The democratic faction in Carthage sent the leaders of the party favoring Masinissa into banishment, to the
number of about forty, and confirmed it by a vote and an oath that they should never be taken back, and that the question of taking them back should never be discussed. The banished took refuge with Masinissa and urged him to declare war. He, nothing loath, sent his two sons, Gulussa and Micipsa, to Carthage to demand that those who had been expelled on his account should be taken back. When they came to the city gates the boëtharch warned them off, fearing lest the relatives of the exiles should prevail with the multitude by their tears. When Gulussa was returning Hamilcar the Samnite set upon him, killed some of his attendants, and thoroughly frightened him. Thereupon Masinissa, making this an excuse, laid siege to the town of Oroscopa, which he desired to possess contrary to the treaty. The Carthaginians with 25,000 foot and 400 city
horse under Hasdrubal, their boëtharch, marched against
Masinissa. At their approach, Asasis and Suba, Masinissa's lieutenants, on account of some difference with his sons, deserted with 6000 horse. Encouraged by this accession, Hasdrubal moved his forces nearer to the king and in some skirmishes gained the advantage. But Masinissa by stratagem retired little by little as if in flight, until he had drawn him into a great desert surrounded by hills and crags, and destitute of provisions. Then turning about he pitched his camp in the open plain. Hasdrubal drew up among the hills as being a stronger position.