The Ancient Library

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dition to the effect produced by the success of the Roman arms, and the great personal influence of Scipio—-an influence increased in this case by his generous conduct towards Massiva, a nephew of Masinissa [massiva]—the Numidian prince is said to have been actuated by resentment against Hasdrubal, who had previously betrothed to him his beautiful daughter Sophonisba, but violated his engagement, in order to bestow her hand upon Syphax. (Appian, Pun. 10; Zonar. ix. 11, p. 436.) The chronology of these events is, however, very uncertain : according to Livy, it was not till some time after this that the betrothal of Sophonisba took place. (Liv. xxix. 23.) But the defection of Masinissa still remained a secret; meanwhile, he rejoined Mago at Gades for a time, and then crossed over into Africa, where events had taken place which drew all his attention to his paternal dominions.

On the death of his father Gala, which had oc­curred during the time that he was in Spain, the crown had devolved, according, it is said, to the Numidian custom, on Oesalces, brother of the late king, and from him descended shortly after to his son Capusa. But the latter being a man of a feeble character, had been overthrown by Mezetulus, who assumed the virtual sovereignty in the name of Lacumaces, the younger brother of Capusa. Against this usurper Masinissa determined to direct his nrms, and after having in vain endeavoured to obtain the support of Bocchar, king of Mauritania, he entered the confines of Numidia with a body of only 500 horsemen. But, trifling as this force might appear, he was able to strike a blow in the first instance which had nearly proved decisive-1— the young king Lacumaces having narrowly escaped falling into his hands while travelling with a small escort to the court of Syphax. The old soldiers and adherents of his father now flocked to the standard of Masinissa, who soon found himself at the head of a respectable army, with which he was able to meet Mezetulus in the field, and having defeated him in a pitched battle, compelled both him and the young king to take refuge in the territories of Syphax. From thence they were induced by the friendly promises of Masinissa to return and take up their abode at his court, in an honourable though private station. (Liv. xxix. 29, 30.) Masinissa now found himself established on his father's throne ; but he was aware that a more formidable danger threatened him on the side of Syphax, who, besides the enmity he na­turally entertained against his former foe, was urged on by Hasdrubal, who appears to have been conscious that he had offended Masinissa beyond the possibility of forgiveness, and was anxious to crush him before he could receive assistance from Rome. The first attacks of Syphax were com­pletely successful: Masinissa, totally defeated in the first action, fled with a few horsemen to a mountain fastness, from whence he made predatory inroads into the territories both of Syphax and the Carthaginians. Here his followers soon increased both in numbers and boldness, until Syphax, who had at first despised them, found it necessary to send against him one of his generals named Bocchar, whose measures were so efficiently taken that he succeeded in cutting off the whole of Ma-sinissa's force, the king himself escaping from the field with only two followers, and badly wounded. He lay concealed in a cave for some time, but as


soon as his wound was partially healed he once more re-appeared among the Massylians, and quickly gathered around his standard an army of 10,000 men. Syphax now took the field against him in person, and again obtained a decisive vic­tory, Masinissa, with a small body of horsemen, with difficulty cutting his way through the enemy's forces. He, however, effected his escape to the sea-coast, and there hovered about, at the head of a mere predatory band, until the landing of Scipio in Africa b. c. 204, when he instantly joined him with such a force as he had been able to collect. (Liv. xxix. 31—33 ; Appian, Pun. 10—13.)

The services he was now able to fender his Roman allies were neither few nor trifling. Almost immediately after he had joined them he defeated the Carthaginian cavalry under H anno, the son of Hamilcar [hanno, No. 23], and bore an important part in the night attack which ended in the con­flagration of the two camps of Hasdrubal and Syphax. On this occasion, indeed, his intimate acquaintance with the habits of the enemy, and his intelligence of their plans, appear to have been of the most essential service to Scipio. The confidence reposed in the Numidian chief both by that general and Laelius is the strongest testimony to his cha­racter as a warrior, as well as to their opinion of his fidelity, a much rarer quality among his coun­trymen. After the second defeat of the combined forces of Syphax: and Hasdrubal, an event in which Masinissa had again taken a prominent part, he was despatched, together with Laelius, to pursue the fugitives: they recovered without opposition the whole country of the Massylians, and though Syphax with indefatigable energy opposed to them a third army, he was not only again defeated, but himself made prisoner. Following up their ad­vantage, they quickly reduced Cirta, the capital of Syphax, and the stronghold where he had deposited all his treasures. Among the captives that fell into their hands on this occasion was Sophonisba, the wife of the Numidian king, and the same who had been formerly promised in marriage to Masi­nissa himself. The story of his hasty marriage with her, and its tragical termination, is too well known to require to be here repeated. [sopho­nisba.] To console him for his loss, as well as to reward him for his obedience, Scipio now bestowed on Masinissa the title and insignia of royalty, and the possession of his hereditary dominions, holding out to him the prospect of eventually obtaining those of his rival also ; and these honours were immediately ratified by the senate at Rome. (Liv. xxix. 34, xxx. 3—9, 11—17 ; Polyb. xiv. 3, 4, 8 9 ; Appian, Pun. 14—22, 26—28 ; Zonar. ix. 12, 13.)

On the commencement of the negotiations for peace between Scipio and the Carthaginians (b. c. 203), Masinissa quitted the Roman camp to es­tablish himself in the possession of his newly-acquired dominions. But the rupture of the treaty, and the landing of Hannibal in Africa, caused Scipio again to summon him in all haste to his assistance. Hannibal it is said made an attempt to detach him from the alliance of the Romans, but without effect, and he joined Scipio, with a force of 6000 foot and 4000 horse, just before the battle of Zama (b. c. 202). In that decisive action he commanded the cavalry of the right wing, and contributed in no small degree to the successful result of the day. After routing the Numidian

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