These, engaging the body of Carthaginian horse, slew a few of them in the fight, and the greater part of them as they pursued them when they were flying; among whom was [p. 1270]
Hanno, their captain, a young man of distinction.
Scipio not only devastated the lands in the country round him, but also took a very wealthy city of the Africans which lay nearest to him;
where, besides other things which were immediately put on board the transports and sent into Sicily, eight thousand free persons and slaves were captured. But the most gratifying circumstance to the Romans was, the arrival of Masinissa just at the commencement of their operations.
Some say that he came with not more than two hundred horse, but most authors say with a body of two thousand cavalry.
But, as this man was by far the greatest king of his age, and rendered most essential service to the Romans, it seems worth while to digress a little, to give a full account of the great vicissitudes of fortune he experienced in the loss and recovery of his father's kingdom. While he was serving in Spain in the cause of the Carthaginians, his father, named Gala, died.
The kingdom, according to the custom of the Numidians, came to Œsalces, the brother of the late king, who was very aged.
Not long after, Œsalces also dying, the elder of his two sons, named Capusa, the other being quite a boy, succeeded to his father's kingdom. But, as he occupied the throne more by right of descent than from the
esteem in which he was held among his countrymen, or the power he possessed, there stood forth a person named Mezetulus, not unrelated by blood to the kings, of a family which had always been hostile to them, and had continually contested the right to the throne with those who then occupied it, with various success.
This man, having roused his countrymen to arms, over whom he possessed a great influence, from the hatred felt towards the kings, openly pitched his camp, and compelled the king to come into the field and fight for the throne.
Capusa, with many of his nobles, falling in the action, the whole nation of the Massylians came under the dominion and rule of Mezetulus.
He abstained, however, from assuming the title of king; and, contenting himself with the modest appellation of protector, gave the name of king to the boy Lacumaces, a surviving branch of the royal stock.
In the hope of an alliance with the Carthaginians, he formed a matrimonial connexion with a noble Carthaginian lady, daughter of Hannibal's sister, who had been lately married to the king Œsalces;
and, sending ambassadors for that purpose, renewed an old con- [p. 1271]
nexion of hospitality with Syphax, taking all these measures with a view to obtain assistance against Masinissa.