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.Hasdrubal happened to be on a visit to Syphax at the time. The Numidian did not consider it a matter of much importance to him whether the Maesulian throne was occupied by Lacumazes or Masinissa, but Hasdrubal warned him that he was making a very great mistake if he supposed that Masinissa would be content with the same frontiers as his father Gala.  "That man," he said, "possessed much more ability and much more force of character than any one of that nation had hitherto shown. In Spain he had often exhibited to friends and foes alike proofs of a courage rare amongst men.  Unless Syphax and the Carthaginians stifled that rising flame, they would soon be involved in a conflagration which nothing could check. As yet his power was weak and insecure, he was nursing a realm whose wounds had not yet closed."  By continually urging these considerations, Hasdrubal persuaded him to move his army up to the frontiers of Maesulia and fix his camp on territory which he claimed as beyond question forming part of his dominions, a claim which Gala had contested not only by argument, but by force of arms.  He advised him in case any one offered opposition-and he only wished they would-to be prepared to fight; if they for fear of him retired he must advance into the heart of the kingdom.  The Maesulii would either submit to him without a struggle or they would find themselves hopelessly outmatched in arms. Encouraged by these representations Syphax commenced war with Masinissa, and in the very first battle defeated and routed the Maesulians.  Masinissa with a few horsemen escaped from the field and fled to a mountain range called by the natives Bellum. Several households with their tent-wagons and cattle-their sole wealth-followed the king; the bulk of the population submitted to Syphax.  The mountain district which the fugitives had taken possession of was grassy and well watered, and as it afforded excellent pasturage for cattle it provided ample sustenance for men who lived on flesh and milk.  From these heights they harried the whole country round, at first in stealthy nocturnal incursions, and afterwards in open brigandage. They ravaged the Carthaginian territory mainly, because it offered more plunder and depredation was a safer work there than amongst the Numidians.  At last they reached such a pitch of audacity that they carried their plunder down to the sea and sold it to traders who brought their ships up for the purpose.  More Carthaginians fell or were made prisoners in these forays than often happens in regular warfare. The authorities at Carthage complained loudly of all this to Syphax and pressed him to follow up these remnants of the war.  Angry as he was, however, he hardly thought it part of his duties as a king to hunt down a robber at large on the mountains.
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