegitimate by birth but lately acknowledged by Masinissa and possessed of both military skill and boundless ambition.

Out of Africa

According to African studies scholars Harvey Feinberg and Joseph B. Solodow, the proverb, “Out of Africa, something new,” dates at least to Aristotle and was current in ancient Rome, where “new” meant something dangerous or undesirable. As A. J. Woodman points out, Jugurtha seemed to fit this stereotype perfectly. His first act after the death of his uncle Masinissa was to assassinate Hiempsal, who had insulted him on account of Jugurtha’s illegitimate birth.

In the history of the war prepared by Gaius Sallustius Crispis (Sallust) in the late 40s bc (where most of our information about the war comes from), Jugurtha appears ruthless and warlike, attracting the most aggressive followers so that, even though Adherbal had “the larger party,” Jugurtha had little trouble conquering or convincing one city after another. After one bad defeat on the battlefield, Adherbal fled to Rome, where he pleaded his case as the rightful king of a client country.

A City for Sale

Unquestionably, Adherbal held the better legal position, but in the Late Republic money spoke loudly, and Jugurtha-who dismissed Rome derisively as “a city for sale”-bribed his way forward until a Roman commission divided Numidia into halves, awarding Jugurtha the west and Adherbal the east. Sallust explains that while the east had the appearance of higher prosperity, thanks to an “abundance of harbors and public buildings,” in fact the west had the better value owing to its richer soil and greater population. Jugurtha gathered from this outcome that money could gain forgiveness for any aggressive action, and Rome’s commission had hardly left Africa before he began ravaging Adherbal’s territory. He finally trapped Adherbal in his capital at Cirta, though not before Adherbal had sent a message to Rome, pleading for aid to save his city, Adherbal surrendered to Jugurtha, who killed him. In this instance, Jugurtha’s actions had far surpassed the power of bribery, and Jugurtha was surprised to discover that Rome had launched an army. For two years (112-110 bc), minor skirmishes ended mostly in Jugurtha’s favor, but the Numidian violated a truce established in 110 and set out to eradicate Rome’s presence in Numidia altogether. In 108 bc, a Roman army, commanded by Caecilius Metellus, drove Jugurtha into the borderlands after the Battle of the Muthul, but the wily and warlike Jugurtha harried them in a grueling guerilla war. Finally, in 106 bc, under the new commander Gaius Marius and his lieutenant Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Romans ran Jugurtha to ground. The conclusion of the Jugurthine War firmly established Rome’s position in Northern Africa but more than that, it played a major role in the fall of the Republic. Marius’s reorganization of the army resulted in the establishment of a permanent, powerful army, loyal primarily to its commanders: this would contribute a great deal to the rise of Julius Caesar (Marius’s nephew) and the military expansion of the empire.

Marius’ Mules

Gaius Marius, who held an unprecedented series of consulships during the last decade of the second century BC, and who defeated first the Numidian kinglet Jugurtha and later the much more serious threat to Italy from migrating Celtic tribes, has often been credited with taking the decisive steps which converted the Roman army formally into the long service professional force of which the state stood much in need. As will become apparent, this is a considerable over-estimate of the scope-and results-of his work. Marius’ background is an important factor in ancient and modern judgements on his career, so that a brief description seems worthwhile. Marius was born in 157 at Arpinum, a hilltown of Volscian origin (now Arpino), stunningly positioned on the end of a narrow ridge in the western foothills of the Apennines, some 50 miles south-east of Rome. Though his enemies claimed that he was of low birth-the `Arpinum ploughman’ in one account-he almost certainly belonged to one of the town’s leading families. Marius first saw military service, probably as an eques serving with a legion, at Numantia, and is supposed to have attracted the attention of Scipio Aemilianus. Later he was a military tribune, and afterwards became the first member of his family to reach the Senate. A marriage in about 111 allied him with the patrician, but lately undistinguished, family of the Julii Caesares, which must mark his acceptance into the ruling circle at Rome.

Outside Italy attention turned to Africa, where the successors of the long-lived Masinissa, king of Numidia (who had fought as an ally of Scipio at Zama), contended after his death for supremacy. Jugurtha, a cousin of the leading claimants, outmanoeuvred his rivals as Rome looked on, but made the mistake in 112 of allowing the killing of some Italian traders. The Senate was forced to intervene: what had seemed at first a minor local difficulty now developed into full-scale warfare which a succession of Roman commanders were unable to control or were bribed to countenance. The catalogue of shame culminated in a total surrender of a Roman army, which was compelled to pass beneath the yoke, and withdraw within the formal bounds of the Roman province. The command now fell to one of the consuls of 109, Q. Caecilius Metellus, scion of one of the most prestigious families of the age, men whose honorific surnames (Delmaticus, Macedonicus, Balearicus), served as an index of Roman expansion during the second century. Additional troops were enrolled, and among experienced officers added to Metellus’ staff were Gaius Marius (a sometime protégé of the Metelli) and P. Rutilius Rufus who had served as a military tribune at Numantia, and who was to gain some reputation as a military theorist and author. Metellus’ first task was the stiffening of morale, and he undertook a course of sharp training on the Scipionic model. Finding the slippery Jugurtha no easy conquest, he attacked the problem in workmanlike manner, by establishing fortified strongholds throughout eastern Numidia and nibbling at the centres of the King’s support. But public opinion at Rome demanded quicker results. Marius himself, returning from Numidia, was elected consul for 107 after a lightning campaign, and was clearly expected to make short work of the troublesome Jugurtha. A speech by Marius, on the morrow of the elections, as reported by the historian Sallust, emphasised his `professionalism’ in contrast with his predecessors in command. In order to increase his forces, Marius called for volunteers from the capite censi, i. e. those assessed in the census by a head-count, and who, lacking any property, were normally excluded from service under the old Servian Constitution. 1 It is difficult to assess the total numbers of capite censi in the citizen body by the later second century, but they seem likely to have formed a substantial group. Marius also persuaded many time-served veterans to join him.

Transporting his forces to Africa, Marius made gradual progress, but found the same difficulty as Metellus in pinning down Jugurtha. At last, with newly arrived cavalry increasing his mobility, and Jugurtha more and more hemmed in by Roman garrisons across the country, the war was brought to a conclusion in 105, when Jugurtha was betrayed to the quaestor L. Cornelius Sulla. Transported to Rome, he was eventually paraded at Marius’ well-deserved Triumph in 104.

Jugurthine War (111-104 BC) - History

Rome fought Jugurtha , the king of Numidia, who was sick and tired of Roman rule.

Jugurtha had become king in 118 BC. He rebelled against Rome and fought for freedom for his North African kingdom.

One of the soldiers involved in the Jugurthine War was the Roman general and consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus .

He was fairly successful but not ultimately so. A new consul, Gaius Marius , arrived in 107 BC and under his command and with the help of Bochhus I of Mauretania , King Jugurtha was captured, brought to Rome, and executed.

Roman historian Gaius Sallustius Crispus, aka Sallust , wrote a piece on this war, his second monograph, Bellum Jugurthinum, written around 41-40 BC, and meaning translated The Jugurthine War.

Thus, Numidia was conquered and made a Roman province.

The Jugurthine War

After the destruction of Carthage, the most important kingdom in Africa was Numidia. It contained a number of flourishing towns which were centers of a considerable commerce. Masinissa, the loyal Roman ally from the Punic Wars, left this kingdom to his son Micipsa. The latter had two sons and a nephew, Jugurtha. Jugurtha was a brilliant and ambitious young man, who had served under Scipio in the Spanish Numantine war, and returned to Africa steeped in honors. Gaining a deep knowledge of Roman military tactics and, due to his legionary service, a large number of friendly contacts within Rome and her Senate, Jugurtha was in a prime position to obtain power. He was named joint heir with his cousins to the kingdom of Numidia. Micipsa died soon after and Jugurtha took matters into his own hands, murdering one of his rival cousins, Hiempsal. He then claimed the whole kingdom of Numidia and launched an attack on his other cousin, Adherbal, who immediately appealed to Rome for help.

Commissioners from Rome were sent to investigate, but Jugurtha cleverly used his influence with various Roman families, and large bribes, to secure support for his position. The envoys returned home without accomplishing anything aside from a loose division of Numidia into two kingdoms between Jugurtha and Adherbal. Jugurtha, however, pressed his advantage and moved against Adherbal anyway. A new delegation was sent to stop the attack but Jugurtha ignored it, and besieged Adherbal in his capital, Cirta. Unfortunately for Jugurtha, Adherbal was heavily reliant on Italian residents of the African nation as the main part of his defense and attacks causing harm to Romans and their allies would surely come to be noticed in Rome. Another senatorial commission, headed by M. Aemilius Scaurus, summoned Jugurtha to stop the attack but once again he pressed on. In 112 BC Adherbal was eventually forced to surrender and he was savagely tortured to death. To make matters worse, Jugurtha not only defied Rome with his attack in the first place, but he put the surviving Italian defenders to the sword.

Due to Jugurtha's wide-spread political contacts and bribery, Rome was still slow to react. After much consternation war was finally declared and L. Calpurnius Bestia, along with M. Aemilius Scaurus, led an army into Africa. Peace was quickly reached however, with little damage to Jugurtha, and new allegations of scandal and bribery echoed throughout Rome. One Tribune of the Plebs, Memmius, led the assault on those who may have been pocketing Numidian gold. He passed a law ordering one of the praetors to bring Jugurtha directly to Rome to be interviewed, under a safe-conduct provision. Jugurtha safe in his position certainly in part due to pre-arranged political maneuvering he agreed to be brought before the Senate. When he arrived however, in essence to reveal those whom he had bribed another tribune vetoed the entire arrangement, rendering Jugurtha free to go without the necessity to finger the men in his political pockets. Clearly buoyed by the Roman political stalement and feeling invulnerable to the corrupt Roman courts, Jugurtha arranged an assassination attempt on another cousin before returning to Africa. However, the assassins were caught and Jugurtha's involvement uncovered, further soiling his reputation, but Jugurtha had long since arrived in his own country.

Rome reacted quickly this time and declared war once again. In 110 BC, Sp. Postumius Albinus led the attack, but was forced to leave his brother Aulus in command, while he attended to personal matters. Aulus, while laying siege to a Numidian town, was completely surprised and surrounded by Jugurthine forces. Apprantly targets of more bribery, the Romans were forced to surrender and agreed to leave Numidia within ten days. Back in Rome, the reaction was violent. Cries of scandal, bribery and incompetence were running rampant. Roman armies were losing to a petty client King without even shedding blood, while the commanders were coming home defeated but rich. The common people, still angry with the Senate for its treatment of the Gracchi, were outraged by this complete lack of Senatorial capability. To top matters off, the Germanic Cimbri and Teutones were on the move in Illyria and Southern Gaul running rampant over the Roman Legions in their way.

In 109 BC, the Senate turned to an old line family of much prestige. The nephew of Metellus Macedonicus, conquerer of Macedonia, was sent to take the war to Jugurtha. Quintus Caecilius Metellus, was a better general and less corruptible Roman than his predecessors, but after 2 years in the field did little but to gain some minor victories. Metellus' chief subordinate, Gaius Marius, a new man from Arpinum, was a brilliant and able young soldier. Frustrated by lack of success under the command of Metellus, Marius decided to run for the consulship himself. A Plebeian hadn't been elected to the consulship in well over a century, but the people were angry with the Senate and looked to a new man to change the course of events. Running on a platform of opposition to 'optimate' corruption and failures, and despite many objections from the aristocrats, Marius was elected to the first of seven total consulships, in 107 BC.

With the election of Marius, Metellus was recalled, and given the honor of a triumph by the Senate (a completely political motivated event). Additionally, despite his complete lack of success, he was awarded the agnomen of Numidicus for 'conquering' Numidia. Marius free of the incompetence of his predecessor then set to work reorganizing and training his army. With losses to the Germanic tribes in Gaul and Illyria, Marius was forced to enlist volunteers from among the head count of Rome. He forever altered the political and military landscape, and paved the way for a professional, non land-owning army, in which the urban poor would have opportunities within the army. Additionalyl men of higher social rank but little wealth took the opportunity to join with Marius as well. One of these men, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, would prove to be Marius' greatest rival in later years, and one of the most famous names of the Late Republic.

In less than 2 years, with near constant victories over a widely spread territory, Marius soon conquered all of the Numidian strongholds. Bocchus, King of Mauretania, and ally of Jugurtha, was growing ever more concerned over the impending approach of Marius and his army. Learning that the Romans were willing to negotiate to end the war, Sulla was sent to treat with the King. A plot was hatched whereby Bocchus would betray his ally, Jugurtha, to the Romans in exchange for peaceful coexistence. Jugurtha was captured and handed over to Sulla, according to plan, who then took his captive to Marius. In 105 BC, the war was over and Marius was honored as victor due to his command, despite claims by Sulla to have been responsible for the capture. This event would mark the beginning of a long-standing rivalry between the two men that would end in violence and murder, many years later. Jugurtha, meanwhile, was sent to Rome to await his death during Marius' triumph. This triumph would be long delayed, however, as the Consul would be forced to save Rome from the serious threat of Germanic Cimbri and Teuton invasion.


The consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus was sent to North Africa to defeat Jugurtha. For his efforts Metellus was later given the title "Numidicus." Quintus Caecilius Metellus was honest and able as a commander but was buying time in order to maximize his glory when he did actually defeat them. His successful war plan was to destroy Jugurtha's supply lines and this forced Jugurtha to guerilla tactics. An internal Roman struggle developed between Metellus and his subordinate commander (legate), Gaius Marius. Metellus permitted Marius to return to Rome and Marius was elected consul in 107 BC. Metellus was fully aware of Marius' ambitions in Roman politics and refused for days to allow him to sail to Rome and stand for the consulship. Metellus was, however, unaware that Marius wanted his command in Numidia. Numidia was not an area designated to be protected by consul by the Roman Senate. However, the populares passed a law in its Tribal Assembly which gave the command against Jugurtha to Marius in 107 BC. This was significant because the Assembly usurped the Senate's rights and powers in this matter and the Senate yielded.

The Jugurthine War: The Metellan Campaigns (109&ndash107 BC)

It was in this poisonous atmosphere that the delayed elections for the consuls for 109 BC were held, with Q. Caecilius Metellus and M. Iunius Silanus being elected. Given the nature of the crisis, both at home and in Africa, the two consuls agreed amongst themselves that Metellus should take charge of the Jugurthine War and we hear of no complaints concerning this breach of usual practice. 204

The Roman Commander &ndash Q. Caecilius Metellus

Q. Caecilius Metellus hailed from Rome&rsquos leading family in this period. Between 123 and 109 BC, six different members of the family held the consulship, culminating in the aforementioned double Metellan triumph in 111 BC (see Appendix IV for a fuller description of the Metelli in this period). Thus unlike the two previous Roman commanders, the consul of 109 came from the most prominent Roman military family of the day. This gave Metellus a natural advantage in terms of financial and political support in the Senate. Furthermore, it would have been expected that his command would not have been simply for the year of his consulship, as with the previous two commanders, but that he would take pro-consular authority and retain his command in Africa as long as the war lasted. This was what initially happened in 108 BC and would have continued to have been the case, had it not been for an extraordinary set of circumstances. Given his position he took with him a highly-experienced command staff, which included the veterans C. Marius and P. Rutilius Rufus. His staff also included at least one member of the Numidian royal family, Gauda, a half-brother of Jugurtha. 205

The Campaign of 109 BC

Finally, with a high-profile commander and with the humiliation of Suthul fresh in their minds, the Jugurthine War effort took centre stage for Rome. As would have been expected Metellus began meticulous preparations for the war, starting with levying a large army from both Roman citizens, allies and the overseas allies. Once again, however, we are given no precise figures for the size of Metellus&rsquo army. Upon arriving in Roman Africa to take over from Sp. Albinus, Sallust reports that Metellus found the province and the remaining Roman forces in disarray. Discipline throughout the army had apparently collapsed, from Sp. Albinus himself to the lowest Roman soldier. Military regulations had been abandoned with the troops supporting themselves by plundering the local population.

Metellus was thus faced with a difficult position, despite his undoubted advantages. Much of the campaigning season had been lost due to his late election to the consulship, with the elections having been postponed from 110 to 109, and the time it had taken to assemble a fresh army in Italy. Furthermore, the Roman forces in North Africa were in disarray and it would have taken some time to restore discipline and integrate the forces in Africa with his fresh troops, all of whom would need further training before seeing action. Acting against this, however, was the weight of expectation that came with him. Given his social and political position and the urgency with which the Senate and People would have expected him to avenge the loss at Suthul, Metellus was under considerable pressure to deliver a quick result. Nevertheless, he went about the initial preparations meticulously discipline was restored and the legions were trained hard, with forced marches and conditions made to simulate being in hostile territory.

For Metellus, his aims for the war were far clearer than those which had faced his predecessors, namely total victory. Yet, this in itself presented a number of problems. This was still not a war of conquest, but was a war against one man, Jugurtha and the war would not end until Jugurtha had been captured or killed. As detailed earlier, the territory favoured the Numidians, mountains and deserts to hide in and wide open plains on which to use the Numidian light cavalry. For Jugurtha, this new campaign must have presented him with an interesting dilemma. He was at the highpoint of his monarchy, king of a unified Numidia, having utterly defeated the invading Roman armies and, as we are told, embarking on a campaign to enlarge his kingdom at the expense of the neighbouring states and tribes. Yet, given his knowledge of the Romans, he must have realized that under Metellus the situation would be totally different. Here was the scion of Rome&rsquos leading family, the position that the Scipios had been in generations earlier. He must have known that Metellus would have settled for nothing less than complete victory and that, after humiliating Rome both militarily with the victory at Suthul, and politically, with the Romans going under the yoke and agreeing a withdrawal, Rome would never have settled for a negotiated peace.

Nevertheless, we are told that he continued with the tried and tested tactic of sending envoys to discuss peace whilst preparing for renewed conflict. This time, however, it appears that he had met his match, as Metellus adopted the same strategy. A Roman invasion of Numidia was accompanied by attempts to turn the Numidian envoys, persuading them to either assassinate or capture Jugurtha. The Roman invasion met with no initial resistance whatsoever, and Jugurtha had the border towns offering tokens of submission to the Romans and supplies for their army. Metellus used this goodwill to take the town of Vaga as a forward base, placing a garrison here and a forward supply centre. Jugurtha once again sent envoys to negotiate, whom Metellus once again attempted to turn to the Roman cause. 206 With the preliminaries aside Jugurtha determined to defeat this Roman invasion and set about selecting a position to face the Romans in battle. The place he chose was near to the Muthul River. 207

The Battle of Muthul River (109 BC)

If we can see one characteristic of Jugurtha&rsquos military expertise, it comes through his careful selection of his battle sites. In both 110 at Suthul and at Muthul in 109, he used his knowledge of his kingdom&rsquos geography to select sites that maximised his army&rsquos strengths and exploited the Roman weaknesses. At no point had he been forced or panicked into going to battle, and on both occasions, the Romans fought at a location he had selected.

Sallust, for once, provides us with an excellent description of the battle site:

In the 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 range an elevation branched off and extended for a long distance, covered with wild olive, myrtles, and other varieties of trees which grow in a dry and sandy soil. The intervening plain (between the spur and the river) was uninhabited from the lack of water except the parts along the river, which were covered with shrubs and frequented by cattle and farmers.

On the hill then, which flanked the Romans&rsquo line of march, Jugurtha took his position with his line greatly extended. He gave command of the elephants and a part of the infantry to Bomilcar and placed his own men nearer the mountain with all his cavalry and the best of his infantry. 208

Thus Jugurtha had chosen an ideal place for an ambush, occupying the higher ground and potentially trapping the Roman army between his own forces and the river (see battle diagram). Furthermore, his army was utilizing the cover of thickets on the hill to conceal his force&rsquos true size from the enemy. However, Metellus, an able commander soon spotted the Numidian army and brought his force to a halt and altered formation to meet the &lsquosurprise&rsquo attack:

I. The Battle of Muthul River (109 BC), Stage 1

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 and after a brief address, which was all that there was time for, led the army down into the plain in its new formation, with what had been its front, marching at right angles to the direction of the enemy. 209

As the Romans marched down into the plain, the Numidians held their ground. This led Metellus to believe that Jugurtha planned a series of skirmishes to wear down the army rather than an outright attack. To secure his position he sent Rutilius Rufus and a force of cavalry and lightly armed troops to secure a site by the river for a camp, should one be necessary overnight, thus giving the army access to fresh water. Metellus remained in command of the cavalry at the head of the column, with Marius in command of the main force behind him. Once Metellus&rsquo army had entered the plain, Jugurtha sent a force of 2,000 infantry to block the route the Romans had come from and prevent a possible retreat.

With the trap now in place Jugurtha&rsquos forces attacked:

The rear of Metellus&rsquo column suffered heavy casualties, and both flanks were harassed by mobile assailants who pressed home their attacks and spread great confusion in the Roman ranks. For even the men who resisted with the most courage were disconcerted by the irregular manner of the fighting, in which they were wounded at long range without being able to strike back or come to grips with their enemy.

Jugurtha&rsquos horsemen had been given careful instructions beforehand. Whenever a squadron of Roman cavalry began a charge, instead of retreating in one body, they scattered as widely as possible. In this way they could take advantage of their numerical superiority. If they failed to stop their enemy&rsquos charge, they would wait until the Romans lost their formation, and then cut them off by attacks in the rear and on their flanks. 210

Thus, we can see the key to Jugurtha&rsquos strategy: to harass the Romans at distance, by shot and cavalry and deny them their superiority in close quarter infantry combat. Furthermore, the widespread attacks and the terrain acted to disrupt the Roman battle discipline and tight combat formation. We do not know how long this struggle went on for, but the impression Sallust gives is that it continued for some time. As Sallust himself comments, the Romans had both superior quality and number of soldiers, but the Numidians had the ground in their favour and the style of combat played to their strengths. 211

Nevertheless, the key to the Numidian victory would have been the collapse of the Roman formation and an attempted withdrawal. Effectively the Romans were boxed-in, with Numidians ahead and to the right, as well as blocking the route behind them, with the river to their left. Had the Roman troops broken they would have been massacred. Sallust points out that this point was not lost on Metellus who wasted no time in informing his men that retreat was not an option. 212 Furthermore, the Numidian attack was a series of strikes rather than close-order combat. With this in mind, Metellus ordered an advance uphill towards the Numidians, to force them to fight in close quarters or retreat. Faced with a Roman advance and not wanting to engage the legionaries at close quarters, the Numidians broke and scattered into the mountains.

Attention now shifted to Rutilius&rsquo force by the river. At some point before battle had started, Jugurtha dispatched his lieutenant, Bomilcar, along with a force of forty-four elephants and accompanying infantry to attack the Roman advance force, now making camp by the river. Sallust states that Bomilcar attempted to launch a surprise attack on the Romans using the cover of the wooded region between the two forces. Given that his force had over forty elephants in it, a surprise attack does seem unlikely to have succeeded, especially given the presence of Roman pickets. Upon seeing the massive cloud of dust kicked up by Bomilcar&rsquos force, Rutilius gathered his men into formation and charged out to meet the enemy.

This almost-comic Numidian attack ended as almost as soon as it started when the elephants became entangled in the undergrowth between the two forces, disrupting the Numidian advance. The accompanying Numidian infantry apparently broke and fled for the safety of higher ground leaving the elephants to be slaughtered. Here Sallust provides the only figures for the battle, with forty Numidian elephants killed and four captured. 213 With Bomilcar routed, Rutilius then set off to rejoin the main force, by which time night had fallen. Sallust increased the drama of his narrative by having both Roman forces mistaking the approach of the other for the enemy with battle narrowly being averted thanks to the scouts sent out by both sides. Following the battle we are told that Metellus remained in camp for four days, to rebuild his army, whilst Jugurtha set about raising a fresh one.

What are we to make of the second battle of the Jugurthine War and the first one to receive anything approaching a detailed description in Sallust? It is clear that despite having chosen his ground and tactics perfectly, Jugurtha and the Numidians had been clearly defeated by Metellus, thanks to the quality of the Roman forces. Despite a superior position and the excellent use of his missle weapons (bows and slings) and cavalry on both occasions when faced with Roman legionaries in close quarters, the Numidian troops fled from the battlefield. Naturally, this was aided by the calm and steady leadership of Metellus who had confidence in the superiority of his own forces and the knowledge that this would tell in the final outcome.

II. The Battle of the Muthul River - Stage 2

The overall effect is interesting to consider. One the one hand, the Romans had won a clear victory, restoring Roman pride and the balance of power between the respective forces. The superiority of the Roman military machine had clearly been demonstrated and the weaknesses of the Numidian one made all too plain to see. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves just how bitter a defeat was it for Jugurtha? Although we have no figures for casualties, Sallust&rsquos narrative makes it clear that the bulk of his forces survived, although he did lose a considerable force of elephants. More importantly, as long as the king himself remained free then the war would continue. However, Sallust does make one important but odd point as a postscript to the battle. He states that despite the reactively low Numidian casualties, the majority deserted Jugurtha, who had to recruit a force of untrained peasants to rebuild his army. Sallust ascribes this to being a quirk of the Numidian culture. 214 However, it would perhaps be more logical to see it as the first signs that, although Jugurtha intended to fight on, the Numidian military knew when they were beaten.

Nevertheless, despite his victory, Metellus was left with a serious problem, namely how to bring the war to a speedy conclusion. Jugurtha had been defeated militarily, but until he was in Roman hands the war would continue. In many respects this was the type of warfare that most vexed the Romans the enemy had been defeated militarily, but the figurehead remained. With Hannibal, they had forced him into exile and, after two decades on the run, eventual suicide whilst with Viriathus, they had resorted to assassination. With no other option, Metellus began a campaign of denying Jugurtha access to the resources of Numidia, by the country&rsquos total subjugation. This process is best described by Sallust:

He (Metellus) therefore marched into the most fertile parts of Numidia, laid waste the country, captured and burned many strongholds and towns which had hurriedly been 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 wherever Metellus thought it advisable. 215

Although this was an admirable strategy in terms of denying Jugurtha access to resources, it would have turned the Numidians against Rome, especially when you consider that Metellus had started this campaign being welcomed by the local inhabitants. Furthermore, if anything, it would have increased support for the flagging campaign of Jugurtha. Another side effect of this policy was that it spread Metellus&rsquo forces over a wide area. This presented an opportunity for Jugurtha, who responded by shadowing Metellus&rsquo main force and mounting lightning strikes with his cavalry against any stray Roman units he came upon. Sallust records that one such unit was ambushed and slaughtered. 216 This tactic forced Metellus to adopt more caution when campaigning in the Numidian countryside, with his army split into two main forces, one commanded by him, and one by Marius, with the two shadowing each other. This set the tone for the rest of the campaign of 109 with Metellus and Marius&rsquo forces attacking the various Numidian towns and Jugurtha shadowing them with his cavalry and impeding the Roman progress whenever he could, through spoiling crops or poisoning water sources, but not giving battle.

Thus, once again, the Roman army became bogged down in a long and drawn-out war against an &lsquoinvisible&rsquo guerrilla enemy. The effects on Roman morale can be seen by Sallust again referring to the existence of groups of Roman deserters. Metellus determined to bring Jugurtha to battle once more by attacking the city of Zama, which he hoped would force Jugurtha to make a stand to save the city. It has to be said that this was a vain hope at best and showed just how lacking in ideas the Romans had become. Unfortunately for Metellus, Jugurtha learnt of this plan from a group of Roman deserters who had switched sides and was able to use his greater speed to reach Zama first and make preparations. Zama&rsquos defences were duly bolstered, aided by the presence of the Roman deserters to defend the town. Jugurtha, however, had no intention of being pinned down in one location and swiftly took his cavalry force back into the hills.

Once again, Jugurtha&rsquos superior military intelligence showed through, as he learnt that Marius had taken a small force to the nearby town of Sicca to gain additional supplies. He therefore moved his cavalry force and ambushed Marius as he was leaving the town, planning to surround Marius by having the inhabitants of the town attack Marius from the rear. Marius though, kept his head and advanced swiftly at the enemy, thus escaping from being surrounded and again testing the nerve of the Numidians in front of him. Again, when faced with Roman soldiers charging them, the Numidians broke, and the ambush failed, with few casualties on either side. 217

Once more, a familiar pattern was repeated, with Jugurtha&rsquos brilliant tactical ability being negated by the poor quality of his troops.

Despite losing the element of surprise, Metellus continued with his siege of Zama. Jugurtha again, however, proved to be a master of the unexpected and attacked the lightly-defended Roman camp behind Metellus&rsquo army. Once again this resulted in initial success with the Roman guards scattering rather than standing and fighting, the majority of whom were slaughtered. However, Sallust reports that just forty men held firm and defended a ridge or hill-top, long enough for Metellus and Marius to realize the situation and come to their aid. 218 Jugurtha, after surprising and embarrassing the Romans once more, had to retreat when faced with overwhelming odds and thus the stalemate continued.

The war continued in this vein, with Metellus continuing with the siege of Zama and Jugurtha ambushing and harrying the Roman lines wherever he could. Sallust preserves a good account of the siege, obviously taken from a first-hand account. In many ways the siege of Zama became a microcosm for the war itself. Overwhelming Roman military might was not enough to take the city, and Jugurtha continued to ambush the Roman forces without being brought to battle and continued to be driven off. In the end, with the onset of winter, Metellus was forced to abandon the siege of Zama and took the bulk of his army back to Roman Africa to winter there. He naturally left garrisons in a number of Numidian towns.

Thus, the campaign of 109, despite the brilliant victory at Muthul River, had ended in stalemate and the war dragged on into a fourth year, with still no obvious Roman success in sight. As on so many occasions, Roman military superiority, in both numbers and quality, could not defeat an enemy who refused to give battle and continued to harry them. Certainly, Metellus had restored Roman pride and military superiority in battle, but had no obvious military strategy to bring the war to an end.

Therefore, with no other option, Metellus once again attempted to end the war by diplomacy through the subversion of Jugurtha&rsquo deputy, Bomilcar, whose position, as he fully understood, was a precarious one. As Sallust points out, Bomilcar, having been Jugurtha&rsquos agent in the murder of the Numidian prince Massiva in Rome, would have been handed over for Roman justice if there were any settlement between Rome and Jugurtha then Bomilcar. 219 Furthermore, he must have realized that ultimately the Numidians would not win this war and again he would find himself at the mercy of Roman justice. Therefore, a separate deal between himself and the Romans was the only way of ensuring his own survival. Bomilcar thus attempted to persuade Jugurtha to come to terms with the Romans, successfully as it appears, and negotiations were opened.

We have to question whether Jugurtha had suddenly had a change of heart brought about by Bomilcar or whether this was nothing more than a continuation of his earlier tactic of negotiating with the Romans to muddy the waters. Metellus convened a council of his senior men and sent initial terms to Jugurtha of 200,000 pounds of silver, all his elephants and a number of horses and weapons, along with the return of all Roman deserters, all of which were complied with. It was only when Jugurtha himself was ordered to appear before the Romans, at Tisidium, that he broke off negotiations.

Given that he handed over a considerable portion of his resources to Metellus, we have to consider that Jugurtha was genuinely trying to seek a settlement with Rome. However, following his victory and humiliation of the Romans at Suthul, he must have known that the Romans would never have allowed him to remain as King of Numidia, and in fact it was unlikely that the Romans would have let him remain alive at all. What this incident shows, if anything is that both sides were tiring of this war, with no victory in sight for either party. Thus the war continued into a fourth year (108 BC) with Metellus remaining in command of the campaign as proconsul, which was hardly a surprise given his reputation, accomplishments and formidable political support in the Senate.

Treachery in the Winter of 109/108 BC

However, this support back in Rome came in contrast to his position in Africa. Another year had passed and Jugurtha, despite the set-piece defeat, was still in the field with his army and could act with impunity, striking against the Romans seemingly at random. The war was to drag on into a fourth year, with no obvious military solution in sight and negotiations for a peace had broken down once again. Added to that was the military failure to capture the city of Zama. On the ground, this lacklustre Roman performance had resulted in desertions, as we have seen. With a number of deserters being handed over by Jugurtha, Metellus was at least able to make an example of them and discourage any further such actions. However, it was at a higher level that Metellus faced the most danger, when this discontent found a figurehead, in the shape of his own deputy, Caius Marius. Marius&rsquo background will be examined shortly (Chapter 7), but at this particular time he found himself in an ideal position. That Rome would win the war was inevitable, at least in a military sense, yet the campaign was dragging on and Marius found himself in a position that many deputies find themselves in, being convinced that he could do a better job than his superior.

With the Roman army wintering in the province of Africa, Marius apparently requested of Metellus that he be given leave to return to Rome and stand for consul. For Metellus there were a number of obvious reasons to refuse such a request. For a start Marius was a serving officer on an important campaign and should not be released for personal political reasons. Secondly, it was obvious that Marius was angling to take Metellus&rsquo own command away from him. Thirdly, was the fact that, as Metellus saw it, Marius did not possess the attributes to be elected consul and would fail utterly. Despite his military and political record, he had no real powerbase or allies of his own and had only achieved what he had through being a client of the Metelli. Furthermore, he was an Italian nobleman (albeit with Roman citizenship) but was not a Roman one, an important distinction in the eyes of the Roman aristocracy. For these reasons, it is not a surprise that Metellus refused Marius&rsquo request. Nonetheless, Metellus was now faced with a potentially rebellious deputy to contend with as well.

With the failure of the negotiations, the Romans spent the rest of the winter in their African province, regrouping their forces for the next campaign. This left Jugurtha a relatively free hand in Numidia (Roman garrisons excepted) and he used it to his advantage. He assembled a new army and spent the rest of time trying to win back the towns and cities that had gone over to the Romans (mostly unwillingly) and even trying to subvert the Roman garrisons left behind in a number of towns. Success came in the form of the town of Vaga, one of the first Numidian towns to turn to Metellus in 109 and with a Roman garrison. During a public festival the officers of the garrison were invited to dine with the town&rsquos dignitaries, during which they were murdered. With the garrison leaderless the townspeople attacked the soldiers, cut them off from their citadel and fell upon them in the streets, massacring them. Suspiciously only the Roman commander, T. Turpilius Silanus survived. 220

Upon hearing of the disaster at Vaga, Metellus set out at once and crossed the border with a large Roman force intent of avenging the loss. Upon reaching the town, the inhabitants made a fatal mistake. Metellus&rsquo force contained a large number of Numidian cavalry, which had gone over into Roman service (itself a clear sign of Numidian discontent). As the cavalry reached the town before the Roman infantry, the townspeople assumed that they were from Jugurtha and opened the gates and went out to greet them. Naturally, taking advantage of this stroke of fortune the Romano-Numidian cavalry slaughtered the inhabitants and took the gates before they could be closed. Despite some resistance the town fell easily, with inhabitants being slaughtered and the survivors enslaved. Sallust dates the whole rebellion to two days in length. 221

The most prominent victim was the garrison commander T. Turpilius Silanus, who was condemned by a military tribunal and scourged and executed. 222 What made the matter worse was that Turpilius was a friend of Metellus and only there at his request. Plutarch claims that at the tribunal, Marius pushed for Metellus to sentence his friend to death, which Metellus reluctantly had to do. Plutarch claims that this increased the tension between Metellus and Marius. He then goes onto add that soon after the execution the charge was found to be false and Turpilius was actually innocent. Thus, for Plutarch at least, Marius had got Metellus to execute his friend on trumped-up charges. 223 Exactly how Turpilius could be innocent is never stated by Plutarch, nor could we imagine how it could be the case. Even if he did not conspire with the inhabitants then he was at least guilty of gross negligence. As we find none of this in Sallust&rsquos account, we must exercise caution.

Though the rebellion had been swiftly and brutally crushed, ensuring that a repetition was unlikely, it did show the weakness of the Roman position and was another setback for Metellus, showing the danger of Roman inactivity during the winter months.

Jugurtha, however, still faced discontent within his own ranks, again in the form of Bomilcar. Still fearful of his own position and the inevitability of a Numidian defeat, he plotted to remove Jugurtha in a coup. To these ends, he enlisted the help of a Numidian nobleman and army commander, Nabdalsa, who commanded the Numidian forces on the border of Roman Africa. However, on the appointed day Nabdalsa&rsquos nerve cracked and he withdrew from the plot. Bomilcar compounded this failure by writing a letter to him, berating him for his lack of nerve and entreating him to join his plot as it was inevitable that Jugurtha would lose the war. As usually happens in these cases, the letter found its way into the hands of another, Nabdalsa&rsquos secretary, who took it straight to the king. When Nabdalsa found out about the letter&rsquos loss he managed to make it to Jugurtha first and admitted the whole plot. Bomilcar and the rest of his conspirators were rounded up and executed immediately. Nabdalsa was spared, probably due to his position and Jugurtha&rsquos desire to limit the spread of this rebellion. We know the details of this plot thanks to Numidian deserters, probably some of those associated with the plot itself, who made their way to the Roman lines. 224 Though the plot had been dealt with, Jugurtha&rsquos weak position in Numidia had been clearly exposed. The inevitability of his defeat seemed to be widely accepted, yet he could not surrender nor could the Romans bring the war to an end.

Thus the campaign of 108 BC began with both sides facing internal divisions and the prospect of another year of stalemate. Whilst Jugurtha rid himself of Bomilcar by a swift execution, Metellus rid himself of Marius by finally acceding to his demand to return to Rome, accepting that it was better to remove a source of discontent from Africa than to let it fester. He did this safe in the knowledge that there was no real chance of Marius being elected consul. Unfortunately for him, however, this safety was only in his own mind, as will be detailed in the next chapter.

The Campaign of 108 BC and the &lsquoSecond Metellan Battle&rsquo

The campaigning for 108 began, as was usual, with a Roman invasion of Numidia, yet on this occasion Jugurtha gave battle. Once again Sallust&rsquos limitations as a historian come to the fore as the details of this battle are relegated to just a handful of lines.

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. 225

We are given no reason as to why Jugurtha gave battle. Sallust&rsquos implication is that Metellus was able to surprise him and left him with no choice yet given both the superior intelligence Jugurtha had access to as well as the speed of his forces compared to the Romans, this seemed unlikely. Sallust does state that Jugurtha was growing increasingly paranoid following the conspiracy of his officers and it is perhaps possible that he sought battle to restore flagging Numidian morale. Standing against this possibility, however, was the inevitable outcome, which Jugurtha must have been aware of: when faced with superior Roman infantry, the Numidians once again broke and fled.

The other possibility is that Metellus was able to corner Jugurtha, yet the speed with which this was accomplished is baffling, given that he had spent the previous year failing to do just that. It is perhaps worth remembering that a number of Numidians had deserted to the Roman side over the winter of 108. We are not told of their rank, but given the strong possibility that they were involved in the attempted coup described above, then it is more than likely that they were a number of senior-ranking Numidians and brought with them considerable intelligence on Jugurtha&rsquos plans. With this knowledge we can speculate that Metellus was able to finally surprise Jugurtha. Nevertheless, with the little evidence we have all we can do is speculate upon this.

Whatever the cause of the battle, the result was clear enough. The Numidians were defeated and Jugurtha fled deeper in Numidia, taking refuge at the royal stronghold of Thala. Metellus swiftly followed up his victory with a dash to Thala in an attempt to capture the king. Despite this swift advance, Jugurtha was able to flee once more, with his children and his treasury. Nonetheless, Metellus determined to capture the stronghold and set about another siege. On this occasion the town fell after a forty-day siege. However, the gains were minimal as the town&rsquos leading citizens fled to the royal palace, taking their treasures with them. After a feast, which included large amounts of wine, these citizens then set fire to the palace, with themselves in it, in an apparent act of mass suicide (though a drunken accident cannot be ruled out).

Unfortunately, this is all that we know of the campaign of 108 BC, the battle and the siege, with Sallust skipping over the rest of the year, perhaps on account of there being little to report. Once again, it appears that although the Romans had defeated Jugurtha once again in 108, the war seemed to be no nearer a conclusion. On the positive side, most of Numidia now lay in Roman hands and Jugurtha was apparently on the run with only a small retinue.

The African War

However, it was at this point, just when he seemed to be at his lowest ebb, that Jugurtha showed his superb diplomatic and tactical abilities and pulled off a coup which resulted in a massive escalation of the war for Rome. Having been cut off from his Numidian resources, Jugurtha widened his influence and gained allies and forces from outside of Numidia, namely the Gaetulians to the south and the Mauri to the west. The Gaetulians were a collection of tribes who lived to the south of the Numidians, by the Atlas Mountains. In the few Roman sources that do mention them they are usually collected together as one race, though the reality was far more complicated. 226 Sallust exhibits a typical Roman reaction to the Gaetulians when he describes them as:

a wild and uncivilized race of men who at the time had never heard of Rome. He (Jugurtha) mustered their population in one place and gradually trained them to keep rank, follow the standards, obey orders and perform the other duties of soldiers. 227

Aside from overlooking the incredible amount of time it would have taken Jugurtha to train a barbarous people from scratch in the art of &lsquowestern&rsquo warfare, we have a reference from Livy that Gaetulians were to be found in Hannibal&rsquos army and can conclude that they had long been used as mercenaries, and thus were well acquainted both with Rome and an organized form of warfare. 228 Given this, we can assume that far from being a case of Jugurtha wandering out of the wilderness, as Sallust paints it, it would haven been more the case that Jugurtha&rsquos money appealed to them.

Further help came from the west in the form of Bocchus, King of the Mauri, a tribal people in the very northwest of Africa (Mauretania). Bocchus was related to Jugurtha by marriage and thus it seems that Jugurtha was able to appeal to family ties, liberally aided by substantial monies, to bring Bocchus to his aid. 229 Furthermore, it appears that Bocchus had been snubbed by the Romans when he had approached them for a treaty of alliance at the outbreak of the war (though the date and the Roman commander are not given 230 . Jugurtha was also able to play upon Bocchus&rsquo fear of the Roman intentions, with them now in control of Numidia. Such a fear may also have been a strong motivating factor in the decision of the Gaetulian tribes to follow Jugurtha.

Thus, at a stroke, Jugurtha had gone from being a fleeing refugee to being the head of a somewhat untested two-nation African alliance against Rome. We must always be cautious in following the apparent short timescales given by our surviving sources and it is more than possible that Jugurtha had been working on these alliances for some time. Nevertheless, for Rome the situation had become potentially grave where previously they had been facing one king, who did not have the whole support of his nation, they now faced two armies, of Gaetulians and Mauri, commanded by Jugurtha and Bocchus. This latter point has often been overlooked in the histories, with too great a focus on Jugurtha himself. Nevertheless, we must be cautious as to how reliable these new allies were to Jugurtha.

This new hybrid force (which again we have no numbers for) then invaded Numidia and made for Cirta, the site of the siege that had initially caused the war, which by this point of 108 BC was now apparently in Roman hands, though we are not given any details about how it came to be so. By this point Metellus had turned Cirta into a temporary headquarters, housing the Roman supplies, prisoners and captured loot, perhaps for the winter.

One major problem we have with our surviving record concerns the chronology of events. 231 Sallust condenses the events in Numidia in a few short sections. 232 We do not know when in the year the unnamed &lsquoSecond Battle&rsquo took place. Nor do we have a timescale for Jugurtha&rsquos creation of the Gaetulian&ndashMauri alliance. The clear implication is that Metellus had turned Cirta into a headquarters to spend the winter, rather than evacuating Numidia once again and losing control. After the siege of Thala we are given no indication of Metellus&rsquo activities in Numidia, and given the sudden appearance of Cirta in Roman hands, we can speculate that Metellus used this time to consolidate the Roman control of Numidia. Thus when Bocchus and Jugurtha invaded Numidia, the onset of winter was approaching.

Metellus, aware of the advance, established a fortified camp near Cirta to await the arrival of this invading army. It was at this point that he received the unexpected news, that not only had Marius been elected to a consulship for 107 BC, but that the assembly had voted him the province of Numidia and the command against Jugurtha, overriding the Senatorial prerogative (see Chapter 7). We do not need Sallust to imagine how Metellus felt at this betrayal, to be replaced by his own deputy and, even worse, one who was a social inferior and a client. For the Roman campaign, this news could not have come at a worse time. When faced with a massive escalation of the war and an invasion by a combined Mauri-Gaetulian army, the last thing the Romans needed was to have their field commander undermined and de-motivated in such a manner.

Metellus responded by use of diplomacy, in an attempt to break up the alliance between Bocchus and Jugurtha. He sent emissaries to Bocchus to convince him that he did not need to become an enemy of Rome or to support Jugurtha&rsquos doomed cause. Unfortunately, Sallust&rsquo narrative of the rest of the 108 campaign tails off at this point, with his interest taken by events in Rome involving Marius. 233 This joint attack by Bocchus and Jugurtha on Cirta fails to materialize, perhaps due to Metellus&rsquo diplomacy making Bocchus think twice.

When Marius arrives in Africa in 107 BC (again we are given no clear timescale), the command of the army is handed over to him by P. Rutilius Rufus, at Utica (in Roman Africa). Metellus had understandably refused to hand over command as tradition dictated. Thus by 107 BC, the Roman army was back in the Roman province of Africa, again leaving Jugurtha and Bocchus apparently in charge of Numidia. The gaps in our sources do not give us any detail of how this occurred. As far as they are concerned, Bocchus and Jugurtha suddenly stopped their attack on Cirta and sat around for six months waiting for Marius to arrive and take command of the war, and then restarted their campaigns in early to mid&ndash107, at exactly the same point they had left off. Once again, Roman military history falls foul of the priority given to domestic politics. Had we still had the relevant books of Livy intact, this would not be the case (see Appendix V).

Even if Bocchus had been dissuaded from attacking the Romans, Jugurtha was still in command of the Gaetulian army and Cirta made a tempting target. We are unfortunately left with a series of questions, which, for the foreseeable future, will never be answered: did Jugurtha attack Cirta or did Metellus withdraw all of his forces back to Roman Africa?

We can perhaps find some help in the actions of Marius in the campaign of 107 BC. On the one hand we are told that Jugurtha was attacking towns in Numidia still allied to Rome, but on the other that there were numerous strongholds still in Jugurthan hands. 234 It is most likely that no serious fighting took place between Metellus and Jugurtha in late 108/early 107, though whether this was the result of Jugurthan or Metellan indifference is impossible to tell. We cannot even be certain that Cirta remained in Roman hands, though this seems most likely from the later context of the campaigns of 107 BC. It is possible that Metellus left Cirta and a number of towns garrisoned and withdrew the bulk of the army back into Roman Africa. Faced with a strong Roman defence and an uncertain ally, it is also possible that Jugurtha was not able to successfully besiege Cirta and when he realized that Metellus was not going to be drawn into battle, gave up the attack and concentrated on bringing the rest of Numidia back to his rule.

Summary &ndash The Metellan Campaigns

In the face of it, the Metellan campaigns were an obvious success for Rome. When Metellus took command in 109 the Romans had just been defeated and humiliated and had been driven from Numidia. In the period that followed the Romans fought two pitched battles against the Numidians, at Muthul River and the so-called &lsquoSecond Battle&rsquo, and comprehensively won both, gaining complete control of Numidia and forcing Jugurtha to flee. Yet by 107 BC the situation had, if anything, become potentially more dangerous for Rome than in 109, for two main reasons.

Firstly, despite overwhelming military superiority, the war continued with no obvious end in sight. If anything, Jugurtha was showing the tenacity of the Romans, in the fact that every time he was defeated in battle, he raised a fresh army and continued to fight. Florus drew the parallel to Hannibal, but when Hannibal was defeated in 202 at Zama, Carthage sued for peace and he had to lay down his arms. 235 As the undisputed king of Numidia, Jugurtha was able to continue the war, though as noted below his control over Numidia wavered with every defeat. Furthermore, the Roman grip on Numidia itself appeared to be tenuous. Certainly, cities such as Thala, Vaga and Cirta could be taken, by siege if necessary, but the Roman hold on them was tenuous at best, with the ever present danger of a native rebellion. Furthermore, the Roman writ of control only extended to the towns and cities they garrisoned, with the countryside uncontrolled and potentially hostile. This was especially the case when Jugurtha reverted to his guerrilla tactics. With regard to this last point the Metellan campaigns had again shown that although superior in battle, the Roman army was not able to win a war when the enemy refused to come to terms and fought on.

As noted earlier, the war that had broken out centred on the figure of Jugurtha himself, even if there were sound strategic reasons for wanting to limit the power of Numidia. Until he came to terms, was killed or captured, the war would continue. Given the strains at Rome both domestically and with regard to the situation in the north, the Senate needed a speedy conclusion to the war. When, after eighteen months, it looked as though Metellus was not able to deliver this result, these tensions spilled over and saw the extraordinary election of Marius to the consulship and then the command in Numidia.

The second reason was the rise of the Mauri-Gaetulian alliance, which saw a significant escalation of the war. Instead of fighting the Numidians, who had been shown to be militarily of poorer quality, the Romans now faced a coalition of the three main North African races, the Numidians, the Mauri and the Gaetulians, which, if unchecked, threatened Rome&rsquos domination of the North African region. Furthermore, at the same time as Rome faced this alliance, the issue of instability of command was raised once more, with Metellus being undermined by his deputy, and stripped of the command altogether. Although the sources are not clear, this may have resulted in the Roman army failing to engage this new invading North African army and retiring to Roman territory.

Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves, how much of this situation was down to Metellus. In just eighteen months he had restored Roman discipline and shown the superior Roman military ability in two set-piece battles. Jugurtha had been expelled from Numidia and the country was under nominal Roman suzerainty. Certainly, Jugurtha had re-invaded at the head of a new pan-African army, but this did not mean that either the Mauri or the Gaetulians would prove to be any more of a challenge in battle than the Numidians were.

Thus, it can be argued that the position Metellus left in the beginning of 107 BC was far stronger than the one which he had inherited two years earlier. That the situation had the potential to become worse for Rome did not mean that it would, especially given the Roman military superiority in set-piece battles. Nonetheless, there were no clear signs that the war would come to a speedy conclusion and for that Metellus lost his command.

ii) Jugurtha

For Jugurtha the campaigns of 109&ndash108 BC had been a clear setback. During the winter of 110 he is reported to have been on the offensive, engaging in wars to enlarge his kingdom, which may have included subduing the Gaetulians, having defeated and humiliated the Roman army. By the summer of 108, he had been defeated twice in battle and been driven from his kingdom. His campaigns show both his individual brilliance as a commander and the inherent weaknesses of his position. Both at Muthul River and Thala, he forced the Romans to fight on his terms, using his tactics on his ground. Yet this tactical brilliance was not matched by the quality of the men under his command, who proved to be no match for a Roman legion and usually fled when faced by one at close quarters.

His leadership skills were ably demonstrated by the &lsquogrand alliance&rsquo he created in 108 BC, as joint head of an army of Gaetulians and Mauri. Yet, if he could not rely on his own countrymen, what chance did he have with mercenaries and untrustworthy allies? Both the Gaetulians and Mauri had been weaker than the Numidians at the start of the war if the Numidians were no match for Rome then would these new allies prove to be any better?

Nevertheless, his tenacity in continuing to fight was both a result of his character and his desperate position. His actions both at Rome, but especially at Suthul, had ensured that Roman public opinion would brook no peace terms that did not end in his being paraded though Rome. Furthermore, his own position in Numidia was weak, undermined by the seemingly-inevitable Roman victory. The aborted coup of 109/108 BC also showed the weakness of his grip on Numidia, with most Numidians realizing that the war, and all of its associated misery would only end with him killed or captured. If his own countrymen were not trustworthy then the Gaetulians and Mauri were less so. Bocchus had already been open to negotiating with the Romans and the Gaetulians were mercenaries at best and would not be reliable following their first defeat.

Thus as 107 opened, Jugurtha had no option but to keep fighting and had just one glimmer of hope of emerging from the war intact. Defeating the Romans was logistically impossible they had a far superior military and a near-endless supply of men and commanders. Whilst the Senate may have seen the logic of coming to a negotiated settlement with him, the Roman people, however, were another case. From the outset, this war had been driven by Roman public opinion, usually manifesting itself in the actions of the tribunes. By 107 BC this had resulted in an outsider being elected consul and the Senate having their prerogative of selecting Rome&rsquos military commanders stolen away from them. It is clear that with the circumstances as they were and Jugurtha being the focus of the wrath of the Roman people, peace was impossible. Yet if the circumstances changed and this war became an unnecessary distraction in the face of a greater threat, then peace may indeed have been possible.


Independence Edit

The Greek historians referred to these peoples as "Νομάδες" (i.e. Nomads), which by Latin interpretation became "Numidae" (but cf. also the correct use of Nomades). [4] Historian Gabriel Camps, however, disputes this claim, favoring instead an African origin for the term. [5]

The name appears first in Polybius (second century BC) to indicate the peoples and territory west of Carthage including the entire north of Algeria as far as the river Mulucha (Muluya), about 160 kilometres (100 mi) west of Oran. [6]

The Numidians were composed of two great tribal groups: the Massylii in eastern Numidia, and the Masaesyli in the west. During the first part of the Second Punic War, the eastern Massylii, under their king Gala, were allied with Carthage (a 'Punic', i.e. Phoenician, Semitic, mercantile sea empire called after its capital in present-day Tunisia), while the western Masaesyli, under king Syphax, were allied with Rome. However, in 206 BC, the new king of the eastern Massylii, Masinissa, allied himself with Rome, and Syphax of the Masaesyli switched his allegiance to the Carthaginian side. At the end of the war, the victorious Romans gave all of Numidia to Masinissa of the Massylii. [6] At the time of his death in 148 BC, Masinissa's territory extended from Mauretania to the boundary of the Carthaginian territory, and also southeast as far as Cyrenaica, so that Numidia entirely surrounded Carthage (Appian, Punica, 106) except towards the sea.

In 179 B.C. Masinissa had received a golden crown from the inhabitants of Delos as he had offered them a shipload of grain. A statue of Masinissa was set up in Delos in honour of him as well as an inscription dedicated to him in Delos by a native from Rhodes. His sons too had statues of them erected on the island of Delos and the King of Bithynia, Nicomedes, had also dedicated a statue to Masinissa. [7]

After the death of the long-lived Masinissa around 148 BC, he was succeeded by his son Micipsa. When Micipsa died in 118 BC, he was succeeded jointly by his two sons Hiempsal I and Adherbal and Masinissa's illegitimate grandson, Jugurtha, who was very popular among the Numidians. Hiempsal and Jugurtha quarrelled immediately after the death of Micipsa. Jugurtha had Hiempsal killed, which led to open war with Adherbal. [ citation needed ]

War with Rome Edit

By 112 BC, Jugurtha resumed his war with Adherbal. He incurred the wrath of Rome in the process by killing some Roman businessmen who were aiding Adherbal. After a brief war with Rome, Jugurtha surrendered and received a highly favourable peace treaty, which raised suspicions of bribery once more. The local Roman commander was summoned to Rome to face corruption charges brought by his political rival Gaius Memmius. Jugurtha was also forced to come to Rome to testify against the Roman commander, where Jugurtha was completely discredited once his violent and ruthless past became widely known, and after he had been suspected of murdering a Numidian rival.

War broke out between Numidia and the Roman Republic and several legions were dispatched to North Africa under the command of the Consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus. The war dragged out into a long and seemingly endless campaign as the Romans tried to defeat Jugurtha decisively. Frustrated at the apparent lack of action, Metellus' lieutenant Gaius Marius returned to Rome to seek election as Consul. Marius was elected, and then returned to Numidia to take control of the war. He sent his Quaestor Sulla to neighbouring Mauretania in order to eliminate their support for Jugurtha. With the help of Bocchus I of Mauretania, Sulla captured Jugurtha and brought the war to a conclusive end. Jugurtha was brought to Rome in chains and was placed in the Tullianum. [ citation needed ]

Jugurtha was executed by the Romans in 104 BC, after being paraded through the streets in Gaius Marius' Triumph. [ citation needed ]

Divided kingdom Edit

After the death of Jugurtha, the far west of Numidia was added to the lands of Bocchus I, king of Mauretania. [6] A rump kingdom continued to be governed by native princes. [6] It appears that on the death of King Gauda in 88 BC, the kingdom was divided into a larger eastern kingdom and a smaller western kingdom (roughly the Petite Kabylie). The kings of the east minted coins, while no known coins of the western kings survive. The western kings may have been vassals of the eastern. [8] [9]

The civil war between Caesar and Pompey brought an end to independent Numidia in 46 BC. [6] The western kingdom between the Sava (Oued Soummam) and Ampsaga (Oued-el-Kebir) rivers passed to Bocchus II, while the eastern kingdom became a Roman province. The remainder of the western kingdom plus the city of Cirta, which may have belonged to either kingdom, became briefly an autonomous principality under Publius Sittius. Between 44 and 40 BC, the old western kingdom was once again under a Numidian king, Arabio, who killed Sittius and took his place. He involved himself in Rome's civil wars and was himself killed. [9]

Roman provinces Edit

After the death of Arabio, Numidia became the Roman province of Africa Nova except for a brief period when Augustus restored Juba II (son of Juba I) as a client king (30–25 BC).

Eastern Numidia was annexed in 46 BC to create a new Roman province, Africa Nova. Western Numidia was also annexed after the death of its last king, Arabio, in 40 BC, and the two provinces were united with Tripolitana by Emperor Augustus, to create Africa Proconsularis. In AD 40, the western portion of Africa Proconsularis, including its legionary garrison, was placed under an imperial legatus, and in effect became a separate province of Numidia, though the legatus of Numidia remained nominally subordinate to the proconsul of Africa until AD 203. [10] Under Septimius Severus (193 AD), Numidia was separated from Africa Proconsularis, and governed by an imperial procurator. [6] Under the new organization of the empire by Diocletian, Numidia was divided in two provinces: the north became Numidia Cirtensis, with capital at Cirta, while the south, which included the Aurès Mountains and was threatened by raids, became Numidia Militiana, "Military Numidia", with capital at the legionary base of Lambaesis. Subsequently, however, Emperor Constantine the Great reunited the two provinces in a single one, administered from Cirta, which was now renamed Constantina (modern Constantine) in his honour. Its governor was raised to the rank of consularis in 320, and the province remained one of the six provinces of the Diocese of Africa until the invasion of the Vandals in 428, which began its slow decay, [6] accompanied by desertification. It was restored to Roman rule after the Vandalic War, when it became part of the new Praetorian prefecture of Africa. [ citation needed ]

Numidia became highly romanized and was studded with numerous towns. [6] The chief towns of Roman Numidia were: in the north, Cirta or modern Constantine, the capital, with its port Russicada (Modern Skikda) and Hippo Regius (near Bône), well known as the see of St. Augustine. To the south in the interior military roads led to Theveste (Tebessa) and Lambaesis (Lambessa) with extensive Roman remains, connected by military roads with Cirta and Hippo, respectively. [6] [11]

Lambaesis was the seat of the Legio III Augusta, and the most important strategic centre. [6] It commanded the passes of the Aurès Mountains (Mons Aurasius), a mountain block that separated Numidia from the Gaetuli Berber tribes of the desert, and which was gradually occupied in its whole extent by the Romans under the Empire. Including these towns, there were altogether twenty that are known to have received at one time or another the title and status of Roman colonies and in the 5th century, the Notitia Dignitatum enumerates no fewer than 123 sees whose bishops assembled at Carthage in 479. [6]

Historic 104-Year-old Battleship Close to Sinking

Battleship Texas BB35 is a New York-class battleship that has the distinction of having served in both World War I and World War II. The 104-year-old ship is facing possibly its toughest battle as it fights a two front war against time and budgetary constraints.

The aging battleship is currently closed to the public as it undergoes repairs. Corrosion has caused leaks in the hull of the last remaining WWI dreadnought. Officials have stated that they are pumping 300,000 gallons of water out of the hull every day.

A heavy German coast artillery shell falls between Texas (in the background) and Arkansas while the two battleships were engaging Battery Hamburg during the battle of Cherbourg, France, 25 June 1944

The state of Texas had been paying for maintenance on the ship but it has announced that it will no longer do so after paying $35 million to have the ship floated to a shipyard to undergo the repairs.

This means that the ship will have to support itself based on admission fees. That would require 300,000 people to pay to visit it each year in order to fund its own maintenance costs. Currently, the ship is berthed by the San Jacinto Battle Monument in La Porte, Texas. That site does not get enough visitors to keep the ship afloat.

The tale of American exploits during WWI and WWII will not be complete without mention of Texas BB 35

Galveston has emerged as a front runner to provide a home for the Texas. They have two locations that could take the battleship, though both have problems which need to be addressed before the ship could dock there. These findings are from a citizen-led committee’s report which provides recommendations on where the ship could be berthed.

Seawolf Park on Pelican Island and Pier 21 located on Galveston’s harbor are the two locations identified in the report.

A veteran of two world wars

Bruce Bramlett, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation, says that the ship needs to find a spot with higher visitation which would rule Seawolf Park out in his mind. “That would be a worse location that what we’re in,” he said.

Seawolf Park currently sees 80,000 visitors per year according to park managers for the Galveston. This is not nearly enough to support the Texas. But Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Chief Tourism Officer, Michael Woody, believes that the number would rise with the Texas berthed there.

“The historic warship faces an uphill battle against leaks and decay.” https://t.co/ElDc0Szawl #tx #Texas

— USS Texas Foundation (@battleshiptx) July 14, 2017

Having the historic ship located in Seawolf Park, which already hosts the USS Cavalla and the USS Stewart, would provide opportunities for education programs, school trips, corporate events and even increase leisure traffic at the park.

Pier 21 has the benefit of being near downtown and cruise ship traffic. This would provide the necessary numbers to support the ship. But having the battleship docked there would exacerbate parking and crowding issues already being experienced at the pier.

Also, the berth at Pier 21 is 510 feet long but the Texas is 560 feet long. With budgetary constraints, the city may simply not be able to afford the work required to bring the Texas to that site.

The city officials have stated that they will require more information before deciding if they want to make a bid for hosting the Texas.

Representative Mayes Middleton is on the committee researching locations in Galveston says that the bottom line is whether Galveston has the number of visitors required to support the Texas. He says that since the ship needs 300,000 visitors each year and Galveston sees over 7 million tourists every year, the numbers aren’t a problem.

The committee is expecting to release the full report along with its recommendations this month.

Meanwhile, the Battleship Texas Foundation, which is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Texas, is pushing for the ship to be placed in a dry berth. The constant contact with salt water has weakened the hull of the ship and caused many leaks.

Work on building the Texas began in 1910. After serving in both world wars, the Texas was placed under the care of the Battleship Texas Commission in 1947. The Texas became one of the first museum ships in the US. In 1983, leadership of the Texas was transferred to the Texas Park and Wildlife department. At that time, a survey showed that the watertight seal. The ship was closed to the public for nearly two years while repairs were made.

In 2010, a new leak led to the ship sinking 2-3 feet. In 2012, 30 new leaks were discovered. The ship was once again repaired and reopened to the public.

The Battle Ship Commission would like to see the ship placed in a dry berth, out of the water. Then they could stop spending money on repairs. But getting the Texas out of the water will cost $40 million. The foundation is willing to raise part of the money but seeking assurance from the government that they will provide the rest.


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Sallust, Latin in full Gaius Sallustius Crispus, (born c. 86 bc , Amiternum, Samnium [now San Vittorino, near L’Aquila, Italy]—died 35/34 bc ), Roman historian and one of the great Latin literary stylists, noted for his narrative writings dealing with political personalities, corruption, and party rivalry.

Sallust’s family was Sabine and probably belonged to the local aristocracy, but he was the only member known to have served in the Roman Senate. Thus, he embarked on a political career as a novus homo (“new man”) that is, he was not born into the ruling class, which was an accident that influenced both the content and tone of his historical judgments. Nothing is known of his early career, but he probably gained some military experience, perhaps in the east in the years from 70 to 60 bc . His first political office, which he held in 52, was that of a tribune of the plebs. The office, originally designed to represent the lower classes, by Sallust’s time had developed into one of the most powerful magistracies. The evidence that Sallust held a quaestorship, an administrative office in finance, sometimes dated about 55, is unreliable.

Because of electoral disturbances in 53, there were no regular government officials other than the tribunes, and the next year opened in violence that led to the murder of Clodius Pulcher, a notorious demagogue and candidate for the praetorship (a magistracy ranking below that of consul), by a gang led by Titus Annius Milo. The latter was a candidate for consul. In the trial that followed, Cicero defended Milo, while Sallust and his fellow tribunes harangued the people in speeches attacking Cicero. While these events were not of lasting significance, Sallust’s experience of the political strife of that year provided a major theme for his writings.

In 50 Sallust was expelled from the Senate. The anonymous “Invective Against Sallust” alleges immorality as the cause, but the real reason may have been politics. In 49 Sallust sought refuge with Julius Caesar, and, when the civil war between Caesar and Pompey broke out in that year, he was placed in command of one of Caesar’s legions. His only recorded action was unsuccessful. Two years later, designated praetor, he was sent to quell a mutiny among Caesar’s troops, again without success. In 46 he took part in Caesar’s African campaign (with modest success), and, when Africa Nova was formed from Numidian territory (modern Algeria), Sallust became its first governor. He remained in office until 45 or early 44.

Upon returning to Rome, Sallust was accused of extortion and of plundering his province, but through Caesar’s intervention he was never brought to trial according to the “Invective Against Sallust,” as reported by Dio Cassius. The evidence draws moralizing contrasts between Sallust’s behaviour and his censorious writings and suggests a source for the ill-gotten wealth that created the splendid Sallustian Gardens (Horti Sallustiani). The tradition about his morals seems to have originated in scurrilous gossip and by a confusion between the historian and his adopted son, Augustus’s minister Sallustius Crispus, a man of great wealth and luxurious tastes.

Sallust’s political career ended soon after his return to Rome. His retirement may have been voluntary, as he himself maintains, or forced upon him by the withdrawal of Julius Caesar’s favour or even by Caesar’s assassination in 44.

Sallust may have begun to write even before the Triumvirate was formed late in 43. Sallust was born in a time of civil war. As he grew to maturity, foreign war and political strife were commonplace thus, it is not surprising that his writings are preoccupied with violence. His first monograph, Bellum Catilinae (43–42 bc Catiline’s War), deals with corruption in Roman politics by tracing the conspiracy of Catiline, a ruthlessly ambitious patrician who had attempted to seize power in 63 bc after the suspicions of his fellow nobles and the growing mistrust of the people prevented him from attaining it legally. Catiline was supported by certain members of the upper classes who were prompted either by ambition or by the hope of solving their financial problems by Catiline’s accession to power. But he also had the backing of Italy’s dissatisfied veterans, impoverished peasants, and overburdened debtors. In Sallust’s view, Catiline’s crime and the danger he presented were unprecedented. Indeed, alarmed contemporaries may have exaggerated the significance of the incident yet, had the government not acted as firmly as it did (effectively declaring martial law), a catastrophe could have occurred. Sallust describes the course of the conspiracy and the measures taken by the Senate and Cicero, who was then consul. He brings his narrative to a climax in a senatorial debate concerning the fate of the conspirators, which took place on Dec. 5, 63. In Sallust’s eyes, not Cicero but Caesar and Cato represented civic virtue and were the significant speakers in the debate he regarded the deaths of Caesar and Cato as marking the end of an epoch in the history of the republic. A digression in this work indicates that he considered party strife as the principal factor in the republic’s disintegration.

In Sallust’s second monograph, Bellum Jugurthinum (41–40 bc The Jugurthine War), he explored in greater detail the origins of party struggles that arose in Rome when war broke out against Jugurtha, the king of Numidia, who rebelled against Rome at the close of the 2nd century bc . This war provided the opportunity for the rise to the consulship of Gaius Marius, who, like Sallust and Cicero, was a “new man.” His accession to power represented a successful attack on the traditionally exclusive Roman political elite, but it caused the kind of political conflict that, in Sallust’s view, resulted in war and ruin. Sallust considered Rome’s initial mismanagement of the war the fault of the “powerful few” who sacrificed the common interest to their own avarice and exclusiveness. Political turmoil in Rome during the late republic had social and economic causes (not overlooked by Sallust), but essentially it took the form of a power struggle between the aristocratic group in control of the Senate and those senators who enlisted popular support to challenge the oligarchy. This is the underlying framework of Sallust’s schematic analysis of the events of that time—the clash between the nobility, or Senate, and the people, or plebeians.

The Histories, of which only fragments remain, describes the history of Rome from 78 to at least 67 bc on a year-to-year basis. Here Sallust deals with a wider range of subject matter, but party conflict and attacks on the politically powerful remain a central concern. Hints of hostility to the Triumvirate on Sallust’s part may be detected in both Bellum Jugurthinum and the Histories. Two “Letters to Caesar” and an “Invective Against Cicero,” Sallustian in style, have often been credited, although probably incorrectly, to Sallust the former title was attributed to him by the 1st-century- ad Roman educator Quintilian.

Sallust’s influence pervades later Roman historiography, whether men reacted against him, as Livy did, or exploited and refined his manner and views, as Tacitus did. Sallust himself was influenced by Thucydides more than by any other Greek writer. Sallust’s narratives were enlivened with speeches, character sketches, and digressions, and, by skillfully blending archaism and innovation, he created a style of classic status. And to the delight of moralists he revealed that Roman politics were not all that official rhetoric depicted them to be. His monographs excel in suggesting larger themes in the treatment of particular episodes.

112 BC - Jugurthine War

With the downfall and death of Gaius Gracchus in 121 BC, the senate had triumphed again, but it failed to heed the warning which the movements led by Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus should have given it. It adhered to its selfish policy of governing in the interests of the nobilitas. Its venality, selfishness, and incapacity were painfully apparent during the war with Jugurtha, and lost it the prestige which its victory over the Gracchi had won. Jugurtha, an African prince, had inherited the kingdom of Numidia conjointly with two of his cousins in 118 BC. He soon found means, however, of murdering both his rivals and of making himself master of all Numidia. One of the claimants to the throne, before his death, appealed to Rome for help, and the scandal which followed scarcely finds a parallel in Roman history. Two commissions, headed by distinguished members of the aristocracy, were sent to Africa, but Jugurtha had a long purse, the Roman envoys were amenable to reason, and the commissions returned to Rome, leaving a free hand to the African king. But the massacres which followed the return of the second embassy forced the senate to declare war, and the consul L. Calpurnius Bestia was despatched to Africa with an army. To the surprise even of the senate, Bestia made a disgraceful treaty with Jugurtha, and left him in undisputed control in Africa.

Ultimately the senate was forced to declare war upon him, but it proved to be as incapable in carrying on military operations against him, as it had been venal in conducting negotiations with him. The series of disgraceful negotiations and disastrous defeats which had extended through eleven years [112-105 BC] gave the popular party its opportunity, and the democrats and middle classes uniting upon Gaius Marius, who had served with distinction in a subordinate capacity in Africa in the year 107, secured his election to the consulship by a large majority, and entrusted to him the conduct of the campaign against Jugurtha. In two years' time Marius brought the king of Numidia in chains to Rome.

This war is interesting in that it brought to the front two men, Marius and Sulla, one belonging to the commons, the other to the aristocracy, whose personal rivalry and political animosity plunged Rome into a fierce civil struggle, and drew more rigidly than ever the line between the senate and the democracy. The part which Marius played in the campaign we have just noticed. His future rival, Sulla, won a name for himself in the war by his brilliant leadership of a cavalry force. In fact no small share of the success of the campaign was due to his skill and daring.

The two men were as far removed as possible from each other in antecedents, character, and methods. Marius was the son of a laborer Sulla was a member of a noble family. Marius passed his youth in the village of Arpinum. On the drudgery of farm labor followed the hardships of a private soldier's life. His world was the camp. Of politics, society, or the refinements of life he had no knowledge. Serious-minded to the point of being obstinate, or even stolid, he fought his way upward with a grim determination over all the obstacles which the jealous and contemptuous nobility always threw in the way of a "new man." Sulla, on the other hand, belonged to a noble family. He was brought up at Rome, and plunged with abandon into every form of pleasure which the society of the metropolis offered. Familiar with the refinements of life, of an emotional temperament, and yet touched with the cynicism of a man of the world, he ruled men because of his inborn genius to rule and not because, as with Marius, years of hardship had taught him the importance: of discipline, and how to enforce it on others. To him the path of preferment was easy, for he was the chosen champion of the senate.

Marius allied himself with the Democracy in 100 BC. The democrats were quick to take advantage of the brilliant success which their champion won in Africa, and later over the Cimbri, and formed a political alliance with him. In accordance with its terms they elected him to the consulship for the sixth time in 100 BC, assigned lands to his veterans, and, by these concessions, secured his support of the agrarian measures of their tribune. But the violent means which the democratic leaders used to secure the passage of their land bills obliged Marius, as consul, to take active measures to restore order. By this action he disappointed the democrats, and was forced into retirement at the end of his year of office.

The measure which had led to the defeat of Gaius Gracchus was his proposition to grant citizenship to the Italians. The agent whom the senate had used in encompassing his downfall was a tribune named Livius Drusus. It is a strange illustration of the irony of fate that the son of this man, holding the same office of tribune, should have revived the agitation in favor of the Italians, and should thereby have lost his life. The political aim of the younger Drusus differed essentially, however, from that of Gaius Gracchus. The tribune of 123 had tried to overthrow the senate by combining all the other forces in the state against it. Drusus, on the other hand, sought to strengthen the conservative position by removing the principal causes of discontent, not only in Rome but in all Italy. But the same selfish unwillingness to share their privileges with others, which the Romans had shown before, and which had thwarted his predecessor, brought the efforts of Drusus also to naught, and he became a victim of popular passion, as Gaius Gracchus had been.

The bill which Drusus submitted in the year 91 was the last of many attempts to better the condition of the Italians by constitutional methods. When, like its predecessors, it resulted in failure and was followed by severe repressive measures directed against them, the discontent of the Italians broke out into an open revolt, in which all except the Latins and the aristocratic states of Umbria and Etruria joined.