In the same year the Romans were arbitrators on the spot in a dispute, subsisting between the people of Carthage and king Masinissa, about a tract of ground.
This ground Gala, father of Masinissa, had taken from the Carthaginians. Syphax had expelled Gala, and afterwards, from respect to Hasdrubal, his father-in-law, had made a present of it to the Carthaginians.
In this year, Masinissa had expelled the Carthaginians. This matter was debated before the Romans with no less mental ardour than they had contended for it with the sword, even in the field of battle.
The Carthaginians claimed the ground first, as having been the property of their ancestors; and next, because it had come to them from Syphax. Masinissa urged, that “he had retaken possession of it as part of his father's kingdom, and held it under the law [p. 1874]
of nations; and that he had the advantage, both in the merits of his cause and in the present possession.
That, in this discussion, he had no other fear, than lest the moderation of the Romans might operate to his loss, whilst they dreaded the appearance of any partiality to a king who was their friend and ally, in prejudice to the common enemy of him and them.”
The deputies did not alter the right of possession, but referred the cause entire to the senate at Rome. There was nothing done afterwards in Liguria. The inhabitants, at first, retired into pathless forests; and afterwards, disbanding their army, separated in every direction among the villages and forts.
The consuls, too, wished to disband their forces, and consulted the senators on this matter. They ordered that one of them should discharge his troops, and come to Rome to elect magistrates for the year; and that the other, with his legions, should pass the winter at Pisae.
A report prevailed, that the transalpine Gauls were arming their young men, and it was not known on what quarter of Italy that multitude would pour itself. The consuls settled the matter between them, —that Cneius Baebius should go home to the elections, because his brother, Marcus Baebius, was a candidate for the consulship.