The War with Jugurtha, 13–16

Sallust  translated by J. C. Rolfe

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13Now, 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. 2Jugurtha 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. 3Although 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. 4But he was defeated in the very first engagement, fled to our province, and thence made his way to Rome.

5Then 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. 6Accordingly, 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.

7But 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. 8Induced in some cases by hope, in others by bribery, they went about to individual members of the senate and urged them not to take too severe measures against Jugurtha. 9When, 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, 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. 2As 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. 4But since virtue alone is not its own protection, and since it was not in my power to mould the character of Jugurtha, I have had recourse to you, Fathers of the Senate, to whom (and this is the greatest part of my wretchedness) I am compelled to be a burden before I have been an aid. 5All 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. 6Therefore 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. 8But 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. 9Woe’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 blood, arms and exile? 10While the Carthaginians were unconquered, we naturally 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. 11But 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. 13Our 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. 14Our father left two of us brothers; a third, 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. 15What 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 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. 16But 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. 17As 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? 18Finally, 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. 20My 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 a hearing. They declare that I am speaking falsely and feigning the necessity for flight, when I might have remained in my own kingdom. 21As 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. 23For 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. 24Would 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, 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.”

15After 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; that 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.

2Then 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. 3A 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. 4Conspicuous among these was Aemilius Scaurus, a noble full of energy, a partisan, greedy for power, fame, and riches, but clever in concealing his faults. 5As 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.

16In spite of all, that faction of the senate prevailed which rated money and favour higher than justice. 2It 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, 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. 3Although 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. 4Then 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. 5When 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.

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