Masinissa, hearing of the death of his uncle, and afterwards that his cousin-german was slain, passed over out of Spain into Mauritania. Bocchar was king of the Moors at that time.
Applying to him as a suppliant, he succeeded, by means of the most humble entreaties, in obtaining from him four thousand Moors to escort him on his march, since he could not procure his co-operation in the war.
With these, after sending a messenger before him to his own and his father's friends, he arrived on the frontiers of the kingdom, when about five hundred Numidians came to join him.
Having, therefore, sent back the Moors to their king, as had been agreed, though the numbers which joined him were much less than he had anticipated, not being such as to inspire him
with sufficient confidence for so great an attempt, yet, concluding that by action, and by making some effort, he should collect sufficient strength to enable him to effect something, he threw himself in the way of the young king Lacumaces, at Thapsus, as he was going to Syphax. The troops which attended him having fled back to the town in consternation, Masinissa took it at the first assault.
Of the royal party, some who surrendered themselves he received, others he slew while attempting resistance.
The greater part, with the young king himself, escaped during the confusion and came to Syphax, to whom they intended to go at first. The fame of this success, in the commencement of his operations, though of no great magnitude, brought the Numidians over to the cause of Masinissa; and the veteran soldiers of Gala flocked to his standard from all quarters, from the country and the towns, inviting the youth to come and recover his paternal dominions.
Mezetulus had somewhat the advantage in the number of his soldiers, for he had himself both the army with which he had conquered Capusa, and also some troops who had submitted to him after the king was slain; and the young king Lacumaces had brought him very large succours from Syphax.
Mezetulus had fifteen thousand infantry, and ten thousand cavalry. With these Masinissa engaged in battle, though he had by no means so many horse or foot.
The valour, however, of the veteran troops, and the skill of the general, who had been exercised in the war between the Romans and Carthaginians, [p. 1272]
prevailed. The young king, with the protector and a small body of Massylians, escaped into the territories of the Carthaginians. Masinissa thus recovered his paternal dominions; but, as he saw that there still remained a struggle considerably more arduous with Syphax, he thought it advisable to come to a reconciliation with his cousin-german.
Having, therefore, sent persons to give the young king hopes, that if he put himself under the protection of Masinissa, he would be held in the same honour by him as Œsalces had formerly been by Gala;
and to promise Mezetulus, in addition to impunity, a faithful restitution of all his property; as both of them preferred a moderate share of fortune at home to exile, he brought
them over to his side, notwithstanding the Carthaginians studiously exerted every means to prevent it.