The War with Jugurtha, 112–114

Sallust  translated by J. C. Rolfe

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112Now, on the following day the king summoned Aspar, Jugurtha’s envoy, and said that he had learned from Sulla through Dabar that terms of peace could be arranged; he therefore desired him to find out the intentions of his king. 2The envoy joyfully departed to Jugurtha’s camp; then after eight days he returned in haste to Bocchus with full instructions from the king and reported to him that Jugurtha was willing to do anything that he desired, but put little trust in Marius. He said that peace had often before been agreed upon with Roman generals to no purpose; 3but that Bocchus, if he wished to consult for the interests of both and to have a lasting peace, ought to arrange for a general interview under pretext of agreeing upon conditions and there deliver Sulla to him. When he had so important a man in his power, a treaty would surely be made by order of the senate or of the people; for a man of rank would not be left in the power of the enemy when he had fallen into it, not through his own cowardice, but in the service of the country.

113After long consideration, the Moor at last promised this. Whether his hesitation was feigned or genuine I cannot say; but as a rule the desires of kings, although strong, are changeable and often contradictory. 2Afterwards, when time and place were agreed upon for holding the peace conference, Bocchus addressed now Sulla and now the envoy of Jugurtha, received both courteously and made them the same promises. Both alike were joyful and full of good hope.

3That night, however, which was the one preceding the day appointed for the conference, the Moor summoned his friends and at once changed his purpose and dismissed all others; then he is said to have had a long struggle with himself, during which the conflict in his mind was reflected in his expression and eyes, which, though he was silent, revealed the secrets of his heart. 4At last, however, he ordered Sulla to be summoned and yielding to his wish, set a trap for the Numidian.

5When day came and he was told that Jugurtha was not far off, he proceeded with a few friends and the Roman quaestor to a mound in full sight of those who were in ambush, as if he were honouring Jugurtha by going to meet him. 6Jugurtha came to the same place unarmed and with only a few followers, as had been agreed, and immediately on a given signal those who were in concealment rushed upon him from all sides at once. His companions were killed; the king himself was bound and delivered to Sulla, who took him to Marius.

114At this same time our generals Quintus Caepio and Gnaeus Manlius were defeated by the Gauls and terror at this had made all Italy tremble. 2The Romans of that time and even down to our own day believed that all else was easy for their valour, but that with the Gauls they fought for life and not for glory. 3But when it was announced that the war in Numidia was ended and that Jugurtha was being brought a captive to Rome, Marius was made consul in his absence and Gaul was assigned him as his province. On the Kalends of January he entered upon his office and celebrated a triumph of great magnificence. 4At that time the hopes and welfare of our country were in his hands.

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