In the same year Roman arbitrators who were on the ground took part in a dispute about land-ownership between the Carthaginian people and King Masinissa.1
Gala, the father of Masinissa, had taken it from the Carthaginians; Syphax had driven Gala out of it and later, as a favour to his father-in-law Hasdrubal, had presented it as a gift to the Carthaginians; Masinissa had that year expelled the Carthaginians.
The case was argued [p. 57]
before the Romans with no less ardour of temper2
than when they fought with arms in the line of battle.
The Carthaginians were reclaiming it because it had belonged to their forefathers and had then come again to them from Syphax. Masinissa maintained, first that he had recovered land belonging to his father's kingdom and second, that he was holding it under the law of nations;
he said that he had the advantage both of a good case and of actual possession; he was afraid of nothing else in the dispute except that a sense of shame on the part of the Romans, as they might be reluctant to give the appearance of having favoured an allied and friendly king as against the common enemy of themselves and him, might do him injury.
The commissioners did not change the right of possession, but referred the case without prejudice to the senate.3
Among the Ligurians nothing more happened. They had in the beginning retired into out-of-theway defiles, then disbanded their army and scattered everywhere to their own villages and strongholds.
The consuls also wished to discharge their armies and consulted the senate on the matter. The Fathers directed that one of them should disband his army and come to Rome to conduct the election of magistrates for the coming year, and that the other with his legions should winter at Pisa.
It was reported that the Transalpine Gauls were arming their young men and it was unknown into what part of Italy the multitude would pour. So the consuls arranged between themselves that Gnaeus Baebius should go to the elections because his brother Marcus Baebius was a candidate for the consulship.4 [p. 59]