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Adherbal, when he found that matters had arrived at such a point, that he must either abandon his dominions, or defend them by force of arms, collected an army from necessity, and advanced to meet Jugurtha. Both armies took up1 their position near the town of Cirta,2 at no great distance from the sea; but, as evening was approaching, encamped without coming to an engagement. But when the night was far advanced, and twilight was beginning to appear,3 the troops of Jugurtha, at a given signal, rushed into the camp of the enemy, whom they routed and put to flight, some half asleep and others resuming their arms. Adherbal, with a few of his cavalry, fled to Cirta; and, had there not been a number of Romans4 in the town, who repulsed his Numidian pursuers from the walls, the war between the two princes would have been begun and ended on the same day.

Jugurtha proceeded to invest the town, and attempted to storm it with the aid of mantelets, towers, and every kind of machines; being anxious above all things, to take it before the embassadors could arrive at Rome, who, he was informed, had been dispatched thither by Adherbal before the battle was fought. But as soon as the senate heard of their contention, three young men5 were sent as deputies into Africa, with directions to go to both of the princes, and to announce to them, in the words of the senate and people of Rome, " that it was their will and resolution that they should lay down their arms, and settle their disputes rather by arbitration than by the sword; since to act thus would be to the honor both of the Romans and themselves."

1 XXI. Both armies took up, etc.] I have omitted the word interim at the beginning of this sentence, as it would be worse than useless in the translation. It signifies, during the interval before the armies came to an engagement; but this is sufficiently expressed at the termination of the sentence.

2 Cirta] Afterward named “Sittianorum Colonia”, from P. Sittius Nucerinus (mentioned in Cat., c. 21), who assisted Cæsar in the African war, and was rewarded by him with the possession of this city and its lands. It is now called Constantina, from Constantine the Great, who enlarged and restored it when it had fallen into decay. Strabo describes it, xvii. 3.

3 Twilight was beginning to appear] “Obscuro etiam tum lumine.” Before day had fairly dawned.

4 Romans] “Togatorum.” Romans, with, perhaps, some of the allies, engaged in merchandise, or other peaceful occupations, and therefore wearing the toga. They are called Italici in c. 26.

5 Three young men] “Tres adolescentes.” Cortius includes these words in brackets, regarding them as the insertion of some sciolist. But a sciolist, as Bernouf observes, would hardly have thought of inserting tres adolescentes. The words occur in all the MSS., and are pretty well confirmed by what is said below, c. 25, that when the senate next sent a deputation, they took care to make it consist of majores natu, nobiles. See on adolescens, Cat., c. 38.

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