Gala had a son named Masinissa, seventeen years of age, but a youth of such talents, that even at that time it was evident that he would render the kingdom more extensive and powerful than when he received it.
The ambassadors represented that, “since Syphax had united himself with the Romans, that by their alliance he might strengthen his hands against the kings and nations of Africa, it would be better for Gala also to unite with the Carthaginians as soon as possible, before Syphax crossed over into Spain, or the Romans into Africa; that Syphax might be overpowered, while as yet he derived nothing from his league with the Romans but the name of it.”
Gala, his son claiming to be intrusted with the conduct of the war, was easily prevailed upon to send an army,
which, joined by the legions of the Carthaginians, totally defeated Syphax in a great battle. In this thirty thousand men are said to have been slain.
Syphax, with a few horsemen, fled from the field, and took refuge among the Maurusian Numidians, a nation dwelling at the extremity of Africa, near the ocean, and over against Gades.
But the barbarians flocking to his standard from all sides, in consequence of his great renown, he speedily armed a very large force. Before he passed over with these forces into Spain, which was separated only by a narrow strait, Masinissa came up with his victorious army; and here he acquired great glory in the prosecution of the war with Syphax, in which he acted alone and unsupported by any aid from the Carthaginians.
In Spain nothing worth mentioning was performed, except that the Romans drew over to their side the Celtiberian youth, by giving them the same pay which they had stipulated with the Carthaginians to pay them.
They also sent above three hundred Spaniards of the greatest distinction into Italy, to bring over their countrymen, who served among the auxiliary troops of Hannibal. The only memorable circumstance of this year in Spain was, that the Romans then, for the first time, employed mercenary troops in their camp, namely, the Celtibe- rians.