Jugurtha
Posted by Admin on January 30 2013 05:22:59

Jugurtha

 

JugurthaJugurtha has been made by Sallust the subject of one of the most interesting historical narratives handed down to us from ancient times. The term of Jugurtha's domination coincided with a period of great importance in Roman politics, when the corruption of the nobility came clearly into view, and revolutionary symptoms began to make themselves felt in the Republic. His career, therefore, deserves study rather for its revelation of the internal decay of Roman republican institutions than with reference to African civilization and independence.

 

The kingdom of Numidia, ruled for many years by Masinissa, the faithful any of Rome in the Carthaginian war, extended from Mauretania on the west to Egypt and Cyrene on the east, including, southwards, a great portion of the territory once owned by Carthage and surrounding the Roman province of Africa. On the death of Masinissa the sovereign power was divided among his three sons by order of Scipio Africanus, Micipsa, the eldest, being appointed State Treasurer Gullussa, the second, Minister of War and Mastanabat, the youngest, Minister of Justice.

 

Jugurtha was the natural son of Mastanabal, and during his grandfather's life-time received little notice on account of his illegitimate birth. When Micipsa succeeded to the throne, B.C. 149, he thought it politic to adopt his nephew and have him educated with his own sons, Hiempsal and Adherbal. Jugurtha's superior abilities and his great skill in athletic and military exercises soon made him popular among the Numidians. Micipsa, becoming jealous of bis nephew's influence, sent him at the head of a detachment of troops to aid Scipio, then conducting the Numantine war in Spain, under pretext of proving his loyalty to Rome. Jugurtha, who inherited the tact and capacity of his grandfather as au administrator, had indeed been intriguing with the Numidian subjects of his uncle. He returned from Spain in due time full of honors. The courage and ability he displayed during the campaign had secured for him a strong recommendation from his commander. He had also gained the goodwill of many Roman nobles, who threw out hints to him of making himself sole ruler of Numidia. The Spanish campaign had taught him first, the venality of the Roman nobility, and secondly, the weak and strong points in the Roman military system.

 

Micipsa, on his death-bed, although apprehensive of the result, yet acting on the strength of Scipio's recommendation, bequeathed his kingdom to be ruled jointly by Jugurtha, Adherbal and Hiempsal. Scipio having been appointed Executor of the will, this step was considered guaranteed by the Romans. But the in-concealed jealousy of the brothers and the unprincipled ambition of their cousin soon led to an open rupture they considered Jugurtha an intruder into the regular line of succession, while he considered that his prestige gave him a strong claim to the crown. At their first interview, Hiempsal, who was of an impetuous temper, deeply offended Jugurtha. After this collision the kingdom of Numidia, as well as the treasures of the late king, were divided into three portions, and the princes took up their residence at different towns in the vicinity of the capital, Cirta. Hiempsal had made his home at Thirmidu, in a house belonging to one of Jugurtha's dependents. This afforded an opportunity of introducing a body of armed assassins at the dead of night, who quickly dispatched Hiempsal and all his attendants. Upon this Adherbal and his followers took up arms, but, though superior in numbers, they were defeated, and Adherbal had to take refuge in the Roman province of Africa and thence make his way to Rome, to lay his case before the Senate. Jugurtha also sent ambassadors there without delay, who by a lavish distribution of bribes succeeded in appeasing the senatorial anger. A decree, however, was passed and commissioners quickly appointed to proceed to Numidia and divide the kingdom equally between the two rivals. By the same unscrupulous methods as before, Jugurtha induced the commissioners to assign to him the western and by far the more populous and fertile of the two divisions made.

 

Not satisfied with this, and at the risk of irritating the Romans by contempt of the senatorial decree, Jugurtha now Commenced plundering expeditions into the dominions of Adherbal, with the view of provoking hostilities; but foiled in this by Adherbal's timidity or caution, he threw off all restraint, and openly invaded his rival's territories at the head of a large army. In the battle which ensued Adherbal was defeated, and with difficulty escaped to Cirta, the most strongly fortified city in Numidia. This Jugurtha besieged, but before he could compel a surrender ambassadors arrived from Rome to demand a cessation of hostilities and the acceptance of their mediation between the contending parties. Both demands were rejected, and the envoys returned to Rome.

 

A second embassy arrived from the Senate, at the head of which was Marcus Scaurus, the great hero of the aristocracy, whose imposing presence, it was thought, would bring the refractory king to terms. Jugurtha appeared at Uticea in obedience to the summons of Scaunts, but after wearisome debates the conference was concluded, and the embassy returned without declaring war. Adherbal, now reduced to extremities, and despairing of aid from Rome, agreed to capitulate on condition that the lives of the inhabitants should be spared. The terms of the capitulation were shamefully violated. Adherbal was put to death with cruel tortures, and all the adult population, including many Italian and Roman merchants and traders, were massacred in cold blood, In B.C. When news of this atrocity reached Rome, popular indignation was raised to the highest pitch, but such was the influence of those who had been gained over to Jugurtha's cause by bribery, that the matter would have been overlooked, had not Caius Memmius, a tribune of the people, threatened judicial proceedings against the worst of the king's partisans, and compelled the Senate to declare war on Numidia. Calpurnius Hestia was forthwith dispatched to Africa at the head of a large army, with Marcus Scautius second in command. The avarice of Bestia rendered him easily accessible to the low designs of the Numidian, while it was fouud that If Scaurus, too, was open to bribery, only at a price higher than the average Senators. Peace was purchased by Jugurtha on condition of a pretended submission and the surrender of thirty elephants and a small sum of money.

 

When tidings of this nefarious proceeding' reached Rome, C. Memmius again interposed, and succeeded in having the king summoned to Italy under a safe-conduct, with the view of bringing the contracting parties face to face, and eliciting the exact nature of the negotiations between them. The scheme was frustrated. Jugurtha was brought before the: assembly of the people, but one of the tribunes who had been gained over to the interests of Destia and Seamus, using his power of veto, forbade the king to speak. Jugurtha had now an opportunity of remaining in Rome and engaging in secret intrigues with the nobility, and in all probability his evil designs would have been followed with success, had he not foully compassed the death of his cousin Massiva, who had taken refuge in Rome after the massacre at Cirta, and was now using his in8uence against Jugurtha with a view to supplanting him on the Numidian throne. This daring outrage} perpetrated under the eyes of the senators, could not be overlooked. Bomi1car, the secret envoy of Jugurtha, by whose means Massiva's assassination had been effected, was held for trial; but before his trial came on, his master had procured for him a means of escape to Africa. The Senate now cancelled the hollow peace negotiated by Bestia and Seaurus, and ordered the king to quit Italy. This he did without delay, exclaiming as be left Rome: "Venal city, doomed to speedy destruction, could it but find a purchaser.

 

The war was resumed with Spurius Albinus in command, who proved himself inadequate to cope with the difficulties of the situation. Discipline had ceased, and the Roman army When tidings of this nefarious proceeding' reached Rome, C. Memmius again interposed, and succeeded in having the king summoned to Italy under a safe-conduct, with the view of bringing the contracting parties face to face, and eliciting the exact nature of the negotiations between them. The scheme was frustrated. Jugurtha was brought before the: assembly of the people, but one of the tribunes who had been gained over to the interests of Destia and Seamus, using his power of veto, forbade the king to speak. Jugurtha had now an opportunity of remaining in Rome and engaging in secret intrigues with the nobility, and in all probability his evil designs would have been followed with success, had he not foully compassed the death of his cousin Massiva, who had taken refuge in Rome after the massacre at Cirta, and was now using his in8uence against Jugurtha with a view to supplanting him on the Numidian throne. This daring outrage} perpetrated under the eyes of the senators, could not be overlooked. Bomi1car, the secret envoy of Jugurtha, by whose means Massiva's assassination had been effected, was held for trial; but before his trial came on, his master had procured for him a means of escape to Africa. The Senate now cancelled the hollow peace negotiated by Bestia and Seaurus, and ordered the king to quit Italy. This he did without delay, exclaiming as be left Rome: "Venal city, doomed to speedy destruction, could it but find a purchaser.

The war was resumed with Spurius Albinus in command, who proved himself inadequate to cope with the difficulties of the situation. Discipline had ceased, and the Roman army in Africa was thoroughly demoralized. To make matters worse, Aulus, the consul's brother, equally incapable and fool-hardy, undertook an expedition against Suthul, a town difficult of access in the heart of Numidia, where much royal treasure was stored. Aulus was withdrawing his troops after an unsuccessful attack, when he was lured into the desert by Jugurtha. The Numidians at an opportune moment fell upon the Roman troops in a fierce nocturnal attack, cut the greater part of the army to pieces, and compelled the rest to pass under the yoke. This disgrace so exasperated the Roman, that most energetic measures were adopted to put an end to the war. The chief command was entrusted to Q. Metellus, an unscrupulous aristocrat, but all experienced warrior and administrator, who chose for his officers, not men of the nobility, but P. Rufus, Caius Marius, and others of the same military experience. Jugurtha continued a guerrilla warfare for some time and baffled all attempts of Metellus and C. Marius, who superseded him in command, to thoroughly subdue him. At last he was betrayed into the hands of Sylla by the treachery of his own father-in-law, Bocchus, King of Maurebnia, 106 B.C. Two years later, after gracing the triumph of Marius on his return to Rome, Jugurtha was thrown into a dungeon in the Capitol. As he was lowered into the pit, he cried out, "Hercules! how cold is thy bath!" There the bold African, who had almost shaken down the Roman government by his intrigues, was cruelly starved to death.

THE CAPTURE OF JUGURTHA.

Marius had penetrated farther into Numidia than any Roman leader at any previous date, having now advanced the eagles so far as the river Mulucha, which was the frontier between the dominions of Jugurtha and Bocchus, the Mauritanian. In the midst of these arid and burning solitudes, constituting what is now known as the desert of Angad, there stood a precipitous isolated rock, on which had been erected a fortified burgh and citadel, reputed impregnable, which contained the last royal hoards of treasure, and was itself the last stronghold of the unhappy king.

 

To this place, not without incurring the charge of inconsiderate rashness and vain ambition, Marius laid siege and so strong were the natural defenses of the place, and so desperately were they maintained, that, having failed in repeated attacks, and lost many of his best men, to the serious damage of his credit, he was on the eve of abandoning the undertaking, when one of those accidents, which so often change the whole aspect of events in warfare, converted his perilous position into a glorious triumph.

 

A straggler from one of the auxiliary Ligurian cohorts, who had passed round to the rear of the rocky mount, on the front of which the fortress stood, in search of water, having discovered many snails, in those days esteemed a delicate article of food, crawling among the mossy crags, began to gather them; and so, as he found them more and more numerous as he proceeded, began to climb higher and higher in pursuit of them, until he had arrived at such an elevation above the plain, that he conceived an idea of turning his ascent to something of greater advantage than mere snail· gathering. So he persisted, unobserved, until be had attained a point, whence he could almost look down into the castle, which, deeming attack impossible from that quarter, had no sentinels or outposts, but had all its garrison on the alert upon the ramparts toward Marius' camp and the scene of action. A vast evergreen oak grew out of the crevices of the rocks, and shooting upward, overhung the plateau of the citadel, and afforded a ladder to the active mountaineer, by which he reached a station whence he could see and study all the defenses of the place, and facilities of his own position. Having observed all that he might, he descended, c. not rashly as he had mounted, but trying and examining all the passes," and went straightway to Marius, to whom he described all that he had seen, suggested an attack in that quarter, and volunteered to lead a detachment for the purpose.

 

Marius eagerly caught at the opportunity thus afforded him. He sent persons, on whom he could depend, to test the truth of the Ligurian's tale and these reporting that some one had recently ascended the rocks, ~e detached five trumpeters, with four chosen centurions as a support, all command of the Ligurian, with orders to mount as silently as possible until they should have reached the commanding position, and thence, when the front attack should be at its height, to sound the charge at the highest pitch of their instruments and voices, and make a violent demonstration on the rear. The men were equipped in regard both to agility and silence, with leathern bucklers and head-pieces, and were barefooted, to climb the better over the slippery moss and dripping rocks, than in the heavy clouted shoes, which were the ordinary wear of the Roman soldier.

 

The plan succeeded from point to point, the ascent was made successfully in spite of all the difficulties, and when Marius, aware of their good fortune, was cheering his men to the closest and most desperate attack, exposing his own person and omitting nothing which might tend to success, this trifling forlorn hope entered the empty citadel, the whole garrison of which had blocked to the lower battlements, and sounded their war notes, as if already masters of the place. A sudden panic fell on the defenders, and the spirit of the Romans rising in proportion as that of the Numidians declined, the place was carried by escalade, the gates were forced, and all within the walls were given up to plunder, indiscriminate massacre and havoc. "Thus corrected by chance," says Sallust, "the temerity of Marius received glory instead of censure.

 

Jugurtha had at this time lost all his places of strength, most of his treasures, many of his best men, not a few slain by his own suspicious fury, and had no hope of protracting even a defensive war, without the aid of foreign alliance and resources. To this end he solicited his father·in-law, Bocchus, to assist him with a Mauritanian army, and ultimately prevailed on him; but not until he had promised to resign to him a third part of his dominions, should the Romans be driven from Africa, or the war concluded with his territories undivided.

 

Marius, who at this period had no enemy in the field, and who probably regarded the war as virtually at an end, withdrew his forces from the desert regions, which he had conquered with so much difficulty, and which probably afforded no facilities for wintering an army, toward his headquarters at Cirta, where he proposed to go into winter quarters. He was on the march for that place, when the combined armies of the two kings were upon him, before he had so much a suspicion of their proximity, and engaged him so suddenly and with such vehemence, when there was scarcely all hour of daylight remaining, that the legions had neither the time to secure their baggage, nor to form order of battle.

 

Assailed at once all all points by Moorish and Gretulian horse, who charged them home, not in regular line, but in a multiplicity of troops and squadrons, now striking here, now there, cutting the legionaries down and spearing them in front, in £lank, in rear, the Romans were unable to preserve their formation but yet fought with such steadiness and valor, the veterans and new soldiers being so united in the maniples as to give firmness and solidity to the whole, that they succeeded in forming a number of squares, or circles, as chance threw them together, and in protecting themselves and repulsing the enemy until nightfall.

 

Never yet had Marius been so hard bestead, or so nearly defeated, as on this occasion; and it was only by bis own exertion and his exhibition of great personal qualities, that he prevented the defeat and disorganization of the forces. As the night closed in, so far from discontinuing their attacks, the barbarians, confident of success, pressed the more closely on the legions until at length, having by exposure of bis own person, by fighting hand to hand with the enemy, and rallying them by exhortation, example, remonstrance, and in short every available effort, the consul reduced his troops to something resembling discipline and order, and beating off the cavalry of the kings with a great final effort, marched with his foot at double quick time to a hill, which he had observed in the vicinity; and there posted them, as best he might in the darkness, for night had now fallen thick and starless, to bivouac on their arms, without food or fires, in the midst of the enemy. His cavalry, under Sylla, he detached to a short distance, where, on a hillock, there was a large and perennial spring of water, with precise instructions that they should kindle no fires, nor show any lights whatsoever, in order as far as possible to conceal their position from the enemy, who sat down in the low grounds all around the hills, and passed the night after the barbarian fashion, revelling, shouting, singing and exulting about their watch-fires, as if they were victorious; for so seldom had they fought the Romans without incurring total rout, that to have held their ground was to them sufficient cause for triumph.

 

Marius had in pursuance of bis plan forbidden the trumpets of the legions or the clarions of the horse to sound, as was usual, the watches of the night, or the relief of the guards; but when toward dawn he observed, as he had expected, that the Numidian watch-fires had burnt down, that the barbaric din had died away, and that, worn out with the fatigues of the past day and the riot of the night, the enemy had dropped into the lethargy of exhausted drunkenness, he ordered all the instruments to sound the charge at once, and broke down, from both hills together, fully prepared for action, on the half-awakened and panic-stricken hordes of the desert.

 

There was no stand, no resistance. At first they stood at gaze, paralyzed and lost in consternation, then fled in utter rout. In that action more of the enemy were slain than Jugurtha had lost in all his previous battles, for the unwonted panic of the men, and the heavy sleep from which they were but half aroused, prevented them of their usual activity in flight. No defeat could well be more through and decisive; yet Marius, as he persisted on retiring to his headquarters, relaxed no precaution, more than if his enemy bad been in full vigor of operation. He marched as if in presence of a hostile army, in a hollow square with his baggage and camp followers in the center, Sylla's cavalry on his right, and Aulus Manlius with the archery and slingers on his left. He fortified his camp nightly, stationed strong outposts of the legionary cohorts before the praetorian gate, caused a portion of the auxiliary horse to patrol all the environs, while he held another body in reserve, at all times under arms, within the ramparts.

 

It was well that he did so, for on the fourth day after his former defeat, when the Romans were already in the vicinity of Cirta, the videttes came in at once from all quarters, announcing the presence of the enemy in each several direction, for the indefatigable Numidian had once more rallied his tumultuary squadrons, and detailing them into four divisions, was prepared to attack at once all all points. Uncertain, accordingly, whence he should be assailed, Marius made no present change in his dispositions, but prepared to deliver battle in the same order in which he marched, as being equally fortified all all hands. So soon as the enemy appeared in the van, Sylla halted the main body of his horse on the right to cover that wing, while he himself and others of his officers at the head of single troops, each very closely arrayed, charged the enemy's cavalry and kept them at a distance, while the General made head with the legions against Jugurtha's impetuous onslaught all the van.

 

In the meantime, Bacchus came up in the Roman rear with his Mauritanian foot, led by his son Volux, who had not been present in the last action, and fell on boldly, making considerable impression by this unexpected diversion. News of this being speedily brought to Jugurtha, by some of his wild horsemen, who were wheeling like hawks everywhere about the Banks of the column, he galloped off unobserved, with a handful of men to the reat, on which he made an attack so fiery and impetuous, shouting in Latin to the legions that they were fighting to no end, since he had slain Marius with his own hand, and showing his sword reeking with blood from hilt to point-for he had fought very valiantly, and slain a Roman legionary-that the wavered, and becoming dispirited, while the barbarians waxed bolder and more strenuous in the charge, could scarcely be restrained from Bight. At the critical moment, however, when all was on the hazard of the die, Sylla, who by his sustained and incessant charge of alternate, or unconnected squadrons, had cleared both wings from the tumultuary clouds of Numidian horse, wheeled rapidly to the rear, and charged the Moors of Bocchus in the flank with such energy and vigor that the whole body turned, as a single man, and betook themselves to precipitate flight. Marius, relieved from the presence of Jugurtha and the pressure of his indomitable desert cavalry, restored the: battle in front, and converted what had been almost a disaster into a complete victory. Jugurtha himself, while exerting himself most heroically to perfect his half conquered success, was hemmed in by Sylla's troopers, saw all his best men cut down to right and left around him, and at last, with his armor hacked from his body, dripping with his own and his enemies' blood, got off alone through a storm of cuts and thrusts all directed at his own person.

 

Better for him had he there fallen. The rout was complete, the carnage horrible and for the first time in his extraordinary career, he left the field without having designated a rallying point, or made arrangements for the reorganization of the army, or the levying of a new one. He had, in fact, fought his last battle, expended his last resource, brought forward and lost his last reserve, exhausted his last ally.

 

On the fifth day after the action, ambassadors came from Bacchus to the Roman winter-quarters in Cirta, requesting Marius to send his most confidential assistants, with whom he might treat for accommodation; and Sylla being sent in connection with Altius Manlius, negotiations were set on foot with the wily and perfidious Mauritanian, which terminated in his treacherous surrender of his suppliant and kinsman into the hands of the common enemy.

 

A second delegation reached Marius, while, after placing the main army in winter quarters, he was engaged in besieging a royal fortress, garrisoned wholly by Roman deserters, which he speedily destroyed. These delegates, it seems, on their way had fallen into the hands of Gretulian robbers, and having been plundered and stripped by them, had escaped to Sylla, who received them with hospitality so profuse, and largesses so ample, that he recommended himself in the highest degree to the barbarian king. Shortly afterward three of the Moors proceeded to Rome, in company with the quaestor, Cueius Octavius Rufus, who was on his return after bringing pay for the army in Africa, and who should introduce them to the presence and favorable notice of the Senate.

 

While this embassy was in Rome, obsecrating the commisseration, and seeking the friendship, of the Senate, which they ultimately obtained, Bocchus again wrote to the Roman General, requesting him to seud Sylla to confer with him, by whose decision there were hopes that all matters in coutroversy might be brought to a final determination. Marius understanding that the surrender of Jugurtha was implied under this wary circumlocution, dispatched his able young subordinate, with an escort of Latin cavalry, Balearic stingers, auxiliary bowmen, and the Pelignian cohort equipped in light infantry order, for the convenience of rapid marching. After considerable suspicious of treachery on the part of the Mauribuian king and his son Volu", who accompanied Sylla with a sort of guard of honor, and who once appeared on the point of betraying his guest to a division of Jugurtha's cavalry, the quaestor at length arrived at the royal seat of Bacchus.

 

For a long time the treacherous barbarian doubted, fluctuated, whether of the two he should betray, cajoled, flattered, promised without performing; but at last, awed by the intrepid and immovable firmness of Ole young Roman, he determined against his countryman, his 5On-in·law, his brother king i murdered his familiar friends and counselors, and surrendered himself, loaded with fetters, into the hands of the quaestor. This glory Sylla rated so high, that, to his last hour, he used as his signet-ring a gem engraved with the representation of himself receiving the captive king, and so earned the immovable and immortal hatred of the unforgiving mall, who considered it all attempt to rob him of the fame which was his right, of terminating at length a war which had defied, for six whole years, the utmost powers of Rome, and bringing into subjection and slavery an enemy than whom, save Hannibal, the republic had never known one more dangerous or desperate, and who had debauched, defeated, deceived, or exhausted three successive Consuls and their armies, and yielded only after six consecutive campaigns, when not an inch of territory was left to him, nor a single fighting man on whom he could rely.

 

Thus, with great and merited honor to Marius, was this long and harassing war terminated in the year of the city 648, and 106 B,C., when the successful general was no longer consul, but commander, with consular powers, until its conclusion. Unimportant, so far as danger to the existence, or to the constitutional or territorial integrity of Rome, the Jugurthine war had been a severe and galling thorn in her side, from its commencement; it had seriously shaken the prestige of invincibility which had so long clung to the arms of Rome it had demonstrated the infamy of many of her senators, the imbecility of some of her generals, the undisciplined and mutinous spirit of more than one of her armies and it had sorely aggrieved her haughty pride, that a petty chieftain of wild desert horse should have held her armies at bay, and subjected them to disgraces which they had never endured from the gigantic strength of Carthage, the unequaled science of Hannibal. Great, therefore, was the rejoicing when it was known at Rome, that the war was concluded, as by a thunder·stroke, and that he who had so long eluded the vengeance and mocked the majesty of Rome, was now but a chained culprit, awaiting her not questionable mercy.-H. W. HERBERT.

 

Jugurtha