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The people of Vacca, perceiving an army coming toward them, judged rightly at first that it was Metellus, and shut their gates; but, after a while, when they saw that their fields were not laid waste, and that the front consisted of Numidian cavalry, they imagined that it was Jugurtha, and went out with great joy to meet him. A signal being immediately given, both cavalry and infantry commenced an attack; some cut down the multitude pouring from the town, others hurried to the gates, others secured the towers, revenge and the hope of plunder prevailing over their weariness. Thus Vacca triumphed only two days in its treachery; the whole city, which was great and opulent, was given up to vengeance and spoliation. Turpilius, the governor, whom we mentioned as the only person that escaped, was summoned by Metellus to answer for his conduct, and not being able to clear himself, was condemned, as a native of Latium,1 to be scourged and put to death.

1 LXIX As a native of Latium] “Nam is civis ex Latio erat.” “"As he was a Latin, he was not protected by the Porcian law (see Cat., c. 51), though how far this law had power in the camp, is not agreed."” Allen. Gerlach thinks that it had the same power in the camp as elsewhere, with reference to Roman citizens. But Roman citizenship was not extended to the Latins till the end of the Social War, A.U.C. 662. Plutarch, however, in his Life of Caius Gracchus (c. 9), speaks of Livius Drusus having been abetted by the patricians in proposing a law for exempting the Latin soldiers from being flogged, about thirty years earlier; and it seems to have been passed, but, from this passage of Sallust, appears not to have remained in force. Lipsius touches on this obscure point in his Militia Romana, v. 18, but settles nothing. Plutarch, in his Life of Marius, c. 8, says that Turpilius was an old retainer of the family of Metellus, whom he attended, in this war, as prœfectus fœbrûm, or master of the artificers; that, being afterward appointed governor of Vacca, he exercised his office with great justice and humanity; that his life was spared by Jugurtha at the solicitation of the inhabitants that, when he was brought to trial, Metellus thought him innocent, and that he would not have been condemned but for the malice of Marius, who exasperated the other members of the council against him. He adds, that after his death, his innocence became apparent, and that Marius boasted of having planted in the breast of Metellus an avenging fury, that would not fail to torment him for having put to death the innocent friend of his family. Hence Sir Henry Steuart has accused Sallust of wilfully misrepresenting the character of Turpilius, as well as the whole transaction. But as much credit is surely due to Sallust as to Plutarch.

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