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embassies passed to and fro without result, till it was time for Metellus to leave the province.
Marius was meanwhile enjoying his triumph over the Roman nobility, and openly calling his consulship the spoils of their conquest. The Senate are said to have ordered a new levy the more readily as a means of emperilling the consul's popularity. But volunteers came forward in abundance from the bravest men of Italy, secure of fame and booty under such a leader. When all was ready for the enrolment, Marius called an assembly of the people, and harangued them, not certainly in the words which Sallust puts into his mouth, but in the blunt speech of a rude soldier,—on his own merits as illustrating the virtues of the people from whom he had sprung,— on the vices and corruption of the nobles, as proving the degeneracy of their race. So consistently did he adhere to these principles, that in selecting his recruits from all who were willing to serve, without regard to the classes of Servius Tullius, he even gave a preference to the "Capite Censi," who were usually called out only to ward off a pressing danger from the city. This statement, when divested of Sallust's rhetoric, seems to imply, as Mr. Long observes, "that many of the better sort were not very eager for an African campaign, and would gladly let others have the labour and profit of it. If Marius cleared Rome of her rabble, he did the state good service in two ways. As to making his recruits into soldiers, he had no doubt about that." In the end, he led over a greater number than had been fixed by the Senate to Africa, whither his legate A. Manlius had preceded him with money, material, and arms. Metellus, with the shame of wounded pride, left his legate to hand over the command, and returned to Rome to enjoy a triumph, with the new title of Numidicus, and to inveigh against the tribunes who had espoused the cause of Marius in the bitterest language of aristocratic scorn (b.c. 107).
Marius, on arriving in his province, led his army into the fertile regions of Numidia, at once to exercise his new recruits and to gratify their desire for plunder. By Jugurtha's advice, the two kings divided their forces, in the hope of surprising detached bodies of the Romans. Bocchus held aloof, sending friendly messages to Marius, while Jugurtha led his Gaetulians on a predatory incursion into the province of Africa. In order to put an end to this desultory warfare, and to rival the fame which Metellus had acquired by the capture of Thala, Marius planned an expedition against Capsa (G/ia/sa), a hill fortress in an oasis still further within the Tunisian desert. The details of his operaB.C. 107.] EXPEDITION TO THE MOLOCHATH. 65
tions are difficult to trace. All we know for certain is, that he caused his cavalry to advance before the main body, collecting and driring before them vast herds of bullocks, which supplied food for the soldiers; and their skins, carefully preserved, were filled with water at a river which they reached on the sixth day of the march. Then, setting forward at sunset, marching by night and resting by day, Marius arrived on the third night, long before daybreak, on an eminence within two miles of Capsa, where he concealed his forces as well as he could. In the morning, the cavalry of Jugurtha came pouring out of the town with all the disorder of irregular troops that have no fear of an enemy at hand. Marius sent forward his cavalry and light infantry to seize the gates. The place was completely taken by surprise; the men were massacred, the women and children sold for slaves, and the town plundered and burnt. The other strongholds of Numidia were surrendered or abandoned and destroyed. The Roman soldiers, flushed with fame and booty, adored their general, and the dispirited Africans trembled at his name.
All Numidia being thus subdued, except the force with which •Tugurtha still hovered about the fastnesses of the land, Marius turned his attention towards Mauretania. The rough soldier seems to have been too impatient to temporize with Bocchus, whom his advance to the river Molochath, the boundary of Mauretania, drove into a close alliance with Jugurtha, The only military result of the expedition was the capture, by a happy accident, of a fort which had almost baffled the whole Roman army; and, on the march back to Cirta, Marius was attacked by the united forces of the two kings, and taken completely by surprise. Fortunately the day was near its close, and the habits of Roman discipline, animated by the conduct of Marius, who flew from point to point of the field with a body of his best horsemen, enabled the broken column to form in squares* against the swarms of cavalry that poured around them; till at nightfall they made good their retreat to two hills. The Africans spent the night in noisy rejoicings for an assured victory, but towards morning they fell asleep. They Avere now surprised in their turn by the Romans, with a loss exceeding that of all their previous battles; and the consul continued his retreat On the fourth day, when Cirta was nearly reached, the scouts reported that the enemy were again at hand, and Marius halted to give them battle. The first attack was made by the Moorish horse upon the Roman cavalry on the right wing, under the command of L. Cornelius Sulla, who had joined the army as qusestor just before the march to the Molochath. "While the conflict here was at its height, Bocchus led a fresh body of Mauretanian infantry, who had just come up under his son Volux, against the rear of the Romans. Jugurtha, who was engaged with Marius in the front, hearing the noise of this new attack, flew round with a few men to the scene. Rushing among the foremost combatants, he held up his sword reeking with the blood of a soldier he had just slain, and cried out in the Latin language, which he had learnt at Numantia, that it was useless for the Romans to fight, as he had just slain Marius with his own hand. Terrified as much by his furious gestures as by the news he brought, the Romans were beginning to give way, when Sulla, victorious in his part of the field, fell upon the flank of the Manretanians. Bocchus fled at once; and Jugurtha, surrounded on every side, cut his way through the enemy, escaping alone of all his retinue through the storm of javelins. "This was the last fight of the Numidian king, who, if his ally had been faithful and as bold as himself, might have succeeded in cutting off the Romans' retreat. He had maintained the war against the soldiers of Italy with the skill of a man trained to Roman discipline and the ferocity of an African chief." If we may believe the account which Orosius gives of the battle, it was far more critical than Sallust represents it: it lasted three days, and brought the Romans to the brink of destruction, but in the end the African host of ninety thousand men were annihilated. In this whole campaign Marius carried boldness to the verge of rashness; and the safe return of his army to Cirta was due as much to his good fortune as to his courage and skill in the hour of actual combat*
* We use the modern phrase; but the exact Roman formation in such cases was in solid circular masses, called orbes, into which the instinct of the soldiers enabled those who found themselves together to fall, even without directions from their officers. The orbts correspond to our "rallying squares."
• Sallust represents the whole expedition to the Molochath and the return to Cirta, including the march of about 800 miles and the reduction of several cities on the way, as taking plaee within the period from the taking of Capsa in the autumn to the retirement of the army into winter-quarters. Mr. Long sums up a masterly discussion of the improbabilities of this account in the following terms:—"The conclusion is certain. Sallust was utterly ignorant of the geography of the country, and his narrative is false. It is falso iu the matter of distance, false in the matter of time, and totally unworthy of credit. It may be true that Marius did reach the Mulucha, and besiege a fort near this river ; but the historian, whose object was only effect, has told the story in such a way as to destroy his credibility altogether; and any man who takes the pains to examine his history will be amazed when he reads the terms in which some modern writers have lauded the historian of the Jugurthine war."
B.C. 106-5.] CAPTURE OF JUGURTHA.- 67
The details of the treachery to which a deceiver like Jugurtha Ml the unpitied victim are as confused as they are revolting. It is enough to say that, a few days after the battle, Sulla and 3Ianliu8 were sent as envoys to Bocchus at his own request, and tbat afterwards an embassy, despatched by the Mauretanian king first to the camp of Marius and then to Eome, brought back the Senate's acceptance of his submission, with the assurance that he should have the friendship of the Roman people when he had earned it. All that now remained was to pay the implied price by the surrender of Jugurtha. A letter from Bocchus to Marius requested that Sulla might again be sent to him. Sallust draws a graphic picture of the apparent dangers of the mission, first from the tumultuous host with which Voluxmet the quaestor to conduct him to his father's camp, and then from the appearance of the army of Jugurtha, through the very midst of which Sulla courageously allowed his guide to lead him. To the last moment, Sallust tells us, Bocchus was undecided whether he should give up Jugurtha to Sulla, or Sulla to Jugurtha; "his inclination was against us: his fears made him disposed to the Roman side." Jugurtha seems to have counted on his irresolution; but for once the wily Numidian was outwitted in the game of dissimulation. His amhassador was allowed to be present at a public interview, in which, by a previous arrangement between Sulla and Bocchus, the envoy was told to wait ten days for the king's final decision; but the real business was transacted in a secret meeting during the ensuing night Jugurtha was informed that favourable terms had been obtained for him; but he required Bocchus to prove his fidelity by giving up Sulla to him at a conference to be held on the pretext of arranging the conditions of peace. It is impossible to pity the monster of perfidy who was thus caught in his own snare. Confident in the success of his treacherous plan, Jugurtha came unarmed as was agreed, and with a few confidential friends, to the meeting with Bocchus and Sulla; when the party were surrounded by men who had been placed in ambush. All were killed except Jugurtha, and be was handed over in chains to Sulla, who conducted him to the camp of Marius. He arrived at Rome as a prisoner, with his two sons, just at the time when the consul Mailtos and the proconsul Csepio had been defeated in Gaul by the Cimbri, and Marius was elected by the acclamations of the people as consul for the second time, to retrieve this disaster,* and
'Sallust (Jug. c. 114). The historian furnishes us with a very confused account "! the chronology of the Jugurthine war. It is usually inferred from the course of
remove the fear with which all Italy was trembling. For the wars with these barbarians differed, says the historian, from all others in this, that Rome contended with other nations for glory. with the Gauls for safety; all hope of that safety was now reposed in Marius. Such was his proud position on the 1st of January, B.c. 104, the day on which he at once entered on this second consulship and triumphed over Jugurtha. Before the consul's car there walked in chains, with his two sons, the still noble form of the fierce African, who had been the friend of Scipio, the comrade and corrupter of Roman nobles, an object of execration to the people, a name that had been the watchword of those party conflicts which were never to be healed again. As the victor's procession climbed the slope of the Capitol, the fallen king disappeared, like so many former victims, to be plunged into what he called the "ice-bath " of the Tullianum, there to be strangled or starved to death. But he bequeathed to the rival factions of the state a new source of deadly hatred, and of that jealousy between his captors which was soon to deluge Rome with blood. Even on that day of triumph Marius heard Sulla extolled as the real conqueror of Jugurtha. It was Sulla who had saved the army from defeat: Sulla who had sent the Mauretanian ambassadors to Rome, fixed the wavering counsels of the Mauretanian king, outwitted the treason of Jugurtha, and brought him in fetters to the camp. Bocchus himself had declared to Sulla that his confidence in him had led him to trust the Romans; and Marius was enraged when the king dedicated in the Capitol a sculpture in gold, representing the surrender of Jugurtha to Sulla. To the nobles, discomfited and discredited as they had been by the whole course of this African business, the young Cornelius was pointed out by fate as the avenger of the humiliation to which Marius had subjected Metellus, and as the champion of their order. We shall soon see how fatally he justified their hopes. Meanwhile it is time to cross from the Atlas to the Alps, and to trace the causes of the danger which Marius was now called on to avert.*
his narrative that the surrender of Jugurtha took place about the end of the second year of Marius's command (b.c. 106); but in this passage Sallust distinctly states that the surrender of Jugurtha was about the same time (per idem tempus) as the Gallic disaster, and makes the second election of Marius its immediate consequence ; nor u there any hint that Marius remained in Africa for a whole year after finishing the war. The gap might perhaps be supplied in part, if we knew the true history of the Mauretanian campaign or campaigns, which Sallust compresses into that incredible autumn raid from Capsa to the Molochatli and back again to Cirta.
* Numidia, conquered but not subjugated, and requiring a force which could not well be spared to keep the desert tribes at bay, was not at present constituted a