Short URL for this page:
1 Without reason do mankind complain of their nature, on the ground that it is weak and of short duration and ruled rather by chance than by virtue. 2 For reflection would show on the contrary that nothing is greater or more excellent, and that nature has more often found diligence lacking in men than strength or endurance in itself. 3 But the leader and ruler of man's life is the mind, and when this advances to glory by the path of virtue, it has power and potency in abundance, as well as fame; and it needs not fortune, since fortune can neither give to any man honesty, diligence, and other good qualities, nor can she take them away. 4 But if through the lure of base desires the mind has sunk into sloth and the pleasures of the body, when it has enjoyed ruinous indulgence for a season, when strength, time, and talents have been wasted through indolence, the weakness of human nature is accused, and the guilty shift their own blame to circumstances.
5 But if men had as great regard for honourable enterprises as they have ardour in pursuing what is foreign to their interests, and bound to be unprofitable and often even dangerous, they would control fate rather than be controlled by it, and would attain to that height of greatness where from mortals their glory would make them immortal.
p135 2 For just as mankind is made up of body and soul, so all our acts and pursuits partake of the nature either of the body or of the mind. 2 Therefore notable beauty and great riches, as well as bodily strength and all other gifts of that kind, soon pass away, but the splendid achievements of the intellect, like the soul, are everlasting.
3 In short, the goods of the body and of fortune have an end as well as a beginning, and they all rise and fall, wax and wane; but the mind, incorruptible, eternal, ruler of mankind, animates and controls all things, yet is itself not controlled. 4 Therefore we can marvel the more at the perversity of those who pass their life in riotous living and idleness, given over to the pleasures of the body, but allow the mind, which is better and greater than anything else in man's nature, to grow dull from neglect and inaction; especially when there are so many and so varied intellectual pursuits by which the highest distinction may be won.
3 But among these pursuits, in my opinion, magistracies and military commands, in short all public offices, are least desirable in these times, since honour is not bestowed upon merit, while those who have gained it wrongfully are neither safe nor the more honourable because of it.1 2 For to rule one's country or subjects2 by force, although you both have the power to correct abuses, and do correct them, is nevertheless tyrannical; especially since all attempts at change foreshadow bloodshed, exile, and other horrors of war. 3 Moreover, to struggle in p137 vain and after wearisome exertion to gain nothing but hatred, is the height of folly, unless haply one is possessed by a dishonourable and pernicious passion for sacrificing one's personal honour and liberty to the power of a few men.3
4 But among intellectual pursuits, the recording of the events of the past is especially serviceable; but of that it becomes me to say nothing, 2 both because many men have already spoken of its value, and in order that no one may suppose that I am led by vanity to eulogize my own favourite occupation. 3 I suppose, too, that since I have resolved to pass my life aloof from public affairs, some will apply to this arduous and useful employment of mine the name of idleness, certainly those who regard courting the people and currying favour by banquets as the height of industriousness. 4 But if such men will only bear in mind in what times I was elected to office,4 what men of merit were unable to attain the same honour5 and what sort of men have since come into the senate,6 they will surely be convinced that it is rather from justifiable motives than from indolence that I have changed my opinion, and that greater profit will accrue to our country from my inactivity than from others' activity.
5 I have often heard that Quintus Maximus, Publius Scipio, and other eminent men of our country, were in the habit of declaring that their hearts were set mightily aflame for the pursuit of virtue whenever p139 they gazed upon the masks7 of their ancestors. 6 Of course they did not mean to imply that the wax or the effigy had any such power over them, but rather that it is the memory of great deeds that kindles in the breasts of noble men this flame that cannot be quelled until they by their own prowess have equalled the fame and glory of their forefathers.
7 But in these degenerate days, on the contrary, who is there that does not vie with his ancestors in riches and extravagance rather than in uprightness and diligence? Even the "new men,"8 who in former times already relied upon worth to outdo the nobles, now make their way to power and distinction by intrigue and open fraud rather than by noble practices; 8 just as if a praetorship, a consulship, or anything else of the kind were distinguished and illustrious in and of itself and were not valued according to the merit of those who live up to it. 9 But in giving expression to my sorrow and indignation at the morals of our country I have spoken too freely and wandered too far from my subject. To this I now return.
5 I propose to write of the war which the people of Rome waged with Jugurtha, king of the Numidians: first, because it was long, sanguinary and of varying fortune; and secondly, because then for the first time resistance was offered to the insolence of the nobles — 2 the beginning of a struggle which threw everything, human and divine, into confusion, and rose to such a pitch of frenzy that civil discord ended in war and the devastation of Italy. 3 But before p141 actually beginning such a narrative, let me recall a few earlier events, in order that everything may be placed in a better light for our understanding and may be the more clearly revealed.
4 During the second Punic war, when Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginians, had dealt Italy's power the heaviest blow since the Roman nation attained its full stature, Masinissa, king of Numidia, had become the friend of Publius Scipio, afterwards surnamed Africanus because of his prowess, and performed many illustrious deeds of arms. In return for this, after the defeat of the Carthaginians and the capture of Syphax, whose dominion in Africa was great and extensive, the Roman people gave Masinissa as a free gift all the cities and territories that he9 had taken in war. 5 Consequently Masinissa was ever our true and loyal friend. But his reign and his life ended together. 6 His son Micipsa then became sole ruler, since his brothers Mastanabal and Gulussa had fallen ill and died. 7 Micipsa begot Adherbal and Hiempsal, and brought up in the palace, in the same manner as his own children, a son of his brother Mastanabal called Jugurtha, whom Masinissa in his will had allowed to remain a commoner because he was the offspring of a concubine.
6 As soon as Jugurtha grew up, endowed as he was with physical strength, a handsome person, but above all with a vigorous intellect, he did not allow himself to be spoiled by luxury or idleness, but following the custom of that nation, he rode, he hurled the javelin, he contended with his fellows in foot-races; and although he surpassed them all in renown, he nevertheless won the love of all. Besides this, he devoted much time to the chase, he was p143 the first or among the first to strike down the lion and other wild beasts, he distinguished himself greatly, but spoke little of his own exploits.
2 At first Micipsa was delighted with this conduct, believing that the prowess of Jugurtha would contribute to the glory of his kingdom; but when he realized that the man was young and constantly growing in power, while he himself was advanced in years and his children were small, he was seriously troubled by the situation and gave it constant thought. 3 He dreaded the natural disposition of mankind, which is greedy for power and eager to gratify its heart's desire, while his own years and the youthfulness of his sons offered that opportunity which through the hope of gain leads astray even men of moderate ambition. He observed too the devotion which Jugurtha had inspired in the Numidians, and was apprehensive of some rebellion or war from that source, if by treachery he should cause the death of such a man.
7 Embarrassed by these problems, and seeing that one so dear to the people could not be put out of way by violence or by stratagem, he resolved, inasmuch as Jugurtha was full of energy and eager for military glory, to expose him to dangers and thus put fortune to the proof. 2 Accordingly, when Micipsa sent cavalry and infantry to aid the Romans in the war with Numantia, he gave Jugurtha command of the Numidians whom he sent to Spain, hoping that he would easily fall a victim either to a desire to display his valour or to the ruthless foe.
3 But the result was not at all what he had expected; 4 for Jugurtha, who had an active and keen intellect, soon became acquainted with the character of Publius p145 Scipio, who then commanded the Romans, and with the tactics of the enemy. Then by hard labour and attention to duty, at the same time by showing strict obedience and often courting dangers, he shortly acquired such a reputation that he became very popular with our soldiers and a great terror to the Numantians. 5 In fact, he was both valiant in war and wise in counsel, a thing most difficult to achieve, for most often wisdom through caution leads to timorousness and valour through boldness to rashness. 6 Therefore Scipio relied upon Jugurtha for almost all difficult undertakings, treated him as a friend, and grew more and more attached to him every day, since the young Numidian failed neither in judgment nor in any enterprise. 7 He had, besides, a generous nature and a ready wit, qualities by which he had bound many Romans to him in intimate friendship.
8 At that time there were a great many in our army, both new men and nobles, who cared more for riches than for virtue and self-respect; they were intriguers at home, influential with our allies, rather notorious than respected. These men fired Jugurtha's ambitious spirit by holding out hopes that if king Micipsa should die, he might gain the sole power in Numidia, since he himself stood first in merit,10 while at Rome anything could be bought.
2 Now when Numantia had been destroyed and Publius Scipio determined to disband his auxiliary troops and return to Rome himself, after giving Jugurtha gifts and commending him in the highest terms before the assembled soldiers, he took him into his tent. There he privately advised the young man p147 to cultivate the friendship of the Roman people at large rather than that of individual Roman citizens, and not to form the habit of bribery. It was dangerous, he said, to buy from a few what belonged to the many. If Jugurtha would continue as he had begun, fame and a throne would come to him unsought; but if he acted too hastily, he would bring about his ruin by means of his own money.
9 After speaking in this way, Scipio dismissed the young man with a letter to be delivered to Micipsa, the purport of which was this: 2 "The valour of your Jugurtha in the Numantine war was most conspicuous, as I am sure you will be glad to learn. To us he is dear because of his services, and we shall use our best efforts to make him beloved also by the senate and people of Rome. As your friend I congratulate you; in him you have a hero worthy of yourself and of his grandfather Masinissa."
3 Then the king, upon learning from the general's letter that the reports which had come to his ears were true, was led both by Jugurtha's merits and by his influential position to change his plans and attempt to win the young man by kindness. He adopted him at once11 and in his will named joint heir with his sons. 4 But a few years later and upon his own motion the king, then enfeebled by years and illness and realizing that the end of his life was near, is said to have talked with Jugurtha in the presence of his friends and kinsfolk, including his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal, in some such terms as the following.
10 "When you were a small boy, Jugurtha, an orphan without prospects or means, I took you into the royal household, believing that because of my p149 kindness you would love me as if you were my own child. And I was not mistaken; 2 for, to say training of your other great and noble actions, of late on your return from Numantia you have conferred honour upon me and my realm by your glory, and by your prowess have made the Romans still more friendly to Numidia than before; while in Spain the name of our family has been given new life.12 Finally, by the glory you have won you have overcome envy, a most difficult feat for mortal man. 3 Now, since nature is bringing my life to its close, I conjure and implore you by this right hand, by the loyalty due to the kingdom,13 hold dear these youths who are your kinsmen by birth and through my favour are your brothers; and do not desire to make new friends among strangers in preference to keeping the love of those who are bound to you by ties of blood. 4 Neither armies nor treasure form the bulwarks of a throne, but friends; these you can neither acquire by force of arms nor buy with gold; it is by devotion and loyalty that they are won. 5 But who is more bound by ties of friendship than brother to brother, or what stranger will you find loyal, if you become the enemy of your kindred? 6 I deliver to you three a realm that is strong if you prove virtuous, but weak if you do ill; for harmony makes small states great, while discord undermines the mightiest empires. 7 As for the rest, it devolves upon you, Jugurtha, rather than upon these children, since you are older and wiser than they, to see to it that my hopes are not disappointed. For in all strife the stronger, even though he suffer wrong, is looked upon as the aggressor because of his superior power. 8 As for you, Adherbal and Hiempsal, p151 love and respect this great man, emulate his virtues, and strive to show that I did not adopt better children than I begat."
11 Although Jugurtha knew that the king spoke insincerely, and though he had very different designs in his own mind, yet he returned a gracious answer, suited to the occasion. 2 A few days later Micipsa died. After the princes had performed his obsequies with regal splendour, they met together for a general discussion of their affairs. 3 Then Hiempsal, the youngest of the three, who was naturally haughty and even before this had shown his contempt for Jugurtha's inferior birth because he was not his equal on the maternal side, sat down on the right of Adherbal, in order to prevent Jugurtha from taking his place between the two, a position which is regarded as an honour among the Numidians. 4 Afterwards, however, when his brother begged him to show respect to greater years, he was reluctantly induced to move to the other side.
5 At this meeting, in the course of a long discussion about the government of the kingdom, Jugurtha suggested, among other measures, that they ought to annul all laws and decrees passed within the past five years, on the ground that during that time Micipsa was far gone in years and hardly of sound mind. 6 Thereupon Hiempsal again spoke up and declared that he approved the suggestion; for it was within the last three years, he said, that Jugurtha himself had been adopted and thus given a share in the kingdom. 7 This remark sank more deeply into Jugurtha's mind than anyone would have supposed. 8 So, from that moment he was a prey to resentment and fear, planned and schemed, and thought of p153 nothing except some means by which he might outwit and ensnare Hiempsal. 9 But since his plans moved too slowly and his proud spirit retained its anger, he resolved to effect his design in any possible way.
12 At the first meeting of the princes, which I have already mentioned, they failed to agree and therefore determined to divide the treasures and partition the kingdom among the three. 2 Accordingly, they set a time for both events, that for the division of the money being the earlier, and meanwhile came by different routes to a place near the treasury. 3 Now it chanced that Hiempsal was occupying a house in the town of Thirmida which belonged to Jugurtha's most confidential attendant,14 who had always been his master's dear and beloved friend. This man, whom chance threw in his way as an agent, Jugurtha loaded with promises, and induced him to go to his house on the pretext of inspecting it and to have false keys made for the doors; for the true ones used to be delivered to Hiempsal.15 As to the rest, Jugurtha himself promised to be at hand at the proper time with a strong force. 4 The Numidian promptly carried out his instructions, and, as he had been directed, let in Jugurtha's soldiers by night. 5 They rushed into the house, scattered in search of the king, slew some of the household in their sleep and others as they offered resistance, ransacked all hiding-places, broke down doors, and filled the whole place with noise and confusion. Meanwhile, Hiempsal was found hiding in the cell of a maid-servant, where in his first terror, unacquainted as he was with the premises, he had taken refuge. The Numidians did as they were ordered, and brought his head to Jugurtha.
p155 13 Now, in a short time the news of this awful crime spread over all Africa. Fear seized Adherbal and all the former subjects of Micipsa. The Numidians were divided into two parties, the greater number siding with Adherbal, but the better soldiers with his rival. 2 Jugurtha then armed the largest possible number of troops, brought some cities under his sway by force and others with their consent, and prepared to make himself ruler of all Numidia. 3 Although Adherbal had at once dispatched envoys to Rome, to inform the senate of his brother's murder and his own position, yet he prepared to take the field, relying upon the superior number of his troops. 4 But he was defeated in the very first engagement, fled to our province,16 and thence made his way to Rome.
5 Then Jugurtha, when he had carried out his plans and was in possession of all Numidia, having leisure to think over what he had done, began to be afraid of the Roman people and to despair of escaping their anger except through the avarice of the Roman nobles and his own wealth. 6 Accordingly, a few days later, he sent envoys to Rome with a great amount of gold and silver, directing them first to load his old friends with presents, and then to win new ones — in short, to make haste to accomplish by largess whatever they could.
7 But when the envoys arrived at Rome, and, as the king had commanded, sent magnificent presents to his friends and to others of the senate whose influence at the time was powerful, such a change of sentiment ensued that in place of the pronounced hostility of the nobles Jugurtha gained their favour and support. 8 Induced in some cases by hope, in others by bribery, they went about to p157 individual members of the senate and urged them not to take too severe measures against Jugurtha. 9 When, because of this, the envoys came to feel sufficient confidence, a time was appointed for the appearance of both parties before the senate. Thereupon Adherbal is said to have spoken in the following terms:
14 "Fathers of the Senate, my sire Micipsa admonished me on his death-bed to consider that I was only a steward of the kingdom of Numidia,17 but that the right and authority were in your hands; at the same time he bade me strive to be as helpful as possible to the Roman people in peace and in war and to regard you as my kindred and relatives. He declared that if I did this, I should find in your friendship an army, and wealth, and bulwarks for my kingdom. 2 As I was following these injunctions of my father, Jugurtha, wickedest of all men on the face of the earth, in despite of your power robbed me, the grandson of Masinissa and hereditary friend and ally of the Roman people, of my throne and all my fortunes.
3 "And for myself, Fathers of the Senate, since I was doomed to such a depth of wretchedness, I could wish that I might ask your help rather because of my own services than those of my ancestors; I could wish above all that favours were due to me from the Roman people which I did not need; and failing this, that if they were needed I might accept them as my due. 4 But since virtue alone is not its own protection, and since it was not in my power to mould the character of Jugurtha, I p159 have had recourse to you, Fathers of the Senate, to whom (and this is greatest part of my wretchedness) I am compelled to be a burden before I have been an aid. 5 All other kings have been admitted to your friendship when they were vanquished in war, or have sought your alliance in their time of peril; our family established friendly relations with Rome during the war with Carthage, at a time when the plighted word of Rome was a greater inducement to us than her fortune.18 6 Therefore do not allow me, their descendant and the grandson of Masinissa, to implore your aid in vain.
7 "If I had no other reason for asking the favour than my pitiable lot — of late a king, mighty in family, fame and fortune; now broken by woes, destitute and appealing to others for help — it would nevertheless be becoming to the majesty of the Roman people to defend me against wrong and not to allow any man's power to grow great through crime. 8 But in fact I am driven from the lands which the people of Rome gave to my forefathers and from which my father and grandfather helped you to drive Syphax and the Carthaginians. It is your gift, Fathers of the Senate, which has been wrested from me, and in the wrong done to me you have been scorned. 9 Woe's me! O my father Micipsa, has this been the effect of your kindness, that the man whom you put on an equality with your own children, whom you made a partner in your kingdom, should of all men be the destroyer of your house?
"Shall my family then never find rest? Shall we always dwell amid bloodshed, arms and exile? 10 While the Carthaginians were unconquered, we naturally p161 suffered all kinds of hardship; the enemy were upon our flank, you, our friends, were far away; all our hope was in our arms. After Africa had been freed from that pestilence, we enjoyed the delights of peace, since we had no enemy, unless haply at your command.19 11 But lo! on a sudden, Jugurtha, carried away by intolerable audacity, wickedness and arrogance, after killing my brother, who was also his kinsman, first made Hiempsal's realm the spoil of his crime; then, when he had failed to outwit me by the same wiles, and when under your sovereignty I was looking for anything rather than violence or war, he has made me, as you see, an exile from home and country, a prey to want and wretchedness, and safer anywhere than in my own kingdom.
12 "I always used to think, Fathers of the Senate, as I had heard my father maintain, that those who diligently cultivated your friendship undertook an arduous duty, indeed, but were safe beyond all others. 13 Our family has done its best to aid you in all your wars; that we may enjoy peace and safety, Fathers of the Senate, is in your power. 14 Our father left two of us brothers; a third,20 Jugurtha, he hoped to add to our number by his favours. One of the three has been slain; I myself have barely escaped the sacrilegious hands of the other. 15 What shall I do, or to what special protection shall I appeal in my troubles? All the defences of my house are destroyed. My father, as was inevitable, has paid the debt of nature. My brother has lost his life through the crime of a kinsman, the last man who ought to have raised a hand against him. Relatives, friends, and others who were near to me have fallen by one blow p163 or another. Of those taken by Jugurtha some have been crucified, others thrown to wild beasts; a few, whose lives were spared, in gloomy dungeons amid sorrow and lamentation drag out an existence worse than death. 16 But if all that I have lost, or all that has turned from affection to hostility, remained untouched, even then, if any unexpected misfortune had befallen me, I should appeal to you, Fathers of the Senate, whom it befits, because of the extent of your dominion, to take under your care all matters of right and wrong everywhere. 17 As it is, however, an exile from home and country, alone, and stripped of all that becomes my station, where shall I take refuge or to whom shall I appeal? To nations or kings, all of whom are hostile to our family because of our friendship for you? To what land can I turn and not find there many a record of my ancestors' acts of hostility? Can anyone feel compassion for us who was ever your enemy? 18 Finally, Fathers of the Senate, Masinissa instructed us to attach ourselves to none save the Roman people and to contract no new leagues and alliances; he declared that in your friendship there would be for us all an ample protection, and that, if the fortune of your empire should change, we must fall with it.
19 "Through valour and the favour of the gods you are mighty and powerful, all things are favourable and yield obedience to you; hence you may the more readily have regard to the wrongs of your allies. 20 My only fear is lest private friendship for Jugurtha, the true character of which is not evident, may lead some of your number astray; for I hear that his partisans are using every effort, and are soliciting and entreating each of you separately not to pass any judgment upon him in his absence without p165 a hearing. They declare that I am speaking falsely and feigning the necessity for flight, when I might have remained in my own kingdom. 21 As to that, I hope that I may yet see the man through whose impious crime I have been subjected to these woes making the same pretence, and that at last either you or the immortal gods may begin to take thought for human affairs! Then of a truth that wretch, who now exults and glories in his crimes, will be tortured by ills of every kind and pay a heavy penalty for his treachery to our father, for the murder of my brother, and for my unhappiness.
22 "At last, brother dearest to my heart, although life has been taken from you untimely by the last hand that should have been raised against you, yet your fate seems to me a cause for joy rather than for sorrow. 23 For when you lost your life it was not your throne you lost, but it was flight, exile, want and all these woes which weigh me down. While I, poor wretch, hurled from my father's throne into this sea of troubles, present a tragedy of human vicissitude, being at a loss what course to take, whether to try to avenge your wrongs when I myself am in need of aid, or to take thought for my throne when the very question of my life or death hangs upon the help of others. 24 Would that death were an honourable means of escape for one of my estate! Would that, worn out by affliction, I could succumb to oppression without appearing justly contemptible! As it is, life has no charms for me, but death is impossible without shame.
25 "Fathers of the Senate, I beseech you in your own name, by your children and parents, and by the majesty of the Roman people, aid me in my distress, p167 set your faces against injustice, do not permit the kingdom of Numidia, which belongs to you, to be ruined by villainy and the blood-guiltiness of our family."
15 After the king had finished speaking, the envoys of Jugurtha, who relied rather upon bribery than upon the justice of their cause, replied briefly. They declared that Hiempsal had been slain by the Numidians because of his savage cruelty; the Adherbal after making war without provocation and suffering defeat, was complaining because he had been prevented from inflicting injury. Jugurtha, they said, begged the senate not to think him other than he had shown himself at Numantia, or let the words of an enemy outweigh his own actions.
2 Then both parties left the House and the matter was at once laid before the senate. The partisans of the envoys, and a large number of other senators who had been corrupted by their influence, derided the words of Adherbal and lauded the virtues of Jugurtha; exerting their influence, their eloquence, in short every possible means, they laboured as diligently in defence of the shameful crime of a foreigner as though they were striving to win honour. 3 A few, on the other hand, to whom right and justice were more precious than riches, recommended that aid be given to Adherbal and that the death of Hiempsal be severely punished. 4 Conspicuous among these was Aemilius Scaurus, a noble full of energy, a partisan, greedy for power, fame, and riches, but clever in concealing his faults. 5 As soon as this man saw the king's bribery, so notorious and so brazen, fearing the usual result in such cases, namely, that such gross corruption would arouse popular resentment, he curbed his habitual cupidity.
p169 16 In spite of all, that faction of the senate prevailed which rated money and favour higher than justice. 2 It was voted that ten commissioners should divide Micipsa's former kingdom between Jugurtha and Adherbal. The head of this commission was Lucius Opimius, a distinguished man, who was influential in the senate at that time because in his consulship,21 after bringing about the death of Gaius Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, he had made cruel use of the victory of the nobles over the people. 3 Although at Rome Opimius had been one of Jugurtha's opponents, the king received him with the greatest respect, and soon induced him, by many gifts and promises, to consider Jugurtha's advantage of more consequence than his own fair fame, his honour, and in short, than all personal considerations. 4 Then adopting the same tactics with the other envoys, Jugurtha won over the greater number of them; only a few held their honour dearer than gold. 5 When the division was made, the part of Numidia adjoining Mauretania, which was the more fertile and thickly populated, was assigned to Jugurtha; the other part, preferable in appearance rather than in reality, having more harbours and being provided with more buildings, fell to Adherbal.
17 My subject seems to call for a brief account of the geography of Africa and some description of the nations there with which the people of Rome has had wars or alliances. 2 Of those regions and peoples, however, which are seldom visited because of the heat, the difficulty of access, or the stretches of p171 desert, I could not easily give an account based upon certain information. The rest I shall dispatch in the fewest possible words.
3 In their division of the earth's surface geographers commonly regard Africa as a third part, a few recognize only Asia and Europe, including Africa in the latter.22 4 Africa is bounded on the west by the strait between our sea and the Ocean, on the east by a broad sloping tract which the natives call Catabathmos.23 5 The sea is rough and without harbours, the soil fertile in grain, and favourable to flocks and herds but unproductive of trees; heaven and earth are niggardly of water.24 6 The natives are healthy, swift of foot, and of great endurance. They commonly die of old age, unless they fall victims to the steel or to wild beasts; for disease seldom gets the better of any of them. Moreover the country abounds in dangerous wild animals.
7 What men inhabited Africa originally, and who came later, or how the races mingled, I shall tell as briefly as possible. Although my account varies from the prevailing tradition, I give it as it was translated to me from the Punic books said to have been written by king Hiempsal,25 and in accordance with what the dwellers in that land believe. But the responsibility for its truth will rest with my authorities.
18 In the beginning Africa was inhabited by the Gaetulians and Libyans, rude and uncivilized folk, who fed like beasts on the flesh of wild p173 animals and the fruits of the earth. 2 They were governed neither by institutions26 nor law, nor were they subject to anyone's rule. A restless, roving people, they had their abodes wherever night compelled a halt.
3 But when Hercules died in Spain, as the Africans believe, the men of divers nationalities who formed his army, now that their leader was gone and since there were many on every hand who aspired to succeed him, soon dispersed. 4 Of those who made up the army, the Medes, Persians and Armenians crossed by ships into Africa 5 and settled in the regions nearest to our sea, the Persians closer to the Ocean;27 and these used as huts the inverted hulls of their ships; for there was no timber in the land, and there was no opportunity to obtain it from the Spaniards by purchase or barter, 6 since the wide expanse of sea and ignorance of the language were a bar to intercourse. 7 The Persians intermarried with the Gaetulians and were gradually merged with them, and because they often moved from place to place trying the soil, they called themselves Nomads.28 8 It is an interesting fact, that even to the present day the dwellings of the rustic Numidians, which they call mapalia, are oblong and have roofs with curved sides, like the hulls of ships.
9 But the Medes and the Armenians had the Libyans as their nearest neighbours; for that people lived closer to the Afric sea,29 while the Gaetulians were farther to the south, not far from the regions of heat. These three peoples30 soon had towns; for being separated from the Spaniards only by the strait, p175 they began to exchange wares with them. 10 The Libyans gradually altered the name of the Medes, calling them in their barbarian tongue Mauri (Moors).31
11 Now the commonwealth of the Persians32 soon increased and finally the younger generation, under the name of Numidians, separated from their parents because of the excess of population and took possession of the region next to Carthage, which is called Numidia. 12 Then both peoples,33 relying upon each other's aid, brought their neighbours under their sway by arms or by fear and acquired renown and glory, especially those who had come near to our sea, because the Libyans are less warlike than the Gaetulians. Finally, the greater part of northern Africa fell into the hands of the Numidians, and all the vanquished were merged in the race and name of their rulers.
19 Later the Phoenicians, sometimes for the sake of ridding themselves of the superfluous population at home, sometimes from desire for dominion tempting away the commons and others who were desirous of a change, founded Hippo,34 Hadrumetum, Lepcis,35 and other cities on the coast. These soon became very powerful and were in some cases a defence and in others a glory to the mother city. 2 As to Carthage, I think it better to be silent rather than say too little, since time warns me to hasten on to other topics.
p177 3 In the neighbourhood, then, of the Catabathmos, the region which separates Egypt from Africa, the first city as you follow the coast36 is Cyrene,37 a colony of Thera, and then come the two Syrtes38 with Lepcis39 between them. Next we come to the altars of the Philaeni, the point which the Carthaginians regarded as marking the boundary between their empire and Egypt; then other Punic cities. 4 The rest of the region as far as Mauretania is held by the Numidians, while the people nearest Spain are the Moors. 5 South of Numidia, we are told, are the Gaetulians, some of whom live in huts, while others lead a less civilized nomadic life. 6 Still farther to the south are the Aethiopians, and then come the regions parched by the sun's heat.
7 Now at the time of the war with Jugurtha the Romans were governing through their officials nearly all the Punic cities, as well as the territory which in their latter days40 had belonged to the Carthaginians. The greater number of the Gaetulians, and Numidia as far as the river Muluccha, were subject to Jugurtha. All the Moors were ruled by king Bocchus, who knew nothing of the Roman people save their name and was in turn unknown to us before that time either in peace or in war.
8 This account of Africa and its peoples is enough for my purpose.
20 As soon as the deputies left Africa, after dividing the kingdom, and Jugurtha found, in spite of his secret fears, that he had gained the price of his p179 crime, he felt convinced of the truth of what he had heard from his friends at Numantia, that at Rome anything could be bought.41 Accordingly, he began to covet Adherbal's kingdom, spurred on besides by the promises of those whom he had shortly before loaded with presents. 2 He himself was active and warlike, while his intended victim was quiet, peaceful, of a tranquil disposition, open to attack and rather inclined to fear than an object of fear. 3 Therefore when Jugurtha suddenly invaded Adherbal's territory with a large force, he took many prisoners, as well as cattle and other plunder, set fire to buildings, and raided several places with his cavalry. 4 He then withdrew with his entire force into his own kingdom, supposing that Adherbal would be led by resentment to resort to force in order to avenge the wrongs which had been done him, and that this would furnish a pretext for war. 5 Adherbal, however, realizing that in arms he was no match for his rival and putting more trust in the friendship of the Roman people than in the Numidians, sent envoys to Jugurtha to protest against the outrages; and although they brought back an insulting answer, he resolved to put up with anything rather than resort to war, which he had already tried with so little success. 6 This, however, did not diminish the ardour of Jugurtha, who in his mind's eye had already seized all Adherbal's realm. 7 He therefore began to wage war, not as before with a predatory band, but with a great army which he had got together, and to lay claim openly to the sovereignty of all Numidia. 8 Wherever he went he laid waste cities and fields and drove off booty, thus inspiring his own followers with confidence and striking the enemy with fear.
p181 21 When Adherbal perceived that matters had gone so far that he must either give up his kingdom or retain it by force of arms, he yielded to necessity, mustered an army, and went to meet Jugurtha. 2 At first the two armies encamped not far from the sea near the town of Cirta, but because it was late in the day they did not join battle. When the greater part of the night had passed but while it was still dark, the soldiers of Jugurtha on a given signal attacked the camp of the enemy, surprised them either half asleep or just taking up arms, and routed them. Adherbal with a few horsemen fled to Cirta, and if it had not been for the throng of Roman civilians, who held off the pursuing Numidians from the walls, the war between the two kings would have begun and ended on the selfsame day. 3 Jugurtha thereupon invested the town and attempted to carry it by mantlets,42 towers and engines of all kinds, making all haste to anticipate the coming of the envoys, who, as he had heard, had been sent to Rome by Adherbal before the battle was fought.
4 Now after the senate heard that they were at war, three young men were despatched to Africa, with instructions to approach both kings and announce in the name of the Roman senate and people that it was their desire and command that the combatants should lay down their arms and settle their disagreement by law rather than by war; that this was due both to the Romans and to themselves.
22 The envoys soon arrived in Africa, making the more haste because, as they were preparing to leave Rome, word came that the battle had taken p183 place and that Cirta was besieged; but the rumour failed to do justice to the reality. 2 When Jugurtha heard their message, he rejoined that nothing had more weight and nothing was more precious to him than the will of the senate; from youth up he had striven to win the approval of all good men; it was by merit, not by baseness, that he had found favour with the great Publius Scipio, and it was for the same qualities that Micipsa had made him heir to a part of his kingdom, not because the king lacked children. 3 But, he said, the more numerous his acts of virtue and courage had been, the less his spirit was able to brook wrongs. 4 Adherbal had treacherously plotted against his life, and he had discovered and resisted the criminal attempt. The people of Rome would act neither justly nor rightly,43 if they denied him the privileges of the law of nations. In conclusion, he said that he would soon send envoys to Rome to explain the whole affair. 5 Thereupon both parties separated; no opportunity was allowed of addressing Adherbal.
23 Jugurtha waited until he thought that the envoys had left Africa, and then, finding himself unable to take Cirta by storm because of its natural strength, surrounded its wall with a rampart and a ditch. He built towers and filled them with armed men, attacked besides day and night either with force or craft, now offering bribes to the defenders and now threats, rousing his own men to courage by exhortations and displaying the greatest vigour in all his efforts.
2 When Adherbal saw that all his fortunes were in jeopardy, that his enemy was implacable, that there was no hope of succour, and that because of lack of p185 the necessities of life he could not endure a protracted war, he selected two of the boldest of the soldiers who had fled with him to Cirta. These he induced by many promises, and by dwelling upon his desperate plight, to make their way through the enemy's lines by night to the nearest sea-coast, and from there to Rome.
24 Within a few days these Numidians had carried out Adherbal's instructions, and a letter of his was read in the senate, of which the substance was as follows:
2 "It is no fault of mine, Fathers of the Senate, that I often address an appeal to you; on the contrary, I am constrained by the violence of Jugurtha, who is possessed with such a desire for my destruction that he regards neither you nor the immortal Gods, but above everything thirsts for my blood. 3 Hence it is that I, though an ally and friend of the Roman people, have now for more than four months been held in a state of siege, and that neither the services of my father Micipsa nor your decrees avail me; whether sword or famine press harder one I know not. 4 My condition would dissuade me from writing more about Jugurtha; for I have already learned that little confidence is bestowed upon the unfortunate. 5 Except that I feel sure that he is aiming at a higher mark than myself, and that he does not hope at the same time for your friendship and my kingdom. Which of these two he values the more highly is evident to everyone; 6 for he first slew Hiempsal, my brother, and then drove me from my father's kingdom. With my personal wrongs you have no concern, 7 but it is your realm that he now holds by force of arms, and it is I, whom you made p187 ruler of Numidia, that he is besieging. How much regard he has for the commands of your envoys is shown by my perilous state. 8 What is there left but your might which can influence him? 9 For my own part, I could wish that these words which I am now writing, and the complaints which I have already made in the senate, were false, rather than that they should be proved true by my own wretchedness. 10 But since I was created merely to be a monument to Jugurtha's crimes, I no longer pray to be spared death or unhappiness, but only that I may escape the tyranny of an enemy and bodily torment. As to Numidia, which is yours, take any action you choose, but save me from impious hands, I implore you by the majesty of your empire and by the loyalty of your friendship, if you retain any memory at all of my grandfather Masinissa."
25 Upon the reading of this letter some were for sending an army to Africa and rendering aid to Adherbal as soon as possible, recommending that in the meantime the senate should take cognizance of Jugurtha's failure to obey the envoys. 2 But those same partisans of the king to whom I have already referred used every effort to prevent the passing of such a decree. 3 Thus, as happens in many instances, the public welfare was sacrificed to private interests. 4 Nevertheless men of years and rank, who had held the highest offices of state, were sent to Africa, among them Marcus Scaurus, of whom I have already spoken, and ex-consul and at the time the leader of the senate.
5 These men, influenced by the public indignation and also by the prayers of the Numidians, embarked within three days. Landing shortly afterward at p189 Utica, they sent a letter to Jugurtha, directing him to come as speedily as possible to the Roman province, adding that they had been sent to him by the senate. 6 When Jugurtha learned that men of distinction, whose influence at Rome was said to be powerful, had come to oppose his attempt, he was at first greatly disturbed and began to waver between fear and greed. 7 He dreaded the senate's wrath in case he disobeyed the envoys; at the same time his spirit, blinded by cupidity, urged him to consummate his crime. 8 But in his greedy soul the worst counsel prevailed. 9 Accordingly he surrounded Cirta with his army, and made a supreme effort to carry the town, having great hopes that by extending the enemy's line of defence he might find an opportunity for victory either in force or in stratagem. 10 But when he was disappointed in this and thwarted in his purpose of getting Adherbal into his power before meeting the envoys, he was unwilling by further delay to exasperate Scaurus, whom he particularly feared; he therefore came into our province with a few horsemen. 11 But although terrible threats were made in the name of the senate because he did not abandon the siege, the envoys went away unsuccessful after wasting a deal of oratory.
26 When this was reported at Cirta, the Italiotes,44 on whose valour the defence of the town depended, were confident that in the event of surrender they would escape injury because of the prestige of Rome. 2 They therefore advised Adherbal to deliver himself and the town to Jugurtha, stipulating merely that his life should be spared and leaving the rest to the senate. But Adherbal, though he thought that anything was better than trusting to p191 Jugurtha, yet because the Italiotes were in a position to use compulsion if he opposed them, surrendered on the terms which they had advised. 3 Thereupon Jugurtha first tortured Adherbal to death and then made an indiscriminate massacre of all the adult Numidians and of traders whom he found with arms in their hands.
27 When this outrage became known at Rome and the matter was brought up for discussion in the senate, those same tools of the king, by interrupting the discussions and wasting time, often through their personal influence, often by wrangling, tried to disguise the atrocity of the deed. 2 And had not Gaius Memmius, tribune of the commons elect, a man of spirit who was hostile to the domination of the nobles, made it clear to the populace of Rome that the motive of these tactics was to condone Jugurtha's crime through the influence of a few of his partisans, the deliberations would undoubtedly have been protracted until all indignation had evaporated: so great was the power of the king's influence and money. 3 But when the senate from consciousness of guilt began to fear the people, Numidia and Italy, as the Sempronian law45 required, were assigned to the consuls who should next be elected. The consuls in question were Publius Scipio Nasica and Lucius Calpurnius Bestia; 4 Numidia fell to Bestia, Italy to Scipio. 5 An army was then enrolled to be transported to Africa, the soldiers' pay and other necessaries of war were voted.
28 When Jugurtha heard this unexpected news (for he had a firm conviction that at Rome anything could be bought) he sent his son, and with him two friends, as envoys to the senate, giving them the p193 same directions that he had given those whom he sent after murdering Hiempsal, namely, to try the power of money on everybody. 2 As this deputation drew near the city, Bestia referred to the senate the question whether they would consent to receive Jugurtha's envoys within the walls. The members thereupon decreed that unless the envoys had come to surrender the king and his kingdom, they must leave Italy within the next ten days. 3 The consul gave orders that the Numidians should be notified of the senate's action; they therefore went home without fulfilling their mission.
4 Meanwhile Calpurnius, having levied his army, chose as his lieutenants men of noble rank and strong party spirit, by whose influence he hoped that any misdeeds of his would be upheld. 5 Among these was Scaurus, whose character and conduct I described a short time ago.46 For though our consul possessed many excellent qualities of mind and body, they were all nullified by avarice. He had great endurance, a keen intellect, no little foresight, considerable military experience, and a stout heart in the face of dangers and plots. 6 Now the legions were transported across Italy to Rhegium, from there to Sicily, from Sicily to Africa. 7 Then Calpurnius, having provided himself with supplies, began by making a vigorous attack on the Numidians, taking many prisoners and storming several of their towns.
29 But when Jugurtha through his emissaries began to try the power of money upon Calpurnius and to point out the difficulty of the war which he was conducting, the consul's mind, demoralized as it was by avarice, was easily turned from its purpose. 2 Moreover, he took Scaurus as an accomplice and tool p195 in all his designs; for although at first, even after many of his own party had been seduced, Scaurus had vigorously opposed the king, a huge bribe had turned him from honour and virtue to criminality. 3 At first, however, Jugurtha merely purchased a delay in hostilities, thinking that he could meanwhile effect something at Rome by bribery or by his personal interest. But as soon as he learned that Scaurus was implicated, he conceived a strong hope of gaining peace, and decided to discuss all the conditions in person with the envoys.
4 But meanwhile, as a token of good faith, the consul sent his quaestor Sextius to Vaga, a town of Jugurtha's, ostensibly to receive the grain which Calpurnius had publicly demanded of the envoys in return for observing an armistice until a surrender should be arranged. 5 Thereupon the king, as he had agreed, came to the camp and after he had spoken a few words in the presence of the council47 in justification of his conduct and had asked to be received in surrender, he arranged the rest privately with Bestia and Scaurus. Then on the next day an irregular vote48 was taken and the surrender accepted. 6 As had been ordered before the council, thirty elephants, many cattle and horses, with a small amount of silver49 were handed over to the quaestor. 7 Calpurnius went to Rome p197 to preside at the elections. In Numidia and in our army peace reigned.
30 When the news was circulated at Rome of what had happened in Africa, and how it was brought about, the consul's conduct was discussed wherever men gathered together. The commons were highly indignant, while the senators were in suspense and unable to make up their minds whether to condone such an outrage or to set aside the consul's decree. 2 In particular the power of Scaurus, who was reported to be Bestia's abettor and accomplice, deterred them from acting justly and honourably. 3 But while the senate delayed and hesitated, Gaius Memmius, of whose independence and hatred of the power of the nobles I have already spoken,50 urged the assembled people to vengeance, warned them not to prove false to their country and their own liberties, pointed out the many arrogant and cruel deeds of the nobles: in short, did his utmost in every way to inflame the minds of the commons. 4 And since the eloquence of Memmius was famous and potent in Rome at that time,51 I have thought it worth while to reproduce one of his numerous speeches, and I shall select the one which he delivered before the people after the return of Bestia. It ran as follows:
31 "Were not devotion to our country paramount, I should be deterred, fellow citizens, from addressing you by many considerations: the power of the dominant faction, your spirit of submission, the absence of justice, and especially because more danger than honour awaits integrity. 2 Some things, p199 indeed, I am ashamed to speak of how during the past fifteen years you have been the sport of a few men's insolence; how shamefully your defenders have perished unavenged; 3 how your own spirits have been so demoralized because of weakness and cowardice that you do not rise even now, when your enemies are in your power, but still fear those in whom you ought to inspire fear. 4 But although conditions are such, yet my spirit prompts me to brave the power of this faction. 5 At least, I shall make use of the freedom of speech which is my inheritance from my father; but whether I shall do so in vain or to good purpose lies in your hands, my countrymen. 6 I do not urge you to take up arms against your oppressors, as your fathers often did; there is no need of violence, none of secession. They must go to ruin their own way.52 7 After the murder of Tiberius Gracchus, whom they accused of trying to make himself king, prosecutions were instituted against the Roman commons.53 Again, after Gaius Gracchus and Marcus Fulvius were slain, many men of your order suffered death in the dungeon.54 In both cases bloodshed was ended, not by law, but by the caprice of the victors.
8 "But let us admit that to restore their rights to the commons was the same thing as to aspire to royal power, and that whatever cannot be avenged without shedding the blood of citizens was justly done. 9 In former years you were silently indignant that the treasury was pillaged, that kings and free peoples paid tribute to a few nobles, that those nobles possessed supreme glory and vast wealth. Yet they were not satisfied with having committed with impunity these p201 great crimes, and so at last the laws, your sovereignty, and all things human and divine have been delivered to your enemies. 10 And they who have done these things are neither ashamed nor sorry, but they walk in grandeur before your eyes, some flaunting their priesthoods and consulships, others their triumphs, just as if these were honours and not stolen goods.
11 "Slaves bought with a price do not put up with unjust treatment from their masters; will you, Roman citizens born to power, endure slavery with patience? 12 But who are they who have seized upon our country? Men stained with crime, with gory hands, of monstrous greed, guilty, yet at the same time full of pride, who have made honour, reputation, loyalty, in short everything honourable and dishonourable, a source of gain. 13 Some of them are safeguarded by having slain tribunes of the commons, others by unjust prosecutions, many by having shed your blood. 14 Thus the more atrocious the conduct, the greater the safety. They have shifted fear from their crimes to your cowardice,55 united as they are by the same desires, the same hatred, the same fears. 15 This among good men constitutes friendship; among the wicked it is faction. 16 But if your love of freedom were as great as the thirst for tyranny which spurs them on, surely our country would not be torn asunder as it now is, and your favours would be bestowed on the most virtuous, not on the most reckless. 17 Your forefathers, to assert their legal rights and establish their sovereignty, twice seceded and took armed possession of the Aventine;56 will you p203 not exert yourself to the utmost in order to retain the liberty which they bequeathed to you? And will you not show the greater ardour, because it is more shameful to lose what has been won than never to have won it?
18 "I seem to hear someone say, 'What then do you advise?' I reply, 'Let those who have betrayed their country to the enemy be punished, not by arms or by violence, which it is less becoming for you to inflict than for them to suffer, but by the courts and Jugurtha's own testimony. 19 If he is a prisoner of war, he will surely be obedient to your commands; but if he scorns them, you may well ask yourself what kind of peace or surrender that is from which Jugurtha has gained impunity for his crimes and a few powerful men immense wealth, while our country suffers damage and disgrace. 20 Unless haply you are not even yet sated with their domination, unless these times57 please you less than the days when kingdoms, provinces, statutes, laws, courts, war and peace, in short all things human and divine, were in the hands of a few; and when you, that is to say the Roman people, unconquered by your enemies, rulers of all nations, were content to retain the mere breath of life. For which of you dared to refuse slavery?
21 "For my own part, although I consider it most shameful for a true man to suffer wrong without taking vengeance, yet I could willingly allow you to pardon those most criminal of men, since they are your fellow citizens, were it not that mercy would end in destruction. 22 For such is their insolence that they are not satisfied to have done evil with impunity, p205 unless the opportunity for further wrong-doing be wrung from you; and you will be left in eternal anxiety, because of the consciousness that you must either submit to slavery or use force to maintain your freedom.
23 "Pray, what hope have you of mutual confidence or harmony? They wish to be tyrants, you to be free; they desire to inflict injury, you to prevent it; finally, they treat our allies as enemies and our enemies as allies. 24 Are peace and friendship compatible with sentiments so unlike? 25 They are not, and therefore I warn and implore you not to let such wickedness go unscathed. It is not a matter of plundering the treasury or of extorting money from our allies — serious crimes, it is true, but so common now-a‑days as to be disregarded. Nay, the senate's dignity has been prostituted to a ruthless enemy, your sovereignty has been betrayed, your country has been offered for sale at home and abroad. 26 Unless cognizance is taken of these outrages, unless the guilty are punished, what will remain except to pass our lives in submission to those who are guilty of these acts? For to do with impunity whatever one fancies is to be king. 27 I am not urging you, Romans, to rejoice rather in the guilt than in the innocence of your fellow citizens; but you should not insist upon ruining the good by pardoning the wicked. 28 Moreover, in a republic it is far better to forget a kindness than an injury. The good man merely becomes less active in well doing when you neglect him, but the bad man grows more wicked. 29 Finally, if there should be no wrongs, you would not often need help."58
p207 32 By repeating these and similar sentiments Memmius induced the people to send Lucius Cassius, who was praetor at the time, to Jugurtha. Cassius was instructed to bring the king to Rome under pledge of public protection, in order that through his testimony the offences of Scaurus and the rest who were accused of taking bribes might the more readily be disclosed.
2 While all this was going on at Rome, those who had been left by Bestia in command of the army in Numidia, following their general's example, were guilty of many shameless misdeeds. 3 Some were induced by bribes to return his elephants to Jugurtha, others sold him his deserters, and a part plundered those who were at peace with us: 4 so strong was the love of money which had attacked their minds like a pestilence. 5 But when, to the consternation of all the nobility, the bill of Gaius Memmius was passed, the praetor Cassius went to Jugurtha and, in spite of the king's fears and the distrust due to his guilty conscience, persuaded him that since he had surrendered himself to the Roman people, it would be better to experience their mercy than their force. He also gave Jugurtha his personal pledge of safety, which the king rated no less highly than that of the state; such was the repute which Cassius enjoyed at that time.
33 Accordingly Jugurtha, exchanging the pomp of a king for a garb especially designed to excite pity, came to Rome with Cassius; 2 and although personally he possessed great assurance, yet with the encouragement of all those through whose power or guilt he had committed the numerous crimes that I have mentioned he won over Gaius Baebius,59 a p209 tribune of the commons, by a heavy bribe, that through this officer's effrontery he might be protected against the strong arm of the law and against all personal violence. 3 But when Gaius Memmius had called an assembly of the people, the commons were so exasperated at the king that some demanded that he should be imprisoned, others that if he did not reveal the accomplices in his guilt, he should be punished as an enemy after the usage of our forefathers.60 But Memmius, taking counsel of propriety rather than of resentment, quieted their excitement and soothed their spirits, finally declaring that, so far as it was in his power to prevent it, the public pledge should not be broken. 4 Afterwards, when silence followed and Jugurtha was brought out, Memmius made an address, recalled the king's actions at Rome and in Numidia, and described his crimes against his father and brothers. He said to him that although the Roman people were aware through whose encouragement and help the king had done these things, yet they wished clearer testimony from his own lips. If he would reveal the truth, he had much to hope for from the good faith and mercy of the Roman people, but if he kept silence, he could not save his accomplices and would ruin himself and his hopes.
34 When Memmius had finished and Jugurtha was bidden to reply, Gaius Baebius, the tribune of the commons who, as I just said, had been bribed, thereupon bade the king hold his peace. And although the populace, who were gathered in assembly, were greatly excited and tried to intimidate the tribune by shouting, by angry looks, often by threatening gestures and all the other means which anger prompts, yet his impudence triumphed. 2 Hence p211 the people left the assembly after being made ridiculous, while Jugurtha, Bestia, and the others who were fearful of conviction, recovered their assurance.
35 There was in Rome at that time a Numidian named Massiva, a son of Gulussa and grandson of Masinissa, who had taken sides against Jugurtha in the quarrel of the kings and had fled from Africa after the capture of Cirta and the death of Adherbal. 2 This man was persuaded by Spurius Albinus, who was holding the consulship with Quintus Minucius Rufus61 the year after Bestia, to ask the senate for the throne of Numidia, since he was descended from Masinissa and since Jugurtha was feared and hated for his crimes. 3 For the consul was eager to make war, and preferred a state of general confusion to inactivity. 4 He had drawn62 Numidia as his province, while Minucius had Macedonia. When Massiva began to push past these designs, Jugurtha found little support in his friends, some of whom were hampered by a bad conscience, others by ill repute and fear. He therefore directed Bomilcar, his nearest and most trusted attendant, to bring about Massiva's assassination by the use of money, through which the king had already accomplished so much. He asked him to do this secretly, if possible; but if secrecy were not possible, to slay the Numidian in any way he could.
5 Bomilcar hastened to carry out the king's orders and through men who were adepts in such business he kept track of Massiva's comings and goings; in short, found out where he was at all times. Finally, when the opportunity came, he set his trap. 6 Thereupon one of those who had been hired to do the murder attacked Massiva somewhat incautiously; he p213 slew his victim, but was himself caught, and at the solicitation of many, in particular of Albinus the consul, he made a full confession. 7 Bomilcar was brought to trial rather from the demands of equity and justice than in accordance with the law of nations, inasmuch as he was in the company of one who had come to Rome under pledge of public protection.
8 Jugurtha, however, although he was clearly responsible for so flagrant a crime, did not cease to resist the evidence, until he realized that the indignation at the deed was too strong even for his influence and his money. 9 Therefore, although in the first stage of the trial63 he had given fifty of his friends as sureties,64 yet having an eye rather to his throne than to the sureties, he sent Bomilcar secretly to Numidia, fearing that if he paid the penalty, the rest of his subjects would fear to obey his orders. A few days later he himself returned home, being ordered by the senate to leave Italy. 10 After going out of the gates, it is said that he often looked back at Rome in silence and finally said, "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!"
1 Sallust was writing in the troublous times which followed the assassination of Caesar.
5 Such as Cato, who was an unsuccessful candidate for the praetorship in 55 B.C.
6 Referring both to the Gauls admitted by Julius Caesar to the "orcini," so called from Orcus apparently, because Mark Antony pretended that they had been designated as senators in Caesar's will; see Suetonius, Jul. 80; Aug. 35.
7 A Roman had the right to make waxen masks of those of his ancestors who had held a curule office (consul, praetor, censor, or curule aedile) and keep them in the atrium of his house. They were worn in funerals of members of the family by actors who impersonated the dead, and were exhibited on other solemn occasions.
9 Or perhaps "they," i.e. populus Romanus.
10 As compared with Hiempsal and Adherbal, the sons of Micipsa.
12 Referring to the exploits of Masinissa.
14 The term lictor is transferred from Roman usage. It is not probable that the Numidians had adopted the Roman custom.
15 That is, every evening.
18 That is, the alliance with Rome offered more hope for the future than aid in the immediate present.
19 Those enemies, namely, which their alliance with Rome forced upon them.
21 In 121 B.C. He led the attack against the Aventine, where Gaius Gracchus and his followers had taken refuge, and offered for the heads of the rebels their quite in gold. It is said that three thousand men were slain in the streets of Rome or in the proscriptions which followed.
22 Herodotus (2.16) criticises the threefold division of the Ionian geographers, which is accepted by Strabo, 17.1;º Varro (Ling. Lat. 5.3.1)º adopts the twofold division. The much later author Procopius adopts it as well, but gives Africa to Asia rather than to Europe (B. V. I.1.4‑8).
23 "The Descent"; it lay between the Cyrenaica and Egypt, and was regarded by Sallust and others as a part of Asia.
24 That is, there is little rainfall and few lakes and streams.
25 Not the brother of Adherbal, but a second king of the same name, father of Pompey's ally Juba.
27 That is, outside of the strait connecting the Atlantic with the Mediterranean.
28 Nomades, "wanderers," and Numidae, "Numidians," are identical. The Greek word νομάδες probably came to Africa by way of Sicily.
29 The western part of the Mediterranean.
30 The Medes, Armenians and Libyans.
31 The derivation of Mauri from Medi is of course impossible. The Moors seem to have been of Aethiopian origin.
32 That is, the Persians and Gaetulians.
33 The older Numidians (Persians) and Gaetulians near the Ocean and those who had settled near Carthage.
34 Probably Hippo Diarrhytus, near Utica, rather than Hippo Regius, which was farther to the west.
That article, a compendium of archaeological news for the year 1927, merely includes, in reporting the Italian excavations at Lepcis, a sentence with the parenthetical "(the traditional spelling Leptis is to be corrected in the light of inscriptions)".
36 To the westward, setting out from the Catabathmos.
38 Sallust's brevity makes him unclear. The order is: Greater Syrtis, Philaenae Arae, Leptis Magna, Lesser Syrtis.
42 Movable sheds with sloping roofs used as a shelter for soldiers working the artillery or trying to undermine the wall.
47 A council of war, called to consider the terms of surrender. Such a council commonly consisted of the legati, tribunes, and chief centurions.
48 That is, all the questions involved were voted on together in a confused and irregular manner. Festus, s.v. satura, says: satura est cibi genus ex variis rebus conditum et lex multis rebus conferta (an "omnibus" bill). He adds: Itaque in sanctione legum adscribitur: neve per saturam abrogato aut derogato: i.e. no existing law is to be abrogated by a vote of that kind.
49 This payment to the state was apart from the private arrangement with Scaurus and Bestia.
52 That is, through their own vices and crimes.
53 Before a special tribunal formed to try the supporters of Tiberius Gracchus for treason.
55 That is, "they ought to feel fear because of their crimes, but you feel it instead because of your cowardice."
56 There was only one secession to the Aventine, in 449 B.C. Other secessions were to the Mons Sacer in 494 and to the Janiculum in 287.
57 "The contrast lies between the recent period of oppression and the chance which is now presented of punishing the guilty rulers" (Capes).
58 The meaning appears to be that the people would not need to bestow favours in return for protection, or to secure protection in the future, and hence would be more independent.
59 That is, although Jugurtha had plenty of assurance, he nevertheless took the advice of his friends and did not rely upon his impudence alone, but added the support of Baebius.
61 110 B.C.
63 When the accused was admitted to bail.
64 For Bomilcar's appearance.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 4 Sep 20