There was then in our army a Numidian named Gauda, the son of Mastanabal, and grandson of Masinissa, whom Micipsa, in his will, had appointed next heir to his immediate successors. This man had been debilitated by ill-health, and, from the effect of it, was somewhat impaired in his understanding. He had petitioned Metellus to allow him a seat, like a prince, next to himself, and a troop of horse for a bodyguard; but Metellus had refused him both; the seat, because it was granted only to those whom the Roman people had addressed as kings, and the guard, because it would be an indignity to Roman cavalry to act as guards to a Numidian. While Gauda was discontented at these refusals, Marius paid him a visit, and prompted him, with his assistance, to seek revenge for the affronts put upon him by the general; inflating his mind, which was as weak as his body,1
with flattering speeches, telling him that he was a prince, a great man, and the grandson of Masinissa; that if Jugurtha were taken or killed, he would immediately become king of Numidia; and that this event might soon happen, if he himself were sent as consul to the war.
Thus partly the influence of Marius himself, and partly the hope of obtaining peace, induced Gauda, as well as most of
the Roman knights, both soldiers and merchants,2
to write to their friends at Rome, in a style of censure, respecting Metellus's management of the war, and to intimate that Marius should be appointed general. The consulship, accordingly, was solicited for him by numbers of people, with the most honorable demonstrations in his favor.3
It happened that the people too, at this juncture, having just triumphed over the nobility by the Mamilian law,4
were eager to raise commoners to office. Hence every thing was favorable to Marius's views.